Everything You Need to Know about Slice Out Hunger: TONIGHT’S $1 Pizza Party

Tonight’s the biggest night of the year for NYC-area pizza lovers. We started Slice Out Hunger as an anniversary party for Scott’s Pizza Tours but it has become a beast of its own over the past six years. It all started when several pizzerias I work with on the tour offered to give me a few free pies for a launch party. Rather than just eat the pizza with my friends, I decided to charge a measly $1 per slice and send all the money to City Harvest. After a year of running the business, we were able to get even more pizza donated and I decided SPT would match every dollar going to City Harvest. The amount of pizza increases every year and as the event gets bigger we’re able to take on sponsors to assist with the donation matching. Last year we raised $20,000 for Food Bank For New York City and this year it’s looking like we’re going to crush that number. 

I wanted to take a few minutes before I head out to set up the event space just to give a quick rundown of how the night works and what changed between this year and last. 

image
Lots of people show up but we keep the flow as smooth as possible.

We always run out of pizza. That’s just how the event works. If we don’t run out of pizza we didn’t get the word out enough. In an effort to feed more people who show up and wait in the line, we decided to limit everyone to 10 slices. We have lots of other items that can be purchased with tickets (Brewla Bars, Boylan Sodas, Ferrarelle water, raffle tickets, my mom’s cookies, etc) but only 10 of them can be used for pizza. That being said, we do have 1,300 pizzas this year. That’s 500 MORE than last year. So yeah, there will be a TON of pizza!

image
My mom makes her famous chocolate chip cookies for this event and they go FAST!

How are we going to keep track of your 10 slices? We’re selling two different tickets this year: RED tickets and BLUE tickets. RED tickets can be used for anything. BLUE tickets cannot be used for pizza. So You can buy a total of 10 RED tickets and unlimited BLUE tickets. If you have leftover tickets at the end of the night, just visit our raffle table and we’ll set you up to win some killer prizes.

But what about the people who get in line super early??? Don’t worry, we’re not capping the number of slices for the first 20 people in line. So if you want to construct a monster pizza with a slice from all 51 pizzerias, just get there super early. We’re also limiting everyone to 1 slice per pizzeria, so you can’t drop $8 at Difara’s table and walk out with an entire pizza. 

image
Last year a genius made labels for all his slices. 

When do people start lining up? I’ve arrived at the church at 4pm to set up and folks have already been waiting in line. If you want your choice of pizza, get there early 

What’s that? You don’t want to wait in a long line and you love donating to charity? There is a solution. Just head on over to our website, click the DONATE button and drop $100. That gets you and a friend directly to the front of the line without having to wait PLUS you get 10 pizza tickets to start. Buy whatever else you need for just $1 per ticket! Remember, ALL OF THE MONEY we raise goes directly to Food Bank For New York City. 

Where are you going to store all those slices? Fear not, we’re giving you an entire pizza box to use for your slices. It’s a GreenBox, the amazing pizza box that breaks down into plates and a storage container for your leftover slices! After the event, you can either hang out and eat inside the venue (floor space only) or you can take your pizza to three bars who have partnered with us for the night. Blue Haven, Peculiar Pub and American Flatbread are allowing our pizza crew to bring our booty to their establishments and enjoy along with exclusive drink deals. Or you can just take your slices home and watch Ghostbusters or something. 

Once you’re in the room, you get only one pass through the pizza tables. No going backwards in line because you missed something you wanted, we have to keep all traffic flowing in a single direction. So buy all your tickets when you get inside and grab slices as you pass them. 

image
Here’s the room layout. Plot your SOH experience accordingly!

Will the pizza be warm? This year we have three MPUs (Mobile Pizza Units). Luzzo’s, Valducci’s and Neapolitan Express will each be setting up outside the venue and baking fresh pizzas to be served inside. Go to their tables if you want fresh pizza, but due to the nature of this event and the distances some of the pizza is traveling, it is unlikely the other slices will all be piping hot. 

Who gets all the money from this event? Every cent we take in goes directly to Food Bank For New York City. This organization supplies food to shelters and programs around the city. Every dollar they take in results in 15 meals for New Yorkers in need. Here’s the real beauty of tonight’s event: we have a bunch of sponsors who have pledged to donate various amounts based on how much money we raise, so every dollar you spend will actually transform into $3 for Food Bank. That means every slice you eat tonight becomes 15 meals for people who have trouble affording food. Think about that. 

image
Tumblr made an amazing banner for this event!

