Behind the Counter With Chef Nathaniel Nguyen of Jinny’s Pizzeria

N Nguyen Headshot 2016Chef Nathaniel Nguyen’s Eat Like Royalty group includes The Prince & Pantry catering, Paloma’s Paletas frozen treats, and now, Jinny’s Pizzeria in Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market.

The incubator concept at Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market food hall—combining short-term leases and a low tenant buy-in—all but ensures an ever-changing directory. In the fi rst signifi cant changeover at the yearling venue, Playground owner Jason Quinn closes his Wagyu Chuck, PFC, and Noodle Tramp, and Ink Waffles departs as well. Their replacements make for an all-new aisle. The owners of the GD Bro Truck turn their attention to bacon and pork dishes at Pig Pen Delicacy, offering pork belly fries and a standout breakfast sandwich with candied bacon, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and banana ketchup. Jinny’s Pizzeria combines New York-style pizza with a California seasonality, offering whole pies, above, or slices of house fennel sausage, white pizza, or vegan Skinny Jinny’s. Two existing tenants open second spots: Dos Chinos branches out with a Vietnamese destination, Sit Low Pho. Its beef pho features New York steak, Angus brisket, and a meatball—with add-ons such as a beef rib and a “perfect” egg. Terra offers meat and vegan burgers as well as salads, such as tamarind mango and date kale. Quinn, by the way, hasn’t departed entirely: He’s retooling his Recess bar.

Who’s Jinny?
Jinny—or Jin, as she’s also known—is one of my closest friends. Proudly and loudly from New York, she has a reputation for being quite the storyteller—and most of them are told over pizza.

Why 4th Street Market?
Because of the incubator concept of the market, we felt it was a great place to open what is sure to be the first of many locations.

Best-selling pie?
Believe it or not, our cheese pizza. But sausage comes in a close second— featuring sausage we grind and season ourselves.

And beyond pizza?
Between handmade meatballs, garlic knots, and seasonal salads—I recommend our Italian with giardiniera vinaigrette— there’s something for everyone.

201 E. Fourth St., 714-486-0700, jinnyspizzeria.com

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