Pizza Today - September 2017 - 18

with SCOTT WIENER

man on the street

Dependability

I

'm finally ready to admit I've
been eating through rosetinted glasses. When I evaluate a pizzeria, I tend to focus on
the positive elements. Whether I'm
acting in a professional capacity with
a pizza tour group or with friends at
an extracurricular pizza outing, I shy
away from pointing out flaws. Fortyfive summer camp kids don't want
to know that there's a gum line in
their pizza and they sure don't care if
excess flour on the undercarriage is
causing bitterness; they just want
another slice. But I've found that
while these small technical missteps
may be forgivable, there's a much
greater issue that may not.
Until recently, I was the only
person who didn't understand why

1 8 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7

one of my favorite pizzerias in NYC,
which has been in business more
than 80 years, is completely unknown. I've been taking tours to this
place almost every week for the past
eight years and rarely has anybody
been there or heard of it before.
Guests who live around the corner from the place tell me "I didn't
even think this was a functioning
restaurant." The ones who do know
it's more than just an old façade
complain: "I've never been because
their hours are so inconsistent.
It's like they only open when they
want." I always jump to the pizzeria's
defense, lecturing would-be patrons
that "Lots of Italian restaurants close
for the entire month of August" and
"Maybe there was just a different

emergency every time you've tried to go."
But last week I felt the sting myself
when I called to place an order but only
got the answering machine. And it wasn't
even August. I was confused. A text to the
manager revealed that he just hadn't made
it into the shop yet. No big deal, right?
Well this time it felt like a big deal. That's
when it hit me: everyone was right. The
social contract had been broken and I felt
abandoned by my constant.
The topic recently came up in conversation with a friend who agrees that dependability is a prerequisite for pizzerias, or any
business, to be considered true community
hubs. Our conversation turned to the wave
of challenge pizzerias. I'm talking about
those places with tiny capacities, miniscule
production runs and historically long waits.
You know, the places people brag about
visiting as if they're retelling war stories.
Maybe it's just that I'm in this business
and can totally rationalize waiting several
hours for a pizza, but my friend reminded
me that the vast majority of people aren't
crazy. In his mind, providing obstacles is
antithetical to servicing the community.
I recently moved within a mile from one
of the most notoriously challenging pizzerias in Brooklyn, but as excited as I was
to realize its proximity to my new abode I
cannot consider it a local haunt. The wait is
always so long, they close sporadically and
the product isn't dependable. When people
would tell me these same things years ago
I'd reply, "But it's all about the experience!" But now I see that they've essentially
become a tourist destination.
It's funny that after all the thought that
goes into recipe prep, menu construction,
lighting, music selection and staffing, there
is still a looming power that could define
your pizzeria's place in the community.
There's a fine line between being a place
that occasionally provides food and being a
dependable source of comfort. ■
SCOTT WIENER is the founder of Scott's Pizza
Tours in New York City and SliceOutHunger.
org.


http://sliceouthunger.org http://sliceouthunger.org http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - September 2017

Pizza Today - September 2017
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Knead to Know
Exposed Ceilings
Calzones
Baked Ziti
Chicken Florentine
Shrimp Scampi
Coupons
Celebrating Anniversaries
Road to Pizza & Pasta Northeast: Two Action- packed Days
Pizza Today on the Road: Rome’s Pizza, San Antonio, Texas
Pizza Today on the Road: Pizza Italia, San Antonio, Texas
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - September 2017 - CT1
Pizza Today - September 2017 - CT2
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today - September 2017
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Cover2
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Commentary
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 4
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 5
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Contents
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 7
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 8
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 9
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Contributors
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 11
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 13
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Interact
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 15
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Conversation
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 17
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 19
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 21
Pizza Today - September 2017 - On Tap
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 23
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Destinations
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 25
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 27
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 28
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 29
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Exposed Ceilings
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 31
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 32
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 33
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Calzones
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 35
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Baked Ziti
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 37
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 38
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 39
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Chicken Florentine
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 41
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 42
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 43
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Shrimp Scampi
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 45
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Coupons
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 47
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 48
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 49
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Celebrating Anniversaries
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 51
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 52
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 53
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Road to Pizza & Pasta Northeast: Two Action- packed Days
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 55
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Rome’s Pizza, San Antonio, Texas
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 57
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 58
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 59
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Pizza Italia, San Antonio, Texas
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 61
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 62
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 63
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 64
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 65
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 66
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 68
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 69
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 71
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 72
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 73
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 74
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 75
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 76
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 77
Pizza Today - September 2017 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 79
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 80
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 81
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 82
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 83
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 84
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 85
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 86
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 87
Pizza Today - September 2017 - 88
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Cover3
Pizza Today - September 2017 - Cover4
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