Who puts this thing together, anyway? There are about six of us who do most of the work for SOH. We’ve had meetings as far back as January of this year just for tonight’s event. This isn’t a job for us, we do it because we want to. There are 80+ volunteers who have attended training meetings and are giving up their time (and their ability to actually participate in the event itself) just to make it happen. St Anthony’s Church has donated their space for the past three years and we could not do this without them. Sponsors like Brewla Bars and GreenBox have been with us since we started and more sponsors like Tumblr (yes, you are reading this ON Tumblr AND they are a sponsor — crazy) and Boylan Bottling are joining this year. 

image

Slice Out Hunger isn’t just about pizza and it isn’t just about charity, it’s about coming together as a community. The restaurant community is notoriously competitive and the pizza scene in NYC is absolutely part of that, yet they all come together to serve pizza side-by-side for one night only. Lucali is closing for the night so their whole staff can attend to help. This event is so incredibly special to me, it’s easily the most important thing I do all year. If you would like to volunteer next year please contact me and we’ll make it happen. If you have any event questions you can try emailing but I’ll be setting up all day so it’s probably best if you just come and ask one of our volunteers in person. 

If you’ve come in the past, I hope to see you again tonight. If you’ve always wanted to come, tonight is the night! If you’ve never heard of our event, there is no better time than now to change your life for the better by attending. There’s such an amazing energy in the room beyond the deliciousness of the pizza. It is absolutely incredible. I’ll see you there.

Goodbye Pizza Box

image

After all the reports and rumors and even with brown paper up in the windows, I still thought there was a chance for Pizza Box. The typical New York slice shop was part of a dwindling tribe, having been in business since 1957. Box’s owner had assured me on several occasions that they were just renovating and planned to reopen in six weeks with a new layout. I was worried about the pizza changing but he seemed confident that it would just be a cosmetic alteration. About a month ago I heard from another area restauranteur that the pizzeria was not planning to reopen, so hope remained. But this week the sign finally came down and reality set in. Pizza Box is no more.

image

This marks another blow to the New York slice, which has been struggling against fluctuating ingredient costs and rising rents. A slice of pizza is a great deal at $2.50, but Pizza Box had two $1 slice joints within a block and bar-lined streets like Bleecker are not usually filled with the most discerning palates at 2am. And so the Pizza Box is gone, making way for a fast-food sandwich chain that’s willing to pay more in rent than Pizza Box was bringing in from pizza sales. I can’t blame them, but I certainly can mourn the loss.

image
I adore this simple box with the misspelled street name.

And what about the pizza? It wasn’t the greatest slice I’ve ever had but it was honest. It’s exactly what a New York slice should be. No fancy flour, no wood fired oven, no cheese blends — no nonsense. Just a solid pie, perfect for folding and eating on the go.

image

This should be a lesson to us all. Eat good pizza. Support your local pizzeria or it will disappear. Goodbye, Pizza Box. You will be missed.

Slice Out Hunger Raises $1600 in Two Hours!

On Thursday, May 27, SPT and GAP Adventures joined forces to raise money for the homeless and hungry by harnessing the powers of pizza. We collected pies from some of the city’s top spots and offered slices for $1 each. Donations came in from Lombardi’s, NY Pizza Suprema, Arturo’s, Luzzo’s, Joe’s, John’s of Bleecker and Lazzara’s.

Since we had lined up about 45 pies, our main concern was finding enough people to eat all of them. So we were a bit overwhelmed when the event began at 6:30 and huge line formed out the door. All of the pizza was gone by 7 PM and reinforcements were called in from Joe’s, Ben’s, Lombardi’s and NY Pizza Suprema. We ended up eating all 65 pies, raising $1600 for City Harvest. Because of our love of pizza, we are putting 7,272 pounds of food on the tables of people who need it.

Our exhibit of international pizza boxes (and menus) was also a huge hit. We had submissions coming in right up to the last minute and more are on the way for next year’s event. Please contact me if you have a box you’d like to submit.

We also raised money by selling $1 raffle tickets. Prizes ranged from SPT tickets and shirts to GAP Adventures travel coupons to pizza books to passes to the Vendy Awards! We even had some great prized donated by PMQ’s Pizza Magazine.

Huge thanks to everyone who attended, especially our pals in the pizza blogosphere. You can read their accounts of the evening at Passion4Pizza and Me Myself and Pie. And just in case you’re curious, this is what the aftermath of a huge pizza party looks like.