Pizza City (the podcast)
Every other Friday, Steve talks to some of the world’s greatest pizzaiolos, bakers and artisans about their craft. Hear their backstories, discover their secrets, techniques and inspirations, while listening to their meticulous process as they describe how they make their truly sublime pizzas.
Giovanni Cesarano from King Umberto in Elmont, NY
There is a lot of discussion in New York about where “Grandma style” pizza came from, but the truth is, this thin Sicilian style of pan pizza has been around for a hundred years. A former cook from Umberto’s came up with the official name when entering a contest while employed at King Umberto, a […]
Part 1 of the Umberto’s/King Umberto Grandma Saga
There are several Umberto’s locations on Long Island, but none more famous than the one in New Hyde Park, where generations of pizza lovers have visited over the years. It’s there where the pizza cooks began making a thinner Sicilian, one of them dubbing it “Grandma style.” Did they really invent it? Listen to Part […]
Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar in Seaside, Florida
Seaside, Florida is known for its pristine architecture and sandy beaches. “The Emerald Coast” – in Florida’s Panhandle – sees a lot of tourists, especially between the towns of Destin and Panama City. But the team behind Bud & Alley’s, a 35 year-old restaurant on the water, has also established a quaint pizza bar nearby. […]
Lou Malnati’s Turns 50
Steve talks with Marc Malnati, the President of Lou Malnati’s, Chicago’s most prolific deep-dish purveyor. Opened on St. Patrick’s Day, 1971, by his late father, they just opened a new store beneath Michigan Avenue and continue to slowly expand in Wisconsin. The company sells nearly six million pizzas a year, and are known as having […]
Tandy Wilson from City House in Nashville
Tandy Wilson grew up in Nashville, went to culinary school and worked in Northern California, studying Mediterranean cooking, before exploring Italy’s cuisine and culture for an immersive education. He returned to his hometown, opening City House, in the Germantown section of Nashville in 2008. His wood-fired pies are unique, mainly due to what Wilson puts […]
Tony Galzin from Nicky’s Coal Fired in Nashville
Tony Galzin is a proud South Sider from Chicago. His wife hails from Alabama, but the two met while working at mk restaurant in Chicago. Tony worked pastry, Caroline in the front of the house. The two fell hard for each other, as well as the coal fired pies at D’Amato’s and Coalfire in West […]
Michael Hanna from St. Vito Focacciaria in Nashville
Michael Hanna has worked in the restaurant industry for several years, mostly in Memphis and Nashville. He has tapped into his Sicilian heritage and created a pizza that deserves a lot more recognition than it’s getting. He rents a space in the basement of a food hall in East Nashville, selling his St. Vito Focacciaria […]
Patti Tubbs from Italian Fiesta Pizzeria in Chicago
Patti Tubbs literally grew up in the pizza business. Her grandfather started Italian Fiesta Pizzeria on the city’s far South Side in the 1940s, and the recipe hasn’t changed a bit. A young Michelle Obama (nee Robinson) grew up on the pizza, and turned her family onto it while they lived in Hyde Park. Patti […]
Nella Grassano from Nella Pizza e Pasta in Chicago
Nella Grassano grew up in Naples, and pizza has been in her family for decades. She wound up settling in Chicago (where she met her husband) and has worked in some of the city’s finest Neapolitan pizza shops. Her namesake – Nella Pizza e Pasta – has been in Hyde Park for several years now, […]
Best of 2020
We’re taking a long look back at 2020, a year we’d just as soon like to forget. But these four interviews were unforgettable – full of insight, advice and history. We talk with pizza writer Arthur Bovino (@nycbestpizza) about how he goes about covering his beat; John Arena discusses the finer points of Sicilian from […]
London’s Pizza Pilgrims Document Pizza Quest in New Book
Thom and James Elliot fell hard for Neapolitan pizza, and decided to buy a small van and drive through Italy, discovering and learning all they could about pizza making. The result is “Pizza” a new book about their adventures, which include a few cities in the U.S. They now have 14 locations of their Pizza […]
Nick Krunkkala & Caroline Zeller from Oysterhead Pizza Co in Damariscotta, ME
