We Went on Scott’s Pizza Tours!

June 11th, 2017

New York, NY

Some of you may be familiar with Scott from Scott’s Pizza Tours. We’ve known about Scott for AGES. He personally knows EVERYONE making pizza in NYC, and his instagram is constantly reminding us about all of the pizza places that we have yet to try. He pretty much has our dream job: eating pizza, talking about pizza, and having people actually listen to him talk about pizza. He’s even starred in a documentary about pizza.

So even though we knew all about Scott, and he (sort of) knew about us because he followed our instagram, we had never personally met him or been on one of his famous tours. For Eric’s birthday gift this year, I got us tickets to one of the Sunday tours. Scott always leads the Sunday bus tours but he has other pizza-dork/tour guides to run some of the weekday walking tours.

So, a few weeks ago we found ourselves running from the World Trade Center PATH station up to the start of the tour at Lombardi’s. The PATH had been super delayed that morning, and we REALLY didn’t want to miss the beginning of the tour.

It is lucky that we are pretty quick runners (even in sandals) and we made it to Lombardi’s JUST at 10:30, as Scott was introducing the tour and telling us how much pizza we would be eating that day.

 

At each of the four stops, we’d get a slice of pizza. We were looking forward to trying the pizza at Lombardi’s again. We had stopped there earlier last year and hadn’t been too impressed.

We got to check out the super old coal oven that Lombardi’s uses to cook its pizzas as we walked back to our seats. It was looking like it had seen better days, but it still cooked the pizzas just perfectly!  We noticed some differences in the pizza since the last time we came. The sauce was slightly different and the size of the pizza was different too. But we weren’t too concerned with the smaller slices, since we knew we’d be eating plenty of pizza over the course of the day.

We hopped on the bus and headed uptown to Patsy’s. This was another place that we had been to before and we really liked. If you remember from our previous post, Patsy’s was ranked in the top 20 on the Daily Meal list. Unfortunately for us, it is located all the way up in Harlem and we never make the trip back. We were glad that the bus took us all the way there so that we could try it again!

Patsy’s was the same as we remembered. A little more sauce, a little more cheese, a more NY-style crust than Lombardi’s. Patsy’s also makes a coal oven pizza, and it was fun to be able to compare it with Lombardi’s with back-to-back tastings!

We also got to check out the ovens at Patsy’s! Check out that hot coal over on the side!

 

Our third stop on the bus tour was all the way up in the Bronx, another area of the city that we don’t travel back to often for pizza. Mario’s Restaurant on Arthur Ave is in the “Little Italy” area of the Bronx, and it doesn’t seem to be known for its pizza since they have an extensive regular Italian menu. We could see why Scott included it on his tour after trying it, though. It was Eric’s favorite style of pizza. Smaller slices, again, but with a good crunch on the crust and a really flavorful combination of cheeses.

We had a quick laugh because at Mario’s they cook the pizza AFTER they add the basil (unlike pizzerias like Di Fara, where it is added after it comes out of the oven). Scott had just told us that this is one of his pizza pet peeves. We didn’t think it altered the flavor too much, though, and the pizza still tasted really good. But we definitely tasted the crispy, almost-burnt basil.

PS: Here’s Scott showing us all about the pizzas at Lombardi’s —————————————>

Our last stop on the bus was also up in the Bronx. Eric and I remember taking the looooong subway ride out to Louie & Ernies over a year ago. We thought it was a good slice then, but we wouldn’t have ranked it in the top 10.

We really liked the outdoor seating here, which we hadn’t gotten to sit at before! For all of the pizzas so far, Scott had ordered a regular classic cheese pizza, but Scott also ordered a sausage pie here. If you remember from my previous post, Louie & Ernie’s is known for their sausage pizza. Eric chipped in a couple of dollars for a slice, but I was happily full with my one slice of plain.

 

These slices were better than we remembered.  We finished and then headed back on the bus for the ride back to Manhattan. Scott entertained us with some more pizza stories and his pizza music playlist and answered everyone’s questions about pizza on the drive back.

You’d think that we were full at this point, but with all of the bus rides between the different pizzerias we were probably only averaging one slice per hour. So we stopped and got Mr. Softee ice cream from the truck on the way back to the PATH.

 

I think Eric enjoyed his birthday trip! We are definitely considering going on another pizza tour, especially if we can stop at some places that we haven’t been to yet. Even though we knew most of the random pizza facts that Scott told the group, we definitely learned a few things (like not to put basil on pizza pre-baking!). We would also recommend to everyone to try out one of the tours if you have a free day in NYC.

    

#16 Patsy’s

 March 23, 2016

Manhattan, NY

Patsy’s pizza is ranked pretty high on the list, and we do love a good NY slice, so we headed up to Harlem one day after work, and ordered this plain cheese pie.

We ALMOST went to the wrong restaurant, and finding the “original” Patsy’s took a little bit of digging. The problem is that there is a sort-of-related chain of Patsy’s Pizzerias around NYC, and several are in locations closer to our office. The original Patsy’s opened in Harlem in 1933. The original Patsy learned the ropes making pizza downtown at Lombardi’s (another example of how all the great NYC pizzerias are connected). When he died (in the 90’s), the restaurant was sold to a franchiser and a new chain of Patsy’s was started. We haven’t been to any of those, so we can’t say how they compare to the original.

 

After some online searching and reading too much about the feud over the name “Patsy’s”, we figured out that we had to head up to Harlem to the original location, which was exciting because we had never had an excuse to go to that area of the city before. We got a table and ordered our pizza, which came out hot and bubbling. The crust was thin and crispy and held up to the sauce and cheese perfectly, just as it should. We know that we usually try interesting topping combinations on our pizzas, but sometimes you just need to go with a traditional cheese slice.

Patsy’s is one of the few remaining coal oven pizzerias still operating in Manhattan (I talked a bit about this here), so for that reason alone, it is worth the trip uptown. The slices reminded us a bit of Joe’s, which makes sense since they are ranked near each other on the list. We probably liked these slices a bit better, but they are both as true to New York slices as you can get.

Fun fact: Patsy’s claims to have originated the idea of “selling by the slice”. Although in all our online searching, we weren’t able to verify that this is actually true.

To visit:

Patsy’s Pizza
2287 First Avenue
New York NY