In 2007, Clarkliving friend and client Tad Yenawine opened Purgatory Pizza in Boyle Heights. The name is a nod to the sort of in-between area where the restaurant stands: not quite urban, not quite suburban, not much in the way of foot traffic, and yet the place has managed to thrive. Yenawine chalks the restaurant’s success up to it being a well-oiled machine. It’s a self-sufficient and efficient system that cranks out consistently good, New York style pizza with vegan options even the paleo crowd would have trouble turning down.
Being cognizant of other people’s dietary preferences is hardly a new thing for the Purgatory owner. In the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, Yenawine and some friends held an ersatz supper club in Santa Cruz. They offered multi-course meals with both carnivorous and vegetarian tracts. “Vegan wasn’t really even a thing yet,” Yenawine says. He describes the experience as a passion project, an experiment in dining. Yenawine’s latest project is a kind of meeting of his friendly fine dining and pizza ventures.
Purgatory at the Junction in Silverlake shares part of its name and part of its menu with its sister restaurant across town. The pizza’s all there, as is an extended café menu that serves breakfast until 2pm every day of the week. The cozy dining room and new menu items reflect the differences between Purgatory’s two locations; they’re versions of the same thing, not carbon copies. While the original Purgatory Pizza is a grab-and-go/delivery situation, Silverlake Junction is a place where people like to linger. The new Purgatory storefront gives devotees the opportunity to hang out and relax while they eat, to sit along Sunset Blvd and people watch, to start their days with an omelet and French press coffee, and to leave with one of those infamous Daiya-topped pies to devour at home later.
Purgatory at the Junction is located at 3536 W Sunset Blvd 90026. Open Mon-Sat: 8am-11pm; Sun: 8am-10pm.