Pizza Today - August 2020 - 14

MAN ON THE STREET

SCOTT WIENER

NYC Checkup

I

t took a few weeks before I realized
how much trouble NYC was in. I
wasn't watching the news and my
social media usage was entirely devoted to
putting out content to keep my audience
(and myself ) distracted. All that changed
after about two dozen calls and texts from
friends in the pizza business checking in
on me. I had done such a good job ignoring reality that I had no idea New York
City was the epicenter of the pandemic.
Weeks have since passed and the Big
Apple is finally waking back up so I've
been cruising the streets on my trusty
bicycle, checking in on the city's pizzerias.
Everybody knows NYC's pizza culture
is centered around slice shops. These are
the hole-in-the-wall places on just about
every corner. It's always been about takeout and delivery at slice shops, so most
of them were able to continue service

seamlessly throughout the lockdown.
Reopening the city has meant more foot
traffic since people are starting to trickle
back to their daily commutes. The only
difference is now customers are met
with plexi shields, social distance spacing
markers and signage reminding them to
wear masks ... but beyond that they're
operating with no major alterations.
Pizzerias with dining rooms are in a
different situation. Without the ability
to allow customers inside, many have
converted their front windows into
points of sale. Most of our restaurants let
directly onto the sidewalk, so it's possible
to purchase items without veering off
one's route. Lots of pizzerias are offering
a limited menu to cut down on ingredient inventory and some are even selling
ingredients directly to customers. In my
neighborhood, a wood-fired pizzeria with

a huge dining room has turned into an
open-air grocery store.
With relaxed rules for take-out and
delivery alcohol, pizzerias are leaning on
booze for support. Lombardi's suddenly
has frozen sangria and margaritas for
those strolling around Soho, and Gnocco
has frozen pina coladas in Alphabet City.
The downside is that takeout alcohol
attracts large crowds and that's no good
for safety. It's one of the reasons the rules
might snap back to normal, but I'm afraid
of what will happen to restaurants that no
longer have the revenue stream.
Pizzerias that weren't able to pivot to
takeout and delivery made use of the
downtime. Greenwich Village institution
Arturo's repainted their facade and fixed
their old coal-fired oven. Two blocks west,
Song E Napule made good on a vow to
replace an inherited wood-fired oven with
a better one, plus they renovated the interior while they were at it. David Sheridan,
owner of Wheated in Brooklyn, saw the
writing on the wall and completely gutted
his dining room. He replaced the tables
and chairs with an expanded kitchen to
make room for more food production as
he expands his menu to better suit the
situation.
I'm truly impressed by some of the creative maneuvers by pizzerias like Fornino,
whose Brooklyn Bridge Park location
takes all orders by mobile app and delivers
food to tables on the ends of long pizza
peels. Emily and Emmy Squared locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn have
a QR code on their front door, leading
directly to their online ordering platform.
Wheated is managing their service flow
by letting customers reserve pizza for a
specific pickup time.
We all know that this is going to be
incredibly difficult and some of our friends
and colleagues aren't going to make it out
the other end, but we certainly don't have
to let that thought slow us down. In fact,
it just might be the inspiration we need to
speed things up. ■

SCOTT WIENER is the founder of Scott's Pizza Tours in New York City and SliceOutHunger.org Instagram: @scottspizzatours

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Pizza Today - August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - August 2020

Pizza Today - August 2020
Commentary
Digital
Conversation
Mike’s Monthly Tip
Man on the Street
Building Blocks
Tony’s Trending Recipe
Knead to Know
Destinations
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Expo Spotlight
Improving Ticket Times
Employee Handbook Revamp
Scratch Dressings
Menu Refit
Pizza Today - August 2020 - CT1
Pizza Today - August 2020 - CT2
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Pizza Today - August 2020
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Cover2
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Commentary
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 4
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 5
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 6
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 7
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Digital
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 9
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Conversation
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 11
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 13
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 15
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Building Blocks
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 17
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Tony’s Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 19
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 21
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 22
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 23
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Destinations
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 25
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Improving Ticket Times
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 27
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 28
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 29
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Employee Handbook Revamp
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 31
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 32
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 33
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 34
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 35
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Scratch Dressings
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 37
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Menu Refit
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 39
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 40
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 41
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 42
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 43
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 44
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 45
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 46
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 47
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 48
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 49
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 51
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 53
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 54
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 55
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 56
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 57
Pizza Today - August 2020 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 59
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 60
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 61
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 62
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 63
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 64
Pizza Today - August 2020 - 65
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Cover3
Pizza Today - August 2020 - Cover4
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