Chefs Nick Krunkkala and Caroline Zeller are the driving force behind Oysterhead Pizza Co., a tiny shop perched above the flowing Damariscotta River, about an hour-and-a-half north of Portland. This vacation town now has a serious pizzeria, where the dough is thoughtfully made and the wood-fired (rotating) deck oven burns a bit lower than your […]
Noah Sandoval from Pizza Friendly Pizza
Noah Sandoval has to be the only two-star Michelin chef currently making pizza. His fine dining restaurant – Oriole – was taking a break during the pandemic, so he and his business partners came up with a new take on Sicilian pizza, previously unseen in Chicago. With complete humility, he reached out to an expert […]
Mike Keon from OTTO in Portland, ME
Mike Keon and his business partner, Anthony Allen, founded Otto Pizza in 2009 in Portland, Maine. Over the past decade, they’ve expanded in New England, due in part to their creative take on toppings – including bacon, mashed potatoes and scallions, among others. Steve spoke with Mike just a few yards from the original store […]
Michael Zaffiro from Zaffiro’s in Milwaukee, WI
Michael Zaffiro was born into the pizza business. His family has run Zaffiro’s for more than 60 years, satisfying a local craving for thin and crispy, square-cut “bar pies” that rule in the Midwest. He shares a few family secrets in this very candid interview.
Emily and Chris from Slab Sicilian Street Food in Portland, ME
Steve Lanzalotta created a unique Sicilian-style of pan pizza while working at Micucci Grocery in Portland, Maine, but after a falling-out, left to continue that tradition with partners Emily Kingsbury and Chris Bassett at Slab Sicilian Street Food, located in the old Public Market. You can get one pound slices, four pound half sheets or […]
Thomas McNaughton from Flour + Water Pizzeria in San Francisco
Thomas McNaughton has had success with Flour + Water in San Francisco for more than a decade, but he wanted something more substantial than the delicate Neapolitan pies from that wood-burning oven. His latest – Flour + Water Pizzeria, in the Mission – emphasizes long fermentation, wet dough and electric ovens, to produce some glorious […]
Jonathan Goldsmith from Spacca Napoli in Chicago
For the past 15 years, Jonathan Goldsmith has led the charge for authentic Neapolitan pizzas in Chicago at Spacca Napoli, a result of spending several years living and working in Italy alongside master pizzaiolos. But he got a late start in life, after spending many years in academia and clinical social work. He continues to […]
Neal DeNardi from Long Bridge Pizza in San Francisco
Neal DeNardi spent years working for various heavy hitters in San Francisco’s pizza world: Pizza Hacker, Tony Gemignani, Del Popolo among them. His hard work led to the birth of his own place – Long Bridge Pizza – located in the Dogpatch neighborhood just south of downtown. If you miss the large, semi-greasy NYC-style slices […]
The @eatfreepizza gang from Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream in Chicago
When friends Brad Shorten, Cecily Rodriguez and Billy Federighi started @eatfreepizza on Instagram, they were known for giving away their handmade, artisan pies to their fans. Fast forward two years, and they’re now making a legit East Coast Sicilian with a crispy undercarriage and a focaccia-like interior, from their take out window in Bridgeport. Pizza […]
Mark Hopper from Farmshop Marin in Larkspur, CA
This week, Steve takes the ferry from San Francisco’s Ferry Building Market, for a peaceful 30-minute ride up to Larkspur, where Chef Mark Hopper has been working tirelessly on a pair of outstanding pizzas: one emerging from a wood-fired oven, the other a near perfect Sicilian square with lots of chew and crunch. Farmshop Marin […]
Noam Grossman from Norm’s in Brooklyn
Noam Grossman grew up in New Jersey, eating cheese pizzas on a weekly basis. His love of pizza grew into not one, but two successful operations: Upside, in Midtown Manhattan, and now Norm’s in downtown Brooklyn. In both cases, he is focused on high quality ingredients sourced from the best artisans. At Norm’s, he’s offering […]
A Pair of Alternative “Pizzas” with Mid-East, Mediterranean Origins
Steve takes a slightly different approach to the term “pizza” this week, as he checks out the za’atar manoushe from Z & Z in Washington D.C., then a classic Turkish lahmacun from Turkitch in Chicago. Both are essentially flatbreads with savory toppings. But are they pizza?
