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Sitting at the westernmost edge of the historic Walker building in Downtown Long Beach, the 4th Horsemen, a pizzeria that has captured the hearts of both carb connoisseurs and lovers of the grotesque, looks fairly unassuming from the outside — particularly during the day. Its windows remain foggy at all hours, hiding a small handful of ‘90s arcade consoles and horror paraphernalia from passersby. The cue to come in is an “Eat Beer Drink Pizza” sign that beckons Long Beach diners to explore what co-owner Jeremy Schott calls “one big unit of weird.”

Some form of the macabre is plastered on nearly every inch of the place: Tables are adorned with cut-outs of old horror and sci-fi comics like Eerie and Famous Monsters. Two bathrooms are bathed in a sinister red light; taxidermied animals are above the bar and along the hallway to the bathroom (and elsewhere). An ode to Poe’s raven manifests in a mini mural that showcases the black bird with a slimy piece of pizza hanging from its mouth. Old-school horror flick posters adorn the walls, from ‘80s classics like Nightmare on Elm Street to cult faves like Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

This all comes with what has been locally deemed as some of the best pizza in the city—and rightfully so.

While 4th Horsemen’s classic pies have always been a steady, dependable choice — with $4 cheese or pepperoni slices and pints on Mondays — its signature pizzas that really set it apart: Not quite New York(though happily foldable) or Neapolitan (there is no wood-fired oven), but certainly Californian (where toppings include everything from carnitas and house-made vegan sausage to blueberry chipotle sauce), the pizza at 4th Horseman has come to define a part of Long Beach’s rich pizza scene.

Chef Mike Royal is the mastermind behind the pies that come out of the space’s tiny-but-mighty kitchen. They’re yeasty wonders acting as odes to the dark side: The Hellfire is a heat-seeker’s dream, where dollops of house-made ricotta and shredded mozzarella are layered with bacon, habanero, jalapeno, roasted red peppers, and fresh basil before being painted with a pentagram of “Apocalyptic sauce,” the pizzeria’s much-loved, nearly fluorescent-orange pineapple-habanero hot sauce. There’s a vegan pie — one of the best in the city — dubbed the Alchemy, which uses gochujang as a base before layering on the pizzeria’s solid house-made vegan sausage and Parmesan along with chunks of pickled carrots, garlic, ginger, micro cilantro, and a drizzle of agave sriracha sauce.

Photos and written by Brian Addison.

For Brian Addison's full profile on The 4th Horseman, click here.

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