John Arena from Metro Pizza in Las Vegas

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.

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 pizza quality in the city that hosts the International Pizza Summit every Spring.

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 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.

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 pizza history, then taste the legendary pies at Frank Pepe’s, Sally’s and Modern.

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 story of how his father (and grandfather) were linked to the birth of deep-dish in 1943.

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. He talks about the city’s pizza scene, and why he didn’t bother trying to attain VPN certification for his thin and blistered pies.

 

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