Avery Ruzicka from Manresa Bread in Campbell, CA
When you’re part of the Manresa group – a widely celebrated 3-star Michelin rated restaurant in Los Gatos, California – you focus on ingredients and technique. Avery Ruzicka has worked with Chef David Kinch for almost a decade, but over the past few years she’s been focused on Manresa Bread, with three locations in Silicon […]
Tommy DeGrezia from Sofia Pizza Shoppe in Manhattan
Steve sits down with one half of the team behind Sofia Pizza Shoppe, on the East Side of Manhattan, just North of the United Nations. Tommy DeGrezia is the force behind the “Doughdici,” as well as a number of creative slices at this tiny shop on 1st Avenue. Known for their ideal NYC triangles and […]
Danny Stoller & Mark Shechter from Square Pie Guys in San Francisco
Steve talks with the friends and partners behind Square Pie Guys, one of the latest Detroit-inspired pizzerias in San Francisco. They freely admit they take some liberties with the rules (no brick cheese, for instance) and have built their brand partly via the pop-ups they did and on Instagram.
Rosanna D’Amato from D’Amato’s Bakery in Chicago
Rosanna D’Amato is the 3rd generation of her family to run the namesake bakery on the Near West Side of Chicago. Known for their coal-fired oven, D’Amato’s produces some of the best sandwich bread and focaccia, but they also produce a Sicilian pan “bakery” pizza that is one-of-a-kind. Steve talks to Rosanna about how she […]
Dave Acocella from Philomena’s in New York City
Dave Acocella has spent a lifetime in the restaurant business, but waited until he was 50 before opening his own pizza place. Philomena’s offers both traditional wedges and Roman-style squares, airy and light, with incredible crunch and chew. Despite most of his training on wood-fired ovens, his dexterity with ovens, and his embrace of the […]
Tony Gemignani From Tony’s Pizza Napoletana & Capo’s in San Francisco
Tony Gemignani has won multiple championships in Italy for his pizza making prowess, but he’s also authored books on the subject, teaches would-be pizzaiolos how to make various styles (and certifies them) all while overseeing a pair of San Francisco pizzerias that produce upwards of 17 styles of regional pizza between them. Steve spent an […]
Dan Costello From Home Run Inn in Chicago
Steve talks with Dan Costello, the President and CEO of Home Run Inn, one of the nation’s largest frozen pizza companies (in 40 states), but also the great grandson of the founders of this Chicago-based pizzeria. They started on the city’s Southwest Side, offering square-cut, thin pizzas, which have come to define Chicago pizza (among […]
Massimo Laviglia from L’industrie in Brooklyn
Steve talks with Massimo Laviglia, proud son of Tuscany, who only moved to the U.S. in 2012. His story of hard work, perserverence and most important of all, his courage to ask for help from some of New York’s top pizza makers, ended up saving his fledgling business from going under. Laviglia is now widely […]
Derrick Tung from Paulie Gee’s Logan Square in Chicago
Derrick Tung gave up med school, then a promising career in healthcare administration to pursue his love of pizza. He reached out Paulie Gee in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, seeking his advice, and it led to a partnership in Chicago. Tung has expanded beyond the store’s usual wood-fired pies to include a remarkable Detroit-style that’s winning awards.
Paulie Gee from Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn
Steve sits down with Paulie Gee, of the namesake wood-fired pizzeria in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, at his new slice joint just a couple of blocks away. Paulie talks about ditching his corporate I.T. job for a life in pizza. He has become a mentor to many young pizza makers in the country, and has even sprouted […]
John Arena from Metro Pizza in Las Vegas
Steve sits down with John Arena, a native New Yorker who moved to Las Vegas 40 years ago to make his name in pizza. What he learned along the way was invaluable, and he’s taught a generation of young pizza makers how to navigate the business. As the owner of Metro Pizza, he’s also overseen […]
Arthur Bovino – Pizza Writer, Author & Force Behind @nycbestpizza
Steve talks with Arthur Bovino, the guy behind thepizzacowboy.com, @nycbestpizza and the driving force behind The Daily Meal’s annual “101 Best Pizzas in America” list. They met at Leo in Williamsburg, to try some Roman pizza, and talk about the business of covering the pizza world in New York City.
