Scott Wiener started out working in the Department of Cultural Affairs in Hoboken, New Jersey, when an impromptu pizza tour for his birthday led to the creation of a full-time business. Today there are 65 pizzerias in the Scott’s Pizza Tours universe, with more than a dozen tours offered every week. On top of that, Scott leads demos, speaks to industry leaders and even holds the world record for the most number of pizza boxes. The man lives his brand. Steve talks to him about what he looks for in a proper NYC slice.
Tim Semmler and his wife, Lydia, have been running Tinder Hearth Bakery from their home in rural Maine for the past 13 years. More recently, they’ve added pizza. Toppings depend on what their local farmer sells them. The flour is from Québéc and the starter is all-natural. If you’re headed to Acadia National Forest, it’s a must-stop.
Brian Spangler has had a lot of jobs. Some in I.T., some in bread baking. But it’s the four year period while working in rural Oregon that laid the foundation for what would become Apizza Scholls in Portland. We met Spangler in the hills of Montana – at The Resort at Paws Up – where he was tasked with recreating his long-fermented dough and baking pies in ovens he wasn’t necessarily used to; no matter, he figured it all out and turned out some amazing pies.
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 mile or so away. The rest is, well, a complicated history. Steve sits down with Giovanni Cesarano to talk Grandmas, traditional slices and a mind-bending Roman al Metro that we can’t wait to get back and try again.
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 1 of our Umberto’s saga. We’ll also preview the NYC Pizza Festival (Home Edition) coming up April 24th and 25th.
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. They sought help from a couple of Italian experts to create a Neo-Neapolitan pie amidst the ice cream shops and food trucks. Steve spoke with both the owner and the chef this week, about the challenges of creating these delicate, leopard-spotted pizzas, in a climate that can prove to be challenging yearround.
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 a style of pizza based on the original source of authentic deep-dish in Chicago.
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 on top of them.
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 Town, just a few blocks apart. When they moved to Nashville in 2013, they started looking for their own place. By 2016, they had opened Nicky’s Coal Fired, a restaurant featuring a large coal-fired oven, where they bake a lot more than just pizzas.
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 pizzas out the side door. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should.