The Pizza Show ran for two seasons on Vice between 2016 and 2018 and explores the world’s love of pizza, particularly family-run and independent restaurants.
Hosted by Frank Pinello, a New York pizzaiolo who owns Best Pizza in Williamsburg, the show travels the world sampling the delights of Chicago, London, Naples, and Sicily, among other locations.
Pizza orders have boomed during lockdown, with many big chain restaurants such as Papa Johns and Pizza Hut gobbling up a bigger slice of the pie.
Around 90% of all pizza restaurants survived the pandemic, but according to Statista, 56% of independent establishments saw a decline in profits. This could likely be due to the whopping 30% fee charged by third-party delivery companies.
The Pizza Show leaves you lusting after a marvelous margarita or perfect pepperoni pie, with Pinello’s passion for food coming across brilliantly in the process.
Here are five of the best pizzerias featured on the show and where to find them.
Sorbillo – Naples
Naples, The Birthplace of Pizza, sees Pinello make the pilgrimage to Southern Italy, where he hangs out with pizzaiolo’s, cheesemakers and explores the region of Campania.
Here, he meets Gino Sorbillo, who has established himself as a significant player in the Neapolitan pizza scene, with numerous restaurants and a pizza museum in the city.
Gino puts Frank through his paces in his restaurant, Sorbillos, located in Via Dei Tribunali, central Naples.
Sorbillo’s is situated near Museo Cappella Sansevero, a chapel, and museum which houses the famous Veiled Christ sculpture. Piazza Dante is also a five-minute walk from the pizzeria where the open square hosts cafes, a book shop, and a wine tour.
Lucali – Brooklyn, New York
Lucali’s offers a slice of “old Brooklyn” at his Carroll Gardens-based pizzeria owned by Marco Iacono.
Iacono is a self-described “accidental pizzaiolo”, starting his business with no previous experience. He thought about keeping the space, on Henry Street, as a candy store before building the restaurant from scratch.
Lucali’s location is perfect for those wanting to explore the many facets of Brooklyn life, with independent shops and bars a few blocks away and Downtown Brooklyn just a ten-minute drive.
After looking around the neighborhood and seeing where Iacono gets his fresh produce, he and Pinello travel to Avenue J to drop in on the Godfather of Brooklyn pizza and a mentor to both, Dom DeMarco. His family-run store-front restaurant, Di Fara Pizza, has served slices since 1965 and is another must-eat Brooklyn pizza joint.
Yard Sale – London
English cuisine isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to good pizza, but Yard Sale received rave reviews from Pinello as he samples the London pizza scene in The Pizza Show: Extra Slice.
The restaurant began life as a backyard project for Johnnie Tate and Nick Buckland (who appears in the episode), with the pair opening their first restaurant in 2014.
They have also collaborated with Frank, selling his famous white pizza in their seven London locations. Their Marmite pizza will generate strong feelings, with a thin layer of garlic oil topped with cheese and a splash of the ultimate “love it or hate it” condiment.
Surprisingly, the Marmite goes down well with Pinello, who is also impressed by the more traditional pizza styles and community feel of London’s pizzerias.
Yard Sales in Finsbury Park is located just around the corner from the famous park and a ten-minute tube ride to The Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club.
Lo Chalet – Sicily
This episode sees Pinello return to Baucina in Sicily, where he lets us in on some family time with his cousins, aunties, and uncles. The scene will feel familiar to many people, Sicilian or not, as the family sits down to a multitude of pasta, meats, fishes, and bread while reminiscing and cracking jokes.
Lo Chalet is the only pizzeria in the town, so by default, it is the go-to place for a slice of authentic, stone-baked Sicilian pizza. Pinello enjoys, then cooks a traditional Cudduruni pizza made with focaccia, anchovies, scallions, and various grated cheeses.
Lo Chalet is around a five-minute drive from the Baucina’s town center and is the safest way to travel as the lack of sidewalks would make for a slightly risky twenty-minute walk. However, it does provide impressive panoramic views of the Sicilian countryside.
One of the great sights in Baucina is the Feast of Santa Fortunata, which takes place every year on the second Sunday in September. A mock body adorned with flowers is taken from the church, Collegio di Maria and carried through the packed town streets with people kissing the display case, crossing and praying as Saint Fortunata passes by.
Malnati’s – Chicago
There couldn’t be a show about pizza without the old rivalry surfacing somewhere along the way, the age-old question “New York or Chicago?” “thin and crispy or deep dish?”
The pizza styles of Chicago and New York define the two cities and are a matter of civic pride, but it’s not as cut and dried as you’d think as Pinello gets to grips with Chicago’s pizza scene.
The Malnati family has been making pizza in the city since the 1940s and has nearly 60 restaurants. Pinello drops into the North State Street branch and whips up a classic deep-dish pie with the owner, Mark Malnati.
For location, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is the most accessible pizzeria Pinello visited while in Chicago, it’s a ten-minute walk from Oak Street Beach, a 15-minute walk to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and 25 minutes on the red line (train) to Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower).
Pinello spreads his wings in this episode and searches outside of the downtown area, and experiences thin and crispy square-cut pizza at Vito and Nick’s Pizzeria in Cook County. He also goes to Freddy’s Pizza which serves up authentic Italian dishes and food products.
Full episodes of The Pizza Show and Pizza Show: Extra Slice are available on Vice On Demand and YouTube.