Derek Reiff from My Friend Derek’s in Seattle

Like a lot of people, Derek Reiff realized if you’re going to make pizza for pick-ups, Detroit fares better than Neapolitan. Thus, a pandemic pivot from wood fired to rectangular pans…and a quirky, sometimes on, sometimes off again pizza project in Seattle, catering to the whims of its owner. Best to check his Instagram (@myfrienddereks) before you commit dinner plans.

The Modernist Cuisine Team has Released “Modernist Pizza”

After more than four years, the team from Modernist Cuisine outside of Seattle has produced an impressive body of work on all things pizza. Modernist Pizza is three volumes, plus a recipe manual, containing history, science and pizza intel from around the globe here (even if the Chicago chapter left me a little cold). It’s the ultimate pizza compendium ever compiled and at more than 1,700 pages, you’ll have years of research at your fingertips.

Scott Rivera From Scottie’s Pizza Parlor in Portland, OR


Scott Rivera has always longed for the Brooklyn pizzas of his childhood, even when he was growing up in New Mexico. His passion got the best of him, as he finally took the plunge in Portland, Oregon, where his wife’s job took both of them. Scottie’s Pizza Parlor is an homage to the great pizzas of NYC, and not only does he make a terrific slice, he also offers some hard-to-find grandma style slices – a rarity in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Sarah Minnick from Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Portland, OR

Sarah Minnick knew she had to tackle bread making if she was ever going to improve her pizza crust. The quest for a better dough took her down a long path, and for the past 12 years, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty has been one of the most well-regarded pizzerias – not just in the Pacific Northwest, but anywhere in the country. Sarah talks about her inspiration, her process, and how she decided to stop burning wood and made the transition to an electric oven.

Nykolas Sulkiwskyj from Loui’s in Detroit

Nykolas Sulkiwskyj’s grandfather, Louie Tourtrois spent time at Buddy’s, the founder of Detroit style pizza. He trained with the original owners there. But once he left, he started up pizza menus at Shield’s bar, and eventually settled with his namesake in Hazel Park, about 20 minutes NE of downtown Detroit. The restaurant hasn’t changed a bit since it opened in the mid-70s. Today, Nykolas makes each pie as if it’s his first: making sure the “red tops” are consistent and the dough proofs long enough. We talked about the family history, and how he maintains consistency in a competitive market.

 

Marie Guerra Easterby from Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant in Detroit

Marie Guerra Easterby’s father, Gus, is widely known as the father of Detroit style pizza. But when he left Buddy’s in 1953, to open the Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant, he brought the recipe with him, and the battle for bragging rights began. Today, Easterby and her brother run the bar and restaurant in Eastpoint, where they still lay claim to the original recipe, even if they sometimes take liberties with the pepperoni placement.

 

Two New Must-Have Pizza Books

There are several new books about pizza coming out – the Modernist Pizza series, most notably (and we’ll have a separate show on that) – but Steve’s latest work about Chicago history is also a must-have guide for any visitor. Meanwhile, Dan Richer (Razza, Jersey City, NJ) is about to launch his cookbook on Nov. 9. Steve talks Chicago tavern thin vs. deep-dish vs. stuffed, then he talks with Dan about how far down the rabbit hole he’s gone on things like sauce matrices, calipers and cheese options.

 

Matthew Grogan from Juliana’s in Brooklyn

Matthew Grogan loved the pizza from Grimaldi’s (and later, Juliana’s) so much, he quit his job in finance to help Patsy Grimaldi continue his vision. The New York native has seen Grimaldi through good and bad times, and feels the weight of carrying on that vision well into the 21st century. We discuss the complicated history of Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s, including the special challenges involved in running a coal-fired oven beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

Nick Buckland from Yard Sale Pizza in London

When Nick Buckland and his partner got around to opening Yard Sale, on the outskirts of London, they were looking to try to improve upon delivery and take-out pizza (this was before Covid-19). Figuring that out has helped them succeed, as they now prepare to open their 8th Yard Sale Pizza. Steve talks to Nick about working with ingredients from nearby Italy, and how that may have shaped Londoner’s thoughts about what pizza should be. He’ll also talk about his unique take on a British pizza using a beloved ingredient.

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