In late January, a new Italian restaurant called Fiorella opened its doors at 2339 Clement (at 24th Ave). Owner Boris Nemchenok grew up in the Richmond District and both Chef-Partner Brandon Gillis and Chef de Cuisine Gavin Braid live in the neighborhood.
Fiorella’s menu includes the standard Italian fare like antipasti, pasta and pizza that is baked in a Toscana Oven that was built in Italy.
Just down the street from Fiorella is Alamo Elementary School which features a teaching garden. Students learn how to plant and maintain the fruit, vegetable and herb garden which so far has produced a wide variety of items including carrots, artichokes, kale, fava beans, rosemary, sage, chives, oregano, parsley, broccoli, beets, mushrooms, passion fruit, and lemons.
Even before the restaurant opened, Nemchenok was working on how to give back to the community with his new venture.
“I grew up in the Richmond and some of my favorite memories are being a kid on Clement Street, popping in and out of local businesses,” he said.
Nemchenok proposed a collaboration with Alamo Elementary to create a special pizza that would reflect the school’s garden curriculum and help raise money for school programs by donating 10% of the profits for every pizza sold.
The result is Fiorella’s “Alamo Pie” pizza, piled high with ingredients inspired by the school’s garden – mushrooms, San Marzano tomatoes, provolone picante, garlic, and rosemary.
So far, the Alamo Pie is a popular menu item. They’ve sold 342 since Fiorella opened and raised $581 for Alamo’s student programs. Funds will be used for art materials, sheet music, equipment for physical education, literacy program costs, library books, and the teachers’ salaries associated with the programs.
“We are so lucky to have Fiorella as part of our community,” said Alamo Elementary teacher Lily Wong.
“The Alamo pizza is inspired by the herbs and vegetables planted by our students in our school gardens. We’re so happy to hear that the sale of the Alamo pizza is doing so well. The donation means so much to us,” Wong said.
“I really want the kids going to school in this neighborhood to not only have a connection to Fiorella, but to have access to spaces to be creative – to music, art, and food,” said Fiorella owner Boris Nemchenok.