NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - CBS2's Elle McLogan celebrated National Pizza Day with a local pizza guru.
Scott Wiener is the founder of Scott's Pizza Tours, which spans all five boroughs.
With a passion exemplified in his collection of 1,400 pizza boxes, Wiener has been dubbed New York's foremost pizza expert - a title he disputes.
"Well, I think every New Yorker is their own foremost pizza expert," he explained. "I think I just am the least partisan of any of them. I don't have a particular favorite. I study pretty deeply the history and stories of each place, and I do a lot of historical research. So it's anthropological and sociological and almost archaeological to a point."
How does he define New York-style pizza? Wiener is pretty specific:
"Well, a New York-style pizza is a large-format pizza. It's cut into eight even wedge slices. The whole diameter of the pizza is somewhere between 18 and 22 inches, and it's made with a low-moisture mozzarella, baked in a gas-fueled deck oven at about 550 degrees, for somewhere between seven and ten minutes. When it's served to the public, it's available either fresh, or if you're there ten minutes late, as a reheat slice. And the slice is always larger than the plate upon which it is served. This is a New York slice."
In Wiener's view, New York has a pizza culture unlike any other.
"New York's had pizza for so long, over 100 years at this point, that there's something ingrained in our culture about how we eat pizza and our respect for it. So going to pizzerias that serve by the slice is a part of everyday life here. You go and grab a slice before the movie, and then you get dinner after the movie. That's the way that life goes."
On his pizza tours, Wiener aims to give more than just a taste of good pizza.
"What I hope people get out of the tour, I hope it has a ripple effect in the rest of what they do in their life, because knowing that something that you once thought was so one-dimensional, knowing that it's twelve dimensions, it makes you appreciate everything—whether it's other people, or a fork on a table, or the table itself, everything. A greater appreciation for life."
John's of Bleecker
278 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
Emily West Village
35 Downing Street
New York, NY 10014
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