Santa Rosa’s Homeslice Is a Home Run

The Ausiello family has made the new restaurant feel like it’s been in the neighborhood for years.

Two weeks after it opened, tables at Ausiello’s Homeslice were hard to come by. The new Rincon Valley restaurant and bar was packed with pink-cheeked kids, Crayon-toting parents and young couples on a cold, wet night in late December when I visited. My kids and I happily squished our three bodies into a table for two that had opened up. Despite barely having the paint dry on the new restaurant, the Ausiello family (longtime owners of Ausiello’s Third Street Bar & Grill in Santa Rosa) has made the place feel like it’s been in the neighborhood for years.

The restaurant has been top of mind due to its affordable prices, full bar (pretty much a requirement for a neighborhood restaurant) and intentional family-friendly vibe. It’s a place that feels equally right for espresso martinis with your book club, a post-soccer dinner or a casual date night. I’m not gonna lie, it’s loud and a little chaotic at times, but happily so.

Tartare with crispy rice at Ausiello's Homeslice in Santa Rosa's Rincon Valley. (Courtesy of Ausiello's Homeslice)
Tartare with crispy rice at Ausiello’s Homeslice in Santa Rosa’s Rincon Valley. (Courtesy of Ausiello’s Homeslice)

We devoured the Hot Cheese Dip ($12) with caramelized onion jam and toasted crostini, but the star of the appetizer lineup was Crispy Rice and Ahi Tartare with Soy Glaze ($17). It’s a generous portion of spicy tuna atop chewy rice cakes with just enough char at the bottom to give them a crisp snap.

The Caesar ($14) was not especially daring but solidly crafted. Go for the Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($18) with tangy slaw and kimchi mayonnaise. We munched on the leftovers of that monster through the next day.

The pizzas, made in a wood-fired oven, don’t have the black char of a Neapolitan pie, but a crispy, browned crust that’s more crowd-friendly. Go for California-style toppings like Korean short rib ($23), or keep it simple with pesto and mushroom or Margarita ($21). We liked the Pinot Pear pizza with roasted fennel, creamy fontina cheese and arugula ($22) — also a next-day winner.

It was a tough choice between Chocolate Cannoli ($13) and Key Lime Tartlets ($13) with raspberry gelee and coconut whipped cream — a flavor I’m really getting used to. The tartlets didn’t disappoint.

Happy hour is from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, with mini pizzas, pesto bread bites and popcorn chicken, along with the dangerously drinkable Ciao Bella cocktail ($10) made with Meyer lemon vodka, lemon and a sparkling wine float.

The children’s menu, natch, is pretty straightforward with macaroni and cheese, hamburgers and pizza, but we loved the ice cream scoop dessert that includes a trip to a candy toppings station.

Open Wednesday through Monday, closed Tuesday. The bar opens at 3 p.m., dinner service from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. and late-night snacks are available until closing. Ausiello’s Homeslice is at 5755 Mountain Hawk Drive, Santa Rosa, Reservations recommended.