Over the last year, we've spent a whole lot of time speaking to Jonathan Goldsmith, of Chicago's Spacca Napoli, about his amazing journey from clinical social worker to world-class pie man. Among other things, we discussed the chance encounter on a plane that changed the course of his life, the legendary pizzaioli he's studied and befriended in Naples, and the power of food to connect people. But mostly? We just talked about pie.
Last time, internet pizza legend (and creator of the most famous pizza recipe in the world) Jeff Varasano talked about the challenges of opening a pizzeria and why he's stayed out of the spotlight the last few years. Today, he goes in depth on the power of a brand like Chic-Fil-A, the challenge of finding great employees, and why having great pizza doesn't always matter.
Jeff Varasano's pizza recipe went viral in the mid-2000's, and he opened up his own shop in Atlanta a few years later to critical acclaim. Then he went quiet...and we decided to find out why. Varasano had a very candid chat with us about his victories, his setbacks, his big plans coming down the pipe, and his newest location: the airport in Atlanta. If you ever wanted to open a pizzeria (or any a business), this is must-read stuff.
Zagat recently named Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach one of the highest-rated pizzeria in the country. We went to see how it stacked up and ended up wondering: Is this new rash of best-of lists hurting or helping the promotion of truly great pizza?
Emilia's Pizza: Keith Freilich Opens Up on Ovens, Bad Accountants, and Pizza Miracles in Berkeley, CA
For the last five years, we've been hearing a lot about the Bay Area pizza scene. That's mostly due to a large swath of legitimately great pizzerias, but the noise has definitely been amplified by big names like Mangieri and Gemignani. Nonetheless, one of my favorite pizzas in Berkeley is made by someone who consciously flies below the radar. Keith Freilich is the owner of one of the more impressive resumes in recent memory...and he agreed to share some of his experience with us.
Last week, we ran Part 1 of our in-depth interview with Paul Giannone, pizzaiolo extraordinaire and owner of the acclaimed Brooklyn pizzeria Paulie Gee's. As he readies himself to open a new branch in Baltimore, Paulie agreed to sit down with us and talk about his whirlwind journey from IT desk jockey to pizza legend. Today, we pick up with Part 2!
Paulie Gee's done plenty of interviews about his rise and he's even answered questions directly from Slice'rs, but he's rarely as candid as he was when he opened up to us about his amazing journey from Corporate IT Guy to Brooklyn Pizza Legend. There's a lot of pizza talk to be sure. So much, in fact, that we'll be running our interview in segments. So keep an eye out for part two next week; in the meantime, here's Paulie on the joys of opening a restaurant, the importance of hiring locally, and why he thinks more people ought to open their own business.
We've been on Chris Bianco overload for the last couple weeks around here, but the maestro had one more surprise up his sleeve that we couldn't possibly ignore. What if we said he just opened a new trattoria and a second Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix? Okay, what if we told you we already checked out both?
You probably heard that Chris Bianco is opening up his second pizzeria, but that's only part of the story. We had a long talk with him to find out about his new place in Tucson, what's driving him thirty years into his illustrious career, and how he got to be so damn good at making pizza.
Oh, what a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, Village Pizzeria was one of LA's top shops. Today, it's barely discussed in pizza circles. But did it change or did we? We returned after a long sabbatical to find out for ourselves.
Every March, the pizza world comes together for at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas to show off their wares and give away thousands of free samples. Couldn't make it? Don't worry, we brought a camera. The Expo may be more about dollars and cents, but that doesn't mean we didn't learn a ton about where pizza is going and the people behind the industry.
Sweet potato mousse crust? Check. Crab, bacon, salsa, and blue cheese dressing on the same pizza? Double check. What about cookie dough crust? You betcha. That can only mean one thing: We went to Mr. Pizza so you wouldn't have to. You're welcome.
"Cheffy" is a word that can go a couple different ways. To some, it means high-quality, ingredient-driven food that's sometimes complex, but always skillfully prepared. Others use it dismissively, and even pejoratively, to write off fare that they view as pretentious, esoteric, or overly complicated. No matter where you come out on the usage, I can assure you of one thing: Gjelina serves cheffy pizza.
Caleb Schiff started out with great pizza, but in the eighteen months since opening, the pies at Pizzicletta have only gotten better. Need proof? Have a look at the transformation of the Amore oi Mari.
When the word "wholegrain" is used in conjunction with "pizza," I am usually "out." But when renowned baker Peter Reinhart came up with a new sprouted grain dough for Charlotte's Pure Pizza, it immediately became a must-try. The party line for sprouted grain is, "all the nutrition of whole wheat with the taste of white." So is there truth in advertising?
Pizza in Los Angeles has become kind of a high art/low art scene, and the rest of the country doesn't seem that different. It's like you're either a down and dirty slice joint or a gourmet shop pushing premium toppings at primo prices. Enter Urbano Pizza Bar, a downtown LA establishment that attempts to skirt the line between the two poles with trendy toppings and "artisan" crust, but in a more accessible package (read: slightly larger portions).
Nobody cares who makes their pizza at your chain du jour, but at critically acclaimed spots like Paulie Gee's and Kesté, having a pie made by the boss is an honor. But is the pizza appreciably better? Do some pizzaioli have magic in their hands? To find out, we talked to two people who would know.
If you're visiting Slice, there's a very good chance that you're obsessive about your pizza. You've eaten your 10,000 slices, you've developed an excellent palette...and you no longer have any time in your life for shitty pizza. You want the pizza in the picture above. Well, unless you want to be in a prison of your own creation I would suggest you make a little time for bad pizza. Here's why.
Skateboarding legend Salman Agah's Pizzanista! has garnered quite the buzz in hip downtown Los Angeles, but when we checked in again last week, we ended up with a tale of two slices...
Bez Compani is as obsessed about Neapolitan pizza as anyone, but his restaurant, Mother Dough, is still flying under the radar in Los Feliz, despite plenty of raves. We went in to find out why and ended up eating some great pizza in the process.
Pepperoni is becoming known as the most boring and predictable of all pizza toppings. So what does an old school place like Barone's do to compete in a post-pepperoni world? They double down and turn their thick-cut slices of pork into cheese bowls, of course.
My biggest complaint with Mozza was always the Margherita, and the biggest problem with the Margherita has always, always been the too herby, overly tangy, borderline sludgy tomato sauce. Enter Bianco DiNapoli plum tomatoes.
800 Degrees is leading the charge for a new group of Chipotle-like, fast casual pizzerias. But can assembly lines really produce a quality Neapolitan pizza? We got in line (multiple times) to find the answer.
Neapolitan pizza has gained a solid foothold in America, but where does it go from here? Los Angeles' Sotto responds with more intense flavors and next-level char...but is that the right answer? We went in to find out.
L.A. has picked its game up when it comes to gourmet pizza, but its still lacking in authentic New York style. Fortunately for Angelenos, Vito's Pizza has come to the rescue...via New Jersey.
The single best food you ate in 2012? Can you even answer such a question?! Upon serious reflection, we sort of did. From breakfast in Israel to sandwiches in Chicago to a kale salad in the Bay Area, here are the very best bites the Serious Eats team ate, all over the globe, this year.
"We can be on best of lists and people can talk about snipping the basil 30 seconds before they put it on the pie, but the only thing that really matters is that primal reaction when you put it in front of someone and they say, 'This is fucking delicious.' Nothing else matters."
Stella Rossa advertises itself as a "pizza bar" and it delivers on both fronts. Their emphasis is on pizza and the guiding principle of the menu is using local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. Come for the crust, stay for the crust.