Mark your calendars for this year’s Slice Out Hunger fundraiser. It’s happening on October 9 at St Anthony’s Church at 154 Sullivan St (at Houston) in New York City. Doors open at 6 and over 35 of your favorite pizzerias will be there. We got Lombardi’s, Difara, Two Boots, John’s, Joe’s, Luzzo’s, NY Pizza Suprema, Sottocasa, Keste, Don Antonio, Forcella, Cowboy Pizza and LOTS MORE!
How does it work? You just show up, buy as many $1 tickets as you want, then exchange tickets for slices, sodas or desserts. Our sponsors have pledged to match every dollar we raise and all the money goes to Food Bank For New York City!
Check out our event website for more details, volunteer information and sponsorship opportunities.
I first met Pete Genovese in 2006 when I was a member of a day-long pizza quest for New Jersey’s largest newspaper, The Star Ledger. Every summer Saturday, Pete loads the car, dubbed the Munchmobile, with a group of carefully-selected eaters to test a specific food within the state. This guy knows every angle of NJ and he’s very selective when it comes to food. He has a special love for pizza, which led to a 6 month long pizza-only stretch of adventuring at the tail end of 2009. I was fortunate enough to be on the team for over 300 pizzerias across the Garden State. Pete dropped a book called A Slice of Jersey with stories and reviews of all the pizzerias we visited. But his thirst was not quenched. Pete undertook a mission of epic proportions with a book project about New York City pizza and that book is finally here in the form of Pizza City: The Ultimate Guide to New York’s Favorite Food.
There are plenty of book about pizza. Trust me, I have at least one copy of each of them. Most go into the funky quirky tidbits of pizza history and folklore but Pizza City cuts right to what’s most interesting: the people behind the pizza. It covers the most popular slice shops and pie palaces but also takes the time to profile lesser-known pizzerias. Take John’s in Elmhurst, Queens. It’s a small place on the corner run by a mother-daughter team. I’ve had the pizza and wasn’t blown away by it, but the place has a real charm you can’t duplicate.
There’s also a review section of 250 pizzerias but it’s more for context than reviews of the pizza. Pete writes about what was going on while he was eating his slice. I like that. Everyone has different taste and you can’t base your opinion on his, so Pete gives you the info and lets you find out for yourself whether or not it’s the greatest slice on Earth.
Full disclosure: there’s a section about me and my pizza tour. But regardless of that, the book’s still good! He also profiles other pizza enthusiasts and bloggers so you get a real sense of how crazy the pizza scene gets.
This book belongs on the shelf of every pizza fan… actually every human, because it shakes a food we take for granted down to what’s important: people, pride and heart.
*Buy the book Pizza City: The Ultimate Guide to New York’s Favorite Food by Pete Genovese
Miriam and Joe came over to make pizza with me LAST NIGHT!!!
My company is called Scott’s Pizza Tours because I never envisioned anyone but me leading these cultural-culinary adventures around NYC. Turns out I was wrong. Miriam and Joe have been on board for the past couple of months after an exhaustive search for fun and exciting pizza enthusiasts to help lead folks through the city’s ever-changing pizza landscape.
Both Joe and Miriam lead normal lives with normal jobs, but pizza is their passion so they scored some NYC Sightseeing Guide licenses and now they’re cruising the streets looking for great slices. I’m beyond excited for anyone who gets to experience their tours.
Schedules aren’t set in stone but Joe will be taking on Sunday walking tours through Greenwich Village and Soho, Miriam will have most Friday Crosstown Pizza Walks and I will still be doing every Sunday NYC Pizza Bus tour as well as walking tours and private tours most other days. We now have evening tours on Mondays and Thursdays plus more to come toward the end of the summer. Stay tuned!
You’re lost. You’re hungry. You need pizza. You have a wi-fi equipped mobile device. You are saved! Everybody knows about general food-locating apps like Yelp, Foursquare and Foodspotting but there are several apps dedicated solely to helping you find nearby pizzerias. Here’s a quick rundown of four of them.
NAME: Pizza Finder
PRICE: FREE (you just have to deal with the ad at the bottom)
TERRITORY: Entire USA
DEVICES: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
Pizza Finder opens with a list of pizzerias in close proximity. You get exact distance, address and phone number right there on the main page. Clicking through to any pizzeria gives you its Yelp page for more details and reviews. You can even enter any location in the US and get a list of pizzerias if you want to plan ahead rather than wait until you’re standing sliceless at an unfamiliar intersection. It’s pretty much just a “pizza” search in the Yellow Pages.
Not a bad app if you’re in a new apartment and want to order a couple pies for all the friends you roped into helping you move, but keep in mind you’re depending on Yelp reviews to light the way to the right spot. Choose the wrong pizzeria and you’ll have to find new friends for the next move.
