Saturday, January 14, 2023

Destroyer of Pizzas

We've got a handful of really excellent pizza joints in the neighborhood: Bazbeaux, Diavola, Napolese. Byrne's Grilled Pizza over at 56th & Illinois does a pretty good thin crust. There are a few decent chains, too, but we rarely make use of those...well, I'll occasionally take the Red Line up to Broad Ripple Village and grab the lunch special at Lou Malnati's.

I'd always wondered why really excellent pies, like the ones from Bazbeaux or Diavola, were always so much better at the restaurant than delivered.

The culprit was not what I would have expected:
"Pizza delivery, it turns out, is based on a fundamental lie. The most iconic delivery food of all time is bad at surviving delivery, and the pizza box is to blame. “I don’t like putting any pizza in a box,” Andrew Bellucci, a legendary New York City pizza maker of Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria, told me. “That’s just it, really. The pizza degrades as soon as it goes inside,” turning into a swampy mess.

A pizza box has one job—keeping a pie warm and crispy during its trip from the shop to your house—and it can’t really do it. The fancier the pizza, the worse the results: A slab of overbaked Domino’s will probably be at least semi-close to whatever its version of perfect is by the time it reaches your door, but a pizza with fresh mozzarella cooked at upwards of 900 degrees? Forget it. Sliding a $40 pie into a pizza box is the packaging equivalent of parking a Lamborghini in a wooden shed before a hurricane.
Well that explains it. The crust is always not quite as crisp, the cheese is always a little congealed, the toppings a bit soggier, than compared to getting it served to the table fresh from the oven. All because it gets to spend 15-20 minutes in its own little steam room.

The lunch special at Byrne's: A big ol' slice, small salad or breadstick, and a soda . It's a treat coming home from the range. (Don't forget to de-lead first!)