Marin Classics: Lo Coco’s
Year established: 1971
Original owners: The Lo Coco brothers, now Lisa Lo Coco and family
Claim to fame: Potentially the first artichoke heart pizza ever made in California, or the nation.
Big brother Giovanni Lo Coco brought his two younger brothers Nicolo and Filippo to the Bay Area from Sicily and after a brief stint working at Scoma’s, they opened Lo Coco’s in Terra Linda in 1971. Giovanni opened a location in the East Bay shortly thereafter, and Filippo took over the San Anselmo location, but the Terra Linda location has remained very much the same as it ever was — family owned and operated. Today Nicolo’s wife Lisa, as well as his son and daughter carry on the family tradition working in the pizzeria.
The menu is focused on pizza with the addition of a few salads and cannelloni that is made in-house with crepes and either a sausage and salami filling or a vegetarian cheese and spinach filling. Some notable pizzas inspired by the old country include a roasted eggplant pizza, a zucchini and garlic pizza, baby clam, oregano and garlic pizza and one pizza the family believes may have been a first in California or perhaps the nation, artichoke heart pizza. The restaurant works with local purveyors including Clover Sonoma and Marin Produce but uses Pecorino Romano from Italy. You’ll find a gluten-free pizza and can order your pizza bianca with no sauce or rossa with no cheese and extra sauce.
What makes it special?
Family is at the core of this Terra Linda favorite. There’s no bar and no TV’s because it was designed to be a place where families come together. Multiple generations of different families have worked there, dine there on a weekly basis and it’s where many Marin kids and got their first jobs and had their first dates. It’s even been the site of a wedding between two past employees. The restaurant has received accolades from local newspapers and was even retired from the “hall of fame” after winning best pizzeria in Marin many years in a row. The restaurant proudly supports many community organizations, especially schools.
Notable guests who have been seen in at Lo Coco’s include members of the Grateful Dead, Barbara Boxer, Sean Penn and George Lucas. Extended members of the Lo Coco family run restaurants in San Francisco, the East Bay and Newcastle.
Lo Coco’s Authentic Italian Pizzeria
631 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael, 415.472.3323