Although there never seemed to be much activity in this pizza place, there was at least a little activity.
Now there was no activity. I used to joke to people that the pizzeria had to be a front for the mob. They intentionally were losing money so they could launder illegal profits.
There was no way they could stay open with the amount of customers they had. A pizzeria needs customers. This pizza place had few customers. Very few. But they remained open. Until, now.
So I went next door and asked what happened. The cashier said she didn't know. Just one day they didn't open. She said the people that worked there were just as surprised. They came to work but they were locked out. Seems like this pizzeria went belly up.
The owners just forgot to tell the employees they were out of a job. They just left.
To tell you the truth, I never had their pizza. I guess it was OK, but it was a multi-unit pizza chain. One of the big boys. I am sure their pizza tasted like every other pizza made by the chain.
Probably OK, but nothing special.
No heart. No passion. Just pizza ingredients thrown together and baked in a pizza oven. And the pizza that came out, reflected what went in. Nothing special, just ingredients.
One of my favorite scenes in Pizza the Movie is when Michael Dorian is interviewing a Big Time Pizza Chain owner. And Dorain asks him what makes pizza special. He says "Pizza isn't special...it's only pizza". And you know in his heart of hearts, that is what he believed.
To him, pizza wasn't special, it was only pizza.
And that is what separates the chains from the pizzaiolo.
The Big Chains see pizza as a product, a bottom line, the cost of ingredients. They're in it for one reason: it's a business. They make a product and they sell a product. There is no real connection to the pizza or to their customers.
The other end of the spectrum are the true pizzaiolos. They have passion about what they do. They are connected to their pizza in a sacred way, a spitiual way. They are connected to their customers and their customers are connected to them.
Jon F. just got back from Portalnd where he spoke with Brian Spangler of Apizza Scholls, in Portland. (Read the interview here). Jon said Brian was very involved in his craft. And you know, Brian would have it no other way.
This passion to connect is shared by the Legends of pizza such as Gary Bimonte (Pepe's), Chris Bianco (Pizeria Bianco), Tony Gemignani (Pyzano's Pizzeria) and Ed LaDou (Caiote Pizza Cafe).
These are Legends of Pizza. I invite you to share their pizza, share their passion.
They are not the only ones. There are dedicated pizzaiolo in many places.
You need to find them. You might even find them in your own neighborhood.
Your mission, is to seek out those pizzaiolo, who share the magic that makes pizza great.
You might be that true pizzaiolo, yourself. Share your own passion for pizza.
Make your own incredible pizza. Practice the art of pizza.
Your life will never be the same...
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