Sunday, April 08, 2007

Brian Spangler, Master Pizzaiolo in the Northwest

This interview is an excerpt from Legends of Pizza Volume 1 and 2 e-Book

The following interview was done with Brian Spangler of Apizza Scholls located in Portland, Oregon. Brian is, according to Peter Reinhart,: "one of the up and coming superstars of pizza.

Brian discusses how the original location of Apizza Scholls, was actually forced to move because they were to popular.

"Albert: Can you tell me a little bit about Apizza Scholls and where the name came from and what it means?

Brian: Well, Apizza Scholls, this is our second location. Originally we were out in a rural district here in Oregon just outside of Portland. The township that we were in was called Scholls. We originally just called it Scholls Public House. Due to an overwhelming response to our product and articles in newspapers, again we were in a rural area; people just bombarded us to the point that we were causing some pretty severe traffic issues out there.

We ran into an issue with Washington County, the county that Scholls was in and essentially had to move from that location. We found a place here in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Apizza Scholls is kind of a play on words. I always loved to see American-Italian dialect of the word pizza which was apizza. Mostly hailing from the Connecticut area, I have always loved that. It’s kind of a play on words as Apizza Scholls. So, we just decided to go ahead and name it Apizza Scholls.

Albert: So, there is that New Haven, Connecticut connection. I was kind of wondering about that with your name.

Brian: The style of pizza that we do is more of your typical Neo-Neapolitan style pie that hails from the northeast region of the United States from Connecticut through New Jersey, a big 18 inch size pie, minimal topping, baked at extremely hot temperatures very quickly. So, it is the style of pizza that we do produce to have that apizza in our name.

We do have quite a few east coast transplants out here and a lot of them even from New Haven. They love it. Essentially, it’s the same as the old ma and pa pizza shop. You go in and get great pizza made by the same people every day. Pizza is very simple. Back there the crust was always excellent. It’s just the style of pizza that I was essentially weaned on.

Albert: How did you learn to make pizza yourself? What kind of training do you have?

Brian: Well, I actually started baking when I was eighteen years old when I moved to the west coast. I actually went to college in Santa Cruz, California. I landed a baking job when I was eighteen. So, I’ve been baking essentially for twenty years now. I have a huge past of working not only with bread but also working with beer, grain fermentology essentially. I had that foundation behind me.

I moved to Oregon in 2000 and essentially I wanted to go back into baking. I started a brick oven bakery. When I moved to Oregon, I quickly discovered I couldn’t find anything closely resembling what I thought of as pizza. Essentially it was your typical west coast style pizza which was very over-laden sauces and crust seemed to be an after thought with ingredients and toppings on pizza. Pizza seemed to be a vehicle, should I say, for just toppings and lots of them.

While I was creating Olive Mountain Baking, my goal was the same. I am a baker and I should be able to replicate a style of pizza that I thought of as pizza that I sorely missed. I went back to New York several times because there were certain bakers conventions back there that I would be a part of.

So, while I was there I’d try to eat as much pizza as I could and go to places like Patsy’s and Grimaldi’s and Totonno’s and just soak in as much of those experiences and then come back and try and replicate that as being my inspiration, but at the same time putting my own little twist on it. ..."

Continued in the Legends of Pizza Volume 1 and 2 e-Book.

You read the rest on this interview as well as interviews with Peter Reinhart, Gary Bimonte (Pepe's), Chris Bianco, (Pizzaeria Bianco), Tony Gemignani (Pyzano's) and Ed LaDou (Caiote Pizza Cafe) in the Legends of Pizza Volume 1 and 2 e-Book.

You will learn the absolute passion of these Legendary pizzaiolo, true Legends of Pizza.

Laugh as much as you can,

pizza on earth,

Albert Grande

1 comment:

Les said...


While you were out here, you should have made a trip above Hood River (about 10 mi up Hwy 35) to Santacroce's Italian... a spot on the side of the road... best Pizza I've ever had. Hand tossed, true Italian/New York crusts, and sauces to die for...

Les Cardwell