Creekside Pizza & Taproom
Co-Owners: Janet Abrahamson and Pat Townsley
Address: 638 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, CA
Hours: Open daily at 11a.m. with full service indoor dining seven days a week.
Celebrating five years of excellence and community service, Creekside Pizza & Taproom invites you to enjoy award-winning pizzas, chef-built salads, hearty sandwiches and pastas. Creekside’s daily happy hour features Marin’s best craft beer selection on tap plus a curated California wine selection. Full service indoor dining is available seven days a week in the heart of Marin: San Anselmo. A memorable Creekside experience is made possible by a dedicated and passionate crew, committed to quality preparation, comfortable accommodations and personable attention to detail. Make your reservation today, or order online. “Our gratitude goes out to our staff, our community and all of our guests for five fantastic years. We look forward to your next visit.” — Janet Abrahamson and Pat Townsley.
Open daily at 11a.m. with full service indoor dining seven days a week, enjoy Creekside’s fresh chef-built salads, hearty sandwiches, and outstanding artisan pizzas. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options for dine in, takeout, curbside and outdoor park enjoyment in downtown San Anselmo. Your memorable Creekside Experience is made possible by our dedicated and passionate service team, committed to quality, safety, comfort and personality. Make your reservation today at CreeksideSA.com.
Pat Townsley Shares Creekside’s Most Popular Dishes for the Holidays
Before opening their popular San Anselmo eatery, veteran foodies Pat Townsley and Janet Abrahamson started working on their unique pizza dough starter more than a year before Creekside opened in 2016. Today, the mother (starter) is still going strong, attracting locals and visitors alike.
Dish(es) featured and what makes them special.
One hundred percent angus beef, hand-rolled daily with panko and Chef Janet’s blend of seasoning, a.k.a. “Our Meatballs, Our Sauce” on the menu. I also brought our Bald Hill pizza; red peppadews and wild arugula on a white sopraffina base sauce. It’s a year round pizza, but I thought the colors were nice for a holiday picture. Feel free to sing: I’m Dreaming of a White Pizza.
What are popular holiday take-out dishes?
Our most popular pizzas are the Perfect Storm (our combination pizza) and Geronimo (topped with baby lettuces and a premium hand-tied ball of burrata cheese). Our Lion’s Share vegetable platter is popular for indoor dining, and everyone loves our garlic parmesan puffs, our version of garlic knots.
What are you looking forward to this holiday season?
Downtown San Anselmo is a magical place during the holidays, a truly unique Rockwellian avenue with quaint shops, passionate merchants and an ever-expanding food destination. We love to see the community gather for the annual Tree Lighting festival in Imagination Park (I believe scheduled for December 3rd this year) where hundreds of neighbors, families and shoppers join for the tree lighting countdown, the arrival of Santa on the fire truck, hot cocoa, cookies and candy canes from local merchants…it’s the official kickoff of the holiday season for us. The shops are open later, everyone is happy, and it’s a great celebration of life here in the heart of Marin.
Do you have any prep tips to make the food look its best?
Our pizzas are generally pretty loaded and hot, so the longer they travel in a to-go box, the wetter they get. Most of our pizzas travel well, and for the Geronimo, we do put the burrata and baby lettuces in a separate container with the intent that guests finish their pizza by making a mound of baby lettuce in the center of their pizza, then resting the ball of hand-tied burrata on the top, much like a golf ball in the rough, for which the pizza is named “Geronimo” for the late San Geronimo Golf Course. For table presentation, we put our pizza up on pizza stands, like a headlining band on a concert stage, the crowd goes wild when it hits the stage. Elevating the pizza also gives you a little more table space.
Favorite holiday dishes you love to eat and serve?
While I’ve been in kitchens since age 14 starting at “39 Main” tavern in Tiburon in the late 70’s as a short-order cook and barback, I’m more of a Front of House guy than back of house; that’s where the show is, where the presentation is, where the memories are made. At Creekside, we have over 50 “California-only” wines, so I love to celebrate with family and guests with a great glass of Pinot Noir from our friends at Skywalker Vineyard, Kosta-Browne or GoGi Wines. For me, My own personal favorite fall/winter at-home dish to cook is a hearty country-style pork rib sweet and spicy goulash over mashed potatoes or extra wide egg noodles. It’s an all-day cook that fills the house with mouth watering aromas. Now I’m hungry. I’m going to the store now to get the ingredients.