Vincent Rotolo from Good Pie in Las Vegas
Steve talks with Vincent Rotolo, the driving force behind Good Pie in Las Vegas’ Pawn Plaza. Rotolo is a native New Yorker (grew up working at John’s on Bleeker) who brought his love and passion for pizza to the desert. He is part of a growing roster of pizza makers there, raising the level of […]
Leo Spizzirri from The North American Pizza & Culinary Academy
Leo Spizzirri is the driving force behind only the second North American branch of the famed Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli. This pizza school has a location in San Francisco, but Spizzirri now has an accredited program about 45 min. west of downtown Chicago. He talks about how he got into the business, fell in love with […]
Jared Leonard from Grabowski’s Pizzeria in Denver
Steve talks with Chicago native Jared Leonard about his latest pizzeria – Grabowski’s – located in the RiNo District of Denver. Leonard is bringing the pizza of his childhood (that means tavern-style, thin, square-cut pizzas) to his newly adopted home.
Adam Sweet from King Dough in Indianapolis
Steve talks with Adam Sweet, an Arkansas native who ended up in Indiana. His first King Dough started on the campus of Indiana University, but he more recently opened in Indianapolis, directly across the street from Smoking Goose Meatery, a world-class producer of cured and smoked meats, and the collaboration has been a delicious one.
The Iconic Pizzas of New Haven
Steve travels to New Haven, CT, home to Yale, as well as some of the most revered pizza joints in the country. He meets up with Colin Caplan, the author of “Pizza in New Haven” and Owner of Taste of New Haven Tours. Steve (and a few lucky contest winners) learn about the city’s unique […]
Marc Malnati from Lou Malnati’s in Chicago
Steve talks with Marc Malnati, President and CEO of Lou Malnati’s, the mammoth deep-dish pizza group started by his father in 1971. With more than 50 locations, Lou’s has become the largest deep-dish slinger in the country, and as Marc explains, their approach is more independently-minded than that of a large chain. Marc tells the […]
Steven Dilley from Bufalina in Austin, TX
Steve talks with Steven Dilley, the owner of Bufalina and Bufalina Due in Austin, Texas. Dilley’s parents are Italian and Taiwanese, so he has a unique perspective on food; his experience in the financial world in New York City, combined with some traveling and research in Naples, led to Bufalina in 2013 in East Austin. […]
Chris Bianco from The Manufactory in L.A. and Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix
Steve talks to Chris Bianco – of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix – about his new collaboration with Tartine Bakery’s Chad Robertson and Elizabeth Prueitt, in The Manufactory in downtown L.A. He’s focusing on flatbreads, rather than the wood-fired pies he’s known for, but the scale of the operation is mighty impressive.
Michael Schwartz from Genuine Pizza in Miami
Steve talks to Chef Michael Schwartz, the owner of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and Cleveland. Schwartz’s new book, “Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home” just came out, and Schwartz was in Chicago recently, doing a takeover of one of the ovens at Pacific Standard Time. He talks about some of the must-have […]
Robert Garvey from Robert’s Pizza & Dough Co. in Chicago
Robert Garvey is an engineer-turned-playwright-turned-pizzaiolo, who grew up in Queens with a slice-a-day habit. Moving to Chicago in 1993, he started tinkering with dough recipes and spent the next decade or so, tweaking his recipe until he got it right. He recently re-opened his namesake pizzeria in Chicago after being closed for nearly two years, […]
Justin De Leon from Apollonia’s Pizza in L.A.
