I talk 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 which have enormous interior crumb and impossibly high cheese fricos around the lacy edges. The fact he knows how to photograph them makes them even more irresistible on Instagram.
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 with the likes of Mozza’s Nancy Silverton in L.A. In this episode, I talk with Dan over a couple of gelatos at Freddy’s in Cicero, IL, where I met him on a recent trip to Chicago.
I talk 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 classic wedges (baked in gas ovens).
I talk 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 of tweaks on the original Uno’s recipe. To this day, it’s one of my favorite versions of deep-dish, and it will be yours too, once you try it.
I sit down with Mark Iacono, one of New York City’s most revered pizza makers. Iacono designed his Carroll Gardens restaurant 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 majestic pies emerge from its stone deck.
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.