DEVICES: Compatible with iPad, iTouch and iPhone
As its name (sort of) indicates, Cheazza is all about helping you find cheap pizza. It lists chains, dollar slice shops and pizza deals by neighborhood or via a geo-location feature. In the screenshot above, you’ll see Papa John’s (#3 chain in the US), 2 Bros. Pizza (dollar slice chain around NYC), Crocodile Lounge (one of several NYC bars that offer a free personal pizza with every drink) and a couple other dollar slice joints. Come to think of it, Cheazza is technically an app that lists pizzerias you’ll want to avoid! It amazes me that anyone New York would go out of their way to find a bad slice, but I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. Use at your own risk!
NAME: Jeff Orlick’s Real Pizza of New York
TERRITORY: New York Metro Area
DEVICES: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
Who is Jeff Orlick? He’s a guy who lives in Queens and really likes good food. He’s constantly searching for authenticity, honesty and general realness in eateries of all sorts but this app concentrates specifically on Jeff’s personal pizza recommendations. Instead of searching based on proximity, Real Pizza suggests pizzerias based on user-selected filters (right screenshot above) such as borough, oven type and pizza style. There are also options to sort by price and neighborhood if you don’t want to go with straight alphabetical order.
This is easily my favorite pizza-finding app because it features something none of the other ones have: curation. Orlick has clearly spent countless hours, days, months, years culling his list and it is constantly being revised and expanded. His app shows you photos he took and reviews he wrote with extra info you can’t get from a simple phone book listing.
Real Pizza’s only real downfall is that there’s so much information that the app tends to run a bit slow and the navigation is a bit clunky. I also wish it had a geo-location function but my fingers are crossed that’s coming with the next update. That being said, this is the only app for serious pizza enthusiasts and it’s well worth the price of admission. (Full disclosure: My tour is listed on the app, but I’d dig it even if it wasn’t.)
NAME: Pizza Compass
DEVICES: Compatible with iPhone 3GS and later, iPod touch 3rd generation and later, iPad running iOS 6.0 or later
This one just came out and its release gave me an excuse to finally review the pizza apps that have been sitting on my phone for the past few years. It is without a doubt the most attractive and user-friendly of all selections in this post but at the same time one of the most basic.
The Pizza Compass website is brilliant in its simplicity. It has links to just a few of the massive number of press pieces written when the app dropped as well as a simple video of the app’s “creator” (he’s not listed as a copyright holder) giving a spiel about the app. I was really taken in by the video because it lays out that the app is simply for finding the closest pizzeria and not interested in cultivating an elite list of authentic options. In that sense, it’s a lot like Pizza Finder (and the many other location apps I chose not to include since they’re all the same) but Pizza Compass actually looks like a compass as it points you toward slice salvation. It has smart features like a smoke indicator to let you know when you’re getting close and a red-green bar that tells you whether or not the place is currently open. It’s a really clean design, perfect for helping you find those late-night (READ AS: drunk) desperation slices.
But is it the greatest app ever? Will it change your life? Is it a “tool…to help us celebrate life…love…adventure,” as the video claims? No. No. Maybe. Because sometimes pizza isn’t about historic coal ovens or 48 hour fermentation or mozzarella di bufala; it’s about the comfort of a warm slice without having walked very far.
A new phone book arrived on my stoop and it reveals amazing insight into the state of pizza in Brooklyn. Here are some stats:
- The book lists 518 phone numbers for pizzerias
- There are 19 listings for Domino’s Pizza
- There are 14 listings for Papa John’s plus a location at 3528 Nostrand Ave that’s spelled “Pappa John’s” for some reason (it’s a Papa John’s)
- There are 5 listings for Little Caesar’s
- No Pizza Huts are listed
- Popular pizzeria names include Sal’s (4), Vinny’s (4 + 1 Vinnie’s), Luigi’s (5), Rocco’s (6), Gino’s (6 + 1 Gina’s) but the most popular is Tony’s (13)
- There are no Ray’s pizzerias but 2 Not Ray’s listings remain
- Remove all duplicate listings and the Big Four chains and you’re left with 449 pizzerias in Brooklyn!
Today is the 118th anniversary of Gennaro Lombardi’s arrival in America. Just 20 years old at the time, Lombardi arrived at Ellis Island aboard a ship called Kronprinz Friedrich Wilhelm after departing from the port of Naples, Italy. He ended up on Spring Street, where most of his family worked as tailors. Lombardi took a job at a grocery/bakery on Spring Street, of which he took ownership in 1905 and converted into the nation’s first pizzeria.
At the time, pizza was only being sold in bakeries as a side item but Lombardi’s was the first to make it the focus of a restaurant. Several of New York’s most storied pizzerias were founded by former employees of Lombardi’s, such as the recently reopened Totonno’s on Coney Island (1924) and John’s on Bleecker Street (1929).