Scott Wiener is a pizza geek extraordinare. A Neapolitan nerd. A mozzarella mensch. All of which makes him the perfect guide for the cheesiest tour in New York. You will learn more about pizza during one of his three hour pizza tours than you will in a lifetime of eating at Domino’s…or whatever neighborhood slice you swear by.
As a protogé of our very own John Arena, Wiener has immersed himself in the cult of the pie from Naples to New Haven — going so far as to crawl into the ten-feet-deep ovens (where the temperature never gets below 200 degrees) to clean them — and is a wealth of knowledge, opinion, humor and taste when it comes to what makes pizza great.
His tour starts in front of the original address of the original Lombardi’s (America’s first pizzeria) and takes you on a Little Italy/Soho/Bowery/Greenwich Village walkabout through pizza ovens both new and old, iconic pies, and enough history to earn you a college credit in the subject. In between info on everything from what makes coal-fired ovens so wonderful (great heat retention, relatively clean, small smoke and simple economics – how many “professional” gas ovens last 100 years?), he riffs on everything from mozzarella (bufala: tangy but watery, Polly-O: taste sacrificed for sturdiness) to the famous feud over Ray’s, Famous Ray’s, The Original Ray’s, and The Original Famous Ray’s, etc. etc.. (Our favorite: the Brooklyn pizzeria that named itself “Not Ray’s.”), and is remarkably non-judgmental on the rise of Pizza Hut and Domino’s — giving them credit for popularizing pizza — but barely poo-poohing their pies.
He can afford to be magnanimous, of course, because he lives at the epicenter of pizza perfection. His tours give you slices and analysis of what makes this simple food the most popular form of sustenance on the planet, and even after feeding some of the best pizza in da woild, his tasty tour does what all great educational experiences do: leaves you hungry for more.
ELV note: John Arena is in the initial stages of organizing “A Slice of New York” pizza/eating tour for Las Vegans (and anyone) interested in eating their way through the Big Apple — including Scott’s tour, an inside look at Eataly, and several other special events in the food capital of America. Stay tuned.
Information on Scott’s Pizza Tours can be accessed by clicking here.