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About Cioppino House

Cioppino House is a small family owned restaurant located in the Pisgah Public Market. Your hosts, Jack & Bonnie Ferrara, have operated many eating establishments over the years and Cioppino House is their current labor of love. With a spirit of hospitality they bring an array of savory dishes & fine wines to Pleasant Hill.  

Bonnie’s love of people is felt by customers with each warm welcome and excellent service experience. Each made to order dish reflects the heart and soul of the owners who use only fine quality and healthy ingredients.

“I love to make people happy and the best way I know how to do that is serve them good food at a good price in a simple yet elegant atmosphere.” 
Bonnie Ferrara

The Story of Cioppino

Many people claim the name “Cioppino” comes from the Italian word cuppin, meaning little soup. A more entertaining story as to the derivation of the name is that a common call along San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf was “chip-in,” allegedly a call for San Francisco’s mainly Italian immigrant fisherman coming home with their daily catch to donate a small portion of their catch for a communal fish stew prepared on the docks. Anything would do and the meal would be shared among the fisherman who would talk about the day’s catch and dunk San Francisco Sour Dough bread into the rich broth. Eventually the broken English cries of chip-in turned into “chip-in-O,” which ultimately became “Cioppino.” 

Cioppino is an Italian American classic. While many people believe the dish originated in Italy, it actually originated in San Francisco and was made famous in the 1850s by Genoese immigrant Giuseppe Bazzuro and his abandoned ship turned Italian restaurant bearing his name. Originally, the dish was a purée of cooked vegetables and leftover fish scraps. 

Over the years, Cioppino has transformed into a luscious stew using local delectable shell fish such as Dungeness crab, briny prawns, and sweet small shrimp, along with heaps of clams, mussels, and chunks of flaky fish. All of this is simmered with lots of tomatoes and wine. Although you won’t find the same dish in Italy, it is similar to many shellfish soups found along the Mediterranean coast, such as cacciucco, brodetto and bouillabaisse to name a few.