Here are some frequently asked questions about the pizza tour:
Which is your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite. I’m not 16. Teenagers have favorite bands, sports teams, and pizza parlors. There are a few styles we are dealing with, which makes comparing them like comparing hot dogs to hamburgers. Within those styles, each pie is different and while some are undeniably better than others, choosing one at the top of the heap is futile and worthless. I am just looking to appreciate each pizza as an individual.
How is transportation arranged?
By our own autos. Whoever drives does not pay for pizza. This seems fair.
Do you tell the pizzeria’s you intend to come? Do they know who you are?
For the most part no, although Rose and Joe’s heard about it through the grapevine and to some it slips out when we get there. I intend for the Sundays to be an example of any day at each shop. One regular pie, on one regular day.
How do you rate a pizza?
I don’t. There are too many different styles and characteristics to consider. When someone asks “what about a slice do you like?”, you can answer about cheese or sauce or crust and ambiance, but these particularities don’t explain the whole story. When you fall in love, there is no rationale. You talk about looks, intelligence, character, but these things have no place with love. I am only concerned with finding love.
What do you hope to get out of this pizza tour?
There are two components. The experiences and the coverage.
First of all, I have always wanted to do this. I’m a NYC explorer. I want to know every pie worth knowing. From the experiences with the Jackson Heights Food Group, I realized the fun and ability to organize groups like this. I figure there are at least 7 more freaks like me on NYC who would enjoy eating 5 or 6 great slices in one day. I needed the others to fill the pie. I think they would find the same enjoyment I do.
From the coverage, I hope to expose little known and deserving pizza to the pizza-eating world. Some of the standouts include John’s Pizzeria in Elmhurst and Luigi’s of South Park Slope. These should have lines out the door, their integrity is impeccable.
What have you learned from the tour?
I have learned that it’s out there. There will always be new places right under your nose that have been operating for decades, cranking out pie after pie to locals – without ever a write-up in time-out magazine. I have always thought that all it takes is one media connected person to push a restaurant into that incredible hemisphere of popularity. Is Sriprapai better than every other Thai in the neighborhood? Maybe, but it is definitely debatable. Is Jackson Diner the best Indian restaurant in Little India? No, it’s not. But tourism writers keep perpetuating the tourist beliefs and let them wallow in the holes they’ve created for themselves.
I’ve learned it’s hard to consider all of these pizzas the same food. From Motorino to Roberta’s to Luigi’s to L&B Spumoni Gardens, they are dramatically different. Nearly incomparable.
Love is out there, you just have to look for it.