From the Pizzas Themselves to the Stories Behind Them, It’s Personal at Creekside Pizza & Taproom
Naming a pizza after the rainy day your dog almost died from wild mushroom poisoning isn’t just a sign of a unique perspective on the restaurant business. For Janet Abrahamson, whose pug Mick Jagger recovered from the horrific incident, it is also a sign of how much heart she puts into the November Rain pizza and every dish that is served in her San Anselmo restaurant, Creekside Pizza & Taproom.
The chef and co-owner, along with co-founder Pat Townsley, insists on using trumpet (along with shiitake and white) mushrooms sourced from Sebastopol and mozzarella with a perfect pull and no sugar in her sauce. The same personal attention she gives to her pets and family carries over to her work – there will be no shortcuts here. Everything is made from scratch, every day.
All About Pizza
Pizza is the centerpiece of the Creekside experience. Abrahamson, who was United Markets’ culinary director for 21 years, understands Marin eaters. Her pizza dough was launched from a mother dough (or starter) that came into being in August of 2016, more than a year before Creekside opened. The mother, plus a pinch of malt, adds flavor to the “offspring” doughs. Natural fermentation and a 24-hour rest before baking take care of the rest, yielding an only-in-Marin yeasty flavor to each pizza.
Named for the certain lie of her golf ball at the now-defunct course, the Geronimo pizza is Abrahamson’s must-order, perhaps because it is finished with a hand-tied burrata. Perched atop a bed of fresh greens – like a golf ball in the rough – the fresh cheese oozes gooey deliciousness at first bite.
Creekside’s all vegan pizza crusts (a gluten-free option is available), cooked at 650 F in Marsal ovens, are left a bit chewy in the center with a crisp exterior. Townsley calls it “New York-Sicilian hybrid” style, while Abrahamson leans into “Italian-Californian.” But who needs labels? Take the Viva Las Veggies pizza. Topped with just the right amount of lemon and garlic, the pie’s amped-up flavor – enhanced by pepperoncini and sun-dried tomatoes amidst the spinach and zucchini ribbons – surprises in every bite, makes for an exciting addition to the Marin pizza scene. Call it what you like – all you need to know is that it tastes great. You also can’t go wrong with a Creekside Toss salad on the side, but the Citrus Shrimp Salad hits the spot on a warm day.
Beer Fans Rejoice
With 40 (tap) handles and 31 craft beers from 28 California breweries, the pulls are impressive. Creekside features three of Absolution Brewing Company’s beers on tap – Cardinal Sin, an Irish-style red ale; Floc’ing Great, a New England-style hazy IPA; and First Responder 405 IPA, which just won the Gold Medal for Best West-Coast IPA in California at the 2021 San Diego International Beer Festival. Townsley has also opened his taps to neighbors, like Fieldwork, Headlands, Pond Farm and other breweries that remain true to the craft. The on-tap portfolio gets even more diverse when you consider that hard and soft kombucha, Lost Coast root beer and Ace hard cider are also available. A growler program is designed for getting your beer to go, perhaps to enjoy in adjacent Creekside Park. Townsley has also personally curated a “California-only” wine program, with varietals from Textbook, Acre and Long Meadow and fine wines from Skywalker Vineyards, Gogi and Kosta-Browne.)
Not only is Townsley deeply committed to serving great food, beer and wine, he’s committed to the San Anselmo community. The driving force behind San Anselmo Eats, he helped keep the local restaurant community afloat, guiding more than 12,000 diners to open restaurants every day in the pandemic’s first year and raising over $80,000 in Covid-19 relief funds with the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce for local small businesses. His restaurant is an expression of his roots in Marin – there is conviviality at every table, a personal level of service from his staff, many of whom have been there since day one, and a hyper-vigilant eye on the littlest details. Love for a business goes a long way, but Townsley’s devotion to the San Anselmo community makes Creekside Pizza & Taproom a comfortable place to celebrate life. Order a bottle of Skywalker Vineyards Sommita Estate Pinot Noir and toast the day, the night or anything else. These days, a little cheer goes a very long way.