By Derek Wilson
Marin Pizza, the newest addition to Town Center Corte Madera, features itself as a “farm-to-table” pizza restaurant, and its local roots go deeper than the ingredients in the food.
Longtime Tiburon resident Tom Wyman opened the restaurant in late March with partner Michael McGuan, who had previously opened two Farm Burger restaurants in the Bay Area. They tabbed executive chef Joshua Moser from Southern California to run the kitchen at Marin Pizza, which features a unique convection oven from Italy that Wyman promises will cook the pizza in two minutes on rotating stone slats.
“We sold more than 500 pizzas so far and I told customers, ‘Hey, if you don’t like it, take it back to the kitchen.’ So far, no one has returned their pizza to the kitchen,” McGuan said.
McGuan has long been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement. His first venture was as a partner in a San Diego sausage-themed restaurant called “The Linkery”.
“I arrived in San Diego right as the farm-to-table trend was in its nascent stages,” McGuan said. “Back then, you couldn’t even connect with the farmers in East County San Diego, and we were near the coast. We made drives to East County once or twice a week to pick up produce, eggs, goats, chickens … anything we could do. It was sort of a groundbreaking restaurant. We were the industry leaders in farm-to-table. We started making these connections with the farmers to prove to the farmers that they didn’t have to sell everything off to the commodity market.”
McGuan’s next stop was in Georgia, where a friend enlisted his help with a new burger joint called “Farm Burger.” He helped Farm Burger establish itself as an Atlanta hotspot during its first two years, then led the restaurant’s westward expansion to Berkeley and San Anselmo.
Farm Burger maintains a presence in the Bay Area, but McGuan is eager to build on his past success and take on new challenges. He has taken some of the relationships he forged while at Farm Burger with California ranchers and farmers to help build the foundation for Marin Pizza.
From Pt. Reyes Farmstead blue cheese and Laurel Chenel goat cheese to Fra’ Mani cured meats and Rancho Llano Seco pork in Chico, Marin Pizza has developed partnerships with area farmers, ranchers and artisans to add a local, special touch to the plate. Customers line up at the counter, where the chef’s team waits to add the desired toppings to a crust, then put it in the oven. The menu features thin crust pizzas with gluten-free options, more than 20 farm fresh toppings. Seasonal specialty side dishes such as Caramelized Orange and Kale Salad and Apple Kiwi Salad were recently added to the menu.
“The farm-to-table trend is alive in Marin Country, which is why we chose Town Center Corte Madera for our first location,” said Wyman. “We are offering high quality, fast food at a good price.”
Every Wednesday, during the season, the Marin County Farmers Market takes its place in the Town Center plaza, right outside Marin Pizza, adding to the atmosphere for those who crave farm fresh foods.
The restaurant will also feature seven large video monitors spooling content from around the world that includes extreme athletes, adventure travel and nature shots from remote locations. Located under the clock tower, the new 2,500 square foot upscale fast casual restaurant features distressed brick walls, timber beams, and natural wood tabletops. For more information visit http://www.marin.pizza