A Cut Above

Oshia’s adds to Santa Fe’s pizza scene—and to Chomp’s appeal

You’ll hear the “No good pizza in Santa Fe!” cries sounding off across town, on the internet, in your homes and on the streets. And though folks who came up in New York (or Chicago—hahahaha! Yeah, right!) might have room to complain, the rest of us might not be trying hard enough. Case in point? Oshia’s pizza inside the CHOMP food hall at 505 Cerrillos Road serves up a killer pizza. You’ve been told.

Originally, the ol’ pizza joint started out as Pedro’s Pizza from chef Peter O’Brien, a veritable legend ‘round these parts (I will stop writing like a cowboy now), that proved pretty darn popular based both on stories I heard from various demographics of local eaters—and also the time I ate some and looked in a mirror and said, out loud and to no one: “This is gonna be pretty popular pizza.” I’m sad the mirror story is 100% true, but not quite as sad as the day last August I learned O’Brien was moving on.

The good news, though? He sold the business to new-ish owner and pizza champ Oshia (say it like “oh-shee-ya”) Golden, who opened Oshia’s pizza last September. It is, frankly, kickass.

In fact, since Golden has taken over the pizza operations at CHOMP, the business has slowly but surely found its footing and become a reliable stop for dine-in or takeout. I myself ate there once or twice in the early days and felt something akin to excellence-but-not-quite. Now, having returned some months later, I can attest to the passion behind the project as well as the quality of the product. Oshia’s has become a full-on banger element at CHOMP.

But who is Golden and why should we trust him with our pizza concerns? That’s a big responsibility, man. We’ve been burned before by flash-in-the-pan pizza joints, and that old adage about how even bad pizza is still pretty good is just so false. To start, Golden has decades of experience in the biz.

“Later this year I’ll be at 20 years of pizza,” he tells SFR.

He hails from Ashland, Oregon, but a sojourn to Portland 20 years ago (for love reasons, baby) found him tripping headlong and almost by accident into pizza.

“It was pretty random,” he says. “I moved there in 2004 right after I got married and put resumes out everywhere, but this one guy who interviewed me at this pizza place called Pizzicato was so outgoing and awesome that I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll come work for you.’”

Golden learned the pizza ropes at Pizzicato and found he had a knack for the art form. The rest, as they say, is history. Fast-forward to the era just before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, when we all simply romped about traveling and breathing wherever we saw fit. Golden’s pizza prowess had helped him link up with former Meow Wolf CEO Vince Kadlubek, and the pair had developed a concept for a pizza joint/barcade across the street from the art juggernaut’s House of Eternal Return. The plan sounded like such a slam dunk that Golden moved his family to New Mexico when…cue pandemic lockdowns.

“That business plan was predicated on 5% of the Meow Wolf attendance coming in,” Golden says, but then everything shut down and everyone was just trying to figure out how to survive.”

Golden took on a number of restaurant jobs in the following years, though, he says, divorce followed, leaving him adrift after 19 years with his former partner. Feeling lost and toiling in a strange land, pizza was always on his mind. He hustled for a while, serving up pies in a short-lived project at Canyon Road restaurant El Farol. Then last year, he met O’Brien of Pedro’s Pizza, who was ready to sell his business.

“I met Peter in mid-August, and I was the owner by late September,” Golden says. “It was just the perfect time to meet him.”

Finally! After so long toiling for others, Golden jumped at the chance to incorporate the countless pizza ideas he’d been dreaming about since ‘04. Oshia’s is good news for the rest of us, too, especially when we’re looking for a quick bite at a place like CHOMP, where options seem increasingly plentiful.

Take one recent evening, when a date and I both ravenously sped to Oshia’s in search of pizza’s warm embrace. Once we’d cooled our jets a little and observed the menu, we noted Golden had already in recent months grown his selections. What started as a spot with five pies and no salads has since become a cornucopia of familiar and not-so-familiar options.

My companion and I have been on a bit of a health kick that amounts to choking down some salad before eating melted cheese. Oshia’s boasts only two salad choices, but both sounded delicious, from the fresh Caesar with a bright and citrusy house-made dressing ($10) to the Greek garden option with mixed greens and feta ($12). Everyone loves a Caesar, though, so that’s where we landed, and though you can add chicken or bacon to either, we kept it plain and simple.

Last time we visited, we immediately zeroed in on the caprese pie ($18-$25), a light and oddly but thankfully refreshing pizza with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and, easily most importantly, a balsamic glaze drizzled on top. Not only do balsamic glazes produce the most satisfying marriage of tangy, sweet and sour, Oshia’s version isn’t over-sugary, and it’s a small but wonderful side effect that the drizzling process means some of the glaze gets baked right into the crust. The final score? 10/10, bro, from the slight char on the bottom to the fantastic crunch of the crust.

For our follow-up, we selected the Bosch ($20-$27), a meat-lover’s dream come true with generous amounts of pepperoni, sausage, onion and garlic, and just the right amount of Calabrian chili. I’ve not seen this on a pizza menu in town, but its subtle kick not only added nuance to every slice, its spiciness felt like it stretched out over time rather than the sharp and immediate—and unparalleled—sting of chile. This pizza tasted almost like a spicy spaghetti dinner thanks to the marinara, and the earthier flavors of the mushroom proved a nice addition.

Lately, Golden’s teenage kids have been helping out around the business, which he describes as one of his great joys. And though CHOMP will likely remain his home base for the foreseeable future, Golden leaves room for future locations and, in the more immediate timeline, a larger menu.

“I’ll grow my menu when I can do it right every time, but I do have a weekly special and a chef’s special,” he says. “In my mind, I’ve got sandwiches and I could triple the pizza menu—I have so many flavors in my head! I just want to do it right.”

I’d say he’s already doing it pretty damn right already, and if we only ever have the current menu to choose from, that’ll be more than plenty.

Oshia’s pizza

505 Cerrillos Road, (505) 699-7982

+Delicious pizza—what else is there?

-Could vex less educated pizza fans


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