Steve talks with Justin De Leon, a former professional photographer who has married his love of photography with his passion for pizza. Having grown up with heavy pizza in Monterey Park, he has spent years developing his Sicilian/Angeleno squares at Apollonia’s, which have enormous interior crumb and impossibly high cheese fricos around the lacy edges. […]
Anthony Falco: International Pizza Consultant
Anthony Falco was one of the founders of the beloved Roberta’s, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Over the past three years, he has become a pizzaiolo for-hire. He’s set up new pizzerias all over the world, and continues to create new, artisan options for some pizza shops in the U.S. as well. We met at Upside Pizza, […]
Dan Richer from Razza in Jersey City, NJ
Dan Richer’s pizzas have been praised by The New York Times (which awarded the restaurant 3 stars) as well as the Italian-based 50 Top Pizzas list (where his place landed at #1 in North America). His meticulousness and attention to his craft has won him fans around the country; he recently did a series of pop-ups […]
Frank Tuttolomondo from Mama’s Too! in New York City
Steve talks with Frank Tuttolomondo, owner of Mama’s TOO! on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Frank’s family has owned Mama’s Pizza nearby for nearly 60 years, but his approach to pizza making is far different. He experiments with hydration levels, baking technique and fermentation, but also offers a more artisan approach to Sicilian and […]
Rich Aronson from My Pi in Chicago
Steve talks with Rich Aronson, the 2nd generation owner of My Pi, which was started by his father, Larry, in 1971. Rich talks about how they were the first deep-dish outside of Illinois, then shrank back to just one location. His father’s meticulousness – he was a 3rd generation baker – led to all sorts […]
Mark Iacono from Lucali in Brooklyn
Steve sits down with Mark Iacono, one of New York City’s most revered pizza makers. Iacono designed Lucali in Carroll Gardens to resemble a pizzeria from the 1940s. Everything may look old, but it’s all new. His handmade, wood-fired oven is the star attraction – more curved than domed – and some of Brooklyn’s most […]
Gina Pianetto from Pat’s Pizza in Chicago
On this episode, Steve talks with Gina Pianetto, the 3rd generation owner of Pat’s Pizza in Chicago, which started making Chicago tavern (thin) pizza in 1950. They talk about carrying on the tradition her grandfather set forth, and how her father altered the thickness of the dough and length of time in the cooler (six days) to get their signature, cracker-thin crust – the OG Chicago style pizza.
Michele Forgione from Pizzeria GEMA in Montreal
On this episode, Steve talks with Michele Forgione, the owner of Pizzeria GEMA in Montreal. His artisan pizza uses a lot of Canadian ingredients, but more importantly, they’re making many of the toppings themselves, including curing their own meats. They also avoid using wood, so they have more control over the finished product.
Ann Kim from Pizzeria Lola & Hello Pizza in Minneapolis
Steve talks with Ann Kim, the owner of Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza and Young Joni, all in Minneapolis. Kim attended Columbia University in New York, studied law for a year, wanted to become an actress, but realized her true calling was in the culinary world. She opened Lola eight years ago, focusing on wood-burning, artisan […]
Franco Stanzione from Stanzione 87 in Miami
On this week’s show, Steve talks with Franco Stanzione, owner of Stanzione 87 in Miami. Franco takes an Old World approach to Neapolitan pizza-making, and goes a few steps further, making his own mozzarella in-house, and fermenting his dough up to 72 hours. The results are instantly noticeable. The only problem: a general lack of […]
Matthew Hyland from Pizza Loves Emily, Emmy Squared & Violet in NYC
Matthew Hyland, the chef/owner of three unique pizzerias in New York: Pizza Loves Emily, Emmy Squared and Violet. At Pizza Loves Emily in Brooklyn, they focus on wood-fired artisan pies; at Emmy Squared (with locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Nashville) it’s all about Detroit-inspired square pies with caramelized cheese borders. Their latest project – Violet – honors the Providence, RI tradition of grilled pizza, which started at Al Forno.
Dave Lichterman from Windy City Pie & Breezy Town Pizza in Seattle
I travel to Seattle to talk with former Chicagoan Dave Lichterman, a computer science engineer who worked for Amazon for about eight years before deciding to pursue his lifelong passion of pizza making. Dave has two businesses – Windy City Pie and Breezy Town Pizza – where he and his staff experiment with homemade giardiniera, cooked pineapple, sausage ground in-house and candied bacon as toppings, while also using all-natural sourdough starters and other artisan techniques to create their deep, pan pizzas.