I sit 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 the growth of the industry in his adopted hometown, now host to the annual International Pizza Expo and the Las Vegas Pizza Festival.
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.
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 pizza quality in the city that hosts the International Pizza Summit every Spring.
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 Italy’s regional styles, then convinced Italian authorities to let him open a school in the Midwest. Some classes are for die-hards who want to open their own pizzerias, while others are just hobbyists who want to improve their pizza-making skills.
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.
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.
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 pizza history, then taste the legendary pies at Frank Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern.
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 story of how his father (and grandfather) were linked to the birth of deep-dish in 1943.