Best Pizza: Munchies

Uploaded by vice on 11.01.2013




FRANK PINELLO: A little bit of hot peppers.

You like the best pizza and best [INAUDIBLE].


FRANK PINELLO: My name is Frank Pinello, and my place is
Best Pizza.
Best Pizza's pretty much just a by the slice pizzeria.
Very much a New York-style place where you could walk in,
grab a slice of pizza, grab something to drink, and be out
the door in five minutes if that's what you want.
We're lucky enough to have a 100-year-old wood fire oven,
so we cook the big 20-inch pies in about four minutes.

Pizza time.
I'm just going to go ahead and make you a white pizza.
It's like one of our signature pies over here.
When we first started making it, we were playing around
with like some arugula and stuff like that on it, and
then we decided that the white pie is about the ricotta
cheese, so let's not do anything too crazy.
Let's let the ricotta cheese kind of be the star the show.
And we do these caramelized onions that we let sit on the
raw dough and caramelize for a long time.
It's how that sweetness that people always keep talking
about coming in.

Pizza came from Napoli.
And when all those southern Italian immigrants started
coming over to New York, everybody started opening up
these small pizzerias, and it kept a lot of those values of
using really fresh ingredients and having really great
And as time went on, their sons took it over or they sold
the pizzerias, and I think people started realizing, oh,
you know we could just use shitty pepperoni and shitty
mozzarella cheese and make a whole lot more money.
We started realizing, man, this pizza isn't as good as it
used to be.
So when we finally got in here, it was important to me
to try to preserve some of those old techniques and those
ideas of using the best stuff that you possibly can and hope
that we'll make it up.

I know a lot of people love pizza across the world-- you
know what I I mean-- across the country, but I'm not so
sure that anyone has done it better than Brooklyn--
like Napoli, like anywhere.
Pizza and Brooklyn go hand in hand.
I thought it would only be right to bring you to
Bensonhurst, of course.
My partner in crime is Bill.
Bill is a delivery guy here, but we spend a lot of time
together out at the bars, so I figured I'd bring
Bill along as well.
I've worked in pizzerias my entire life.
Delivery is a huge part of pizza places, and the second I
met Bill, I knew it was a match made in heaven.
BILL: I've been a bike messenger since 1982.
FRANK PINELLO: I've seen Bill take eight pies in a bag, and
to me, like that's mind blowing.
This guy rides a fixed gear bike with no brakes on it.
BILL: I have a break.
FRANK PINELLO: And sometimes it'll be like torrential
downpour, and he'll be fucking soaked to the bone, but he
gets the job done, man.
But we get the job done.
I think it was Brandon's from the Bergess's to get you a
cape, and I was like, fuck yes.
BILL: I told him I would totally rock the cape.
FRANK PINELLO: For me, the home base for pizza--
18th avenue in Bensonhurst is a old Sicilian neighborhood,
and they got some great pizzerias.

J&V Pizza is a great by the slice pizzeria that's on the
corner of 64th Street and 18th Avenue.
Like the square slice at J&V is what their known for.
As a kid, I used to always go there and scrape up some
change, grab a square slice from J&V and an Italian ice,
and my afternoon was made.
What's up, Pop?
Can I get four squares please?
Thank you, Papa.
Bill, sit down.
Let's eat.

A proper square Sicilian slice is a nice thick, fluffy slice,
a crusty bottom, a nice fluffy middle, a saucy,
cheesy top to it.
So it's like three different components.
And when you get that ratio right, that's a
good Sicilian slice.
BILL: Crispity crunchy on the bottom.
Nice and fluffy in the middle.

FRANK PINELLO: The cheese is really good.
You can tell, like, this is one of those places that just
kept the quality up throughout the years,
you know what I mean.
You could look around and see how many pizza boxes they
have, and you know that these guys are doing really good
business and that they're a staple in the neighborhood.

From J&V, we want to DaVinci's.
Thank you, man.
Take care, buddy.
And that was sort of like always the toss up.
Like when we had a couple bucks in our pocket or my
grandmother maybe didn't feel like cooking and wanted to
order some pizzas, it was always like, all right, where
are we going, J&V or DaVinci's?
Here we are.
The world famous DaVinci's Pizzeria.

Every classic pizzeria offers their version of a square and
their version of a round, and J&V for me was the square
size, DaVinci's was the round.

And as you can see, these guys do a nice job.
Beautiful crust, nice and thick.
Let's give it a shot.

ANGELO GNERRE: It's always been the same.
The recipe hasn't changed.
I just try to perfect it.
Maybe I add a little of this, a little of that.
I use different types of flour to give it that color, that
consistency, that flavor, that crunchiness.
These guys know how to do it right.

So we were feeling pretty full after DaVinci's--
Thank you so much, man.
--and it was only right to bring you guys to Villabate.
It's just like Sicily rolled up into a ball and like thrown
in like a store front.

They make great espresso, like really, really tasty, and the
flavor of the coffee when it was in your mouth.
When I worked for a chef that I really loved, what I would
do is come here and by them a dozen cannolis and bring it to
them as a treat.
And the second they tasted it, they knew that it was like the
primo stuff.
Here you go--
Sicilian-style cannoli.
This place does it the best.

Thank you very much.

Come on, Bill.
BILL: --being on a TV show right now.
It's called "Munchies."
FRANK PINELLO: I lived in Brooklyn till I was about 10
years old, and then my family moved out to Long Island.
On the weekends, you would always sort of drive back to
Brooklyn to spend the weekend with my grandmother.
And as soon as you would kind of like approach the steps,
you could like smell the aroma of what my grandmother was
been cooking for like the last three or four hours.
Oh yeah.
My grandmother would buzz us in and the door would open,
walk down the long hallway, and that aroma starts getting
a little bit more strong.
Shower us with hugs and kisses and then walk right through
the little doorway, and bam-- the table would just be
stocked with food.
BILL: Oh wow.
FRANK PINELLO: You got some food?
DIANE PINELLO: Well, it's 8 o'clock and you can't keep a
room full of Italians--
FRANK PINELLO: Oh, what's up, Thomas?
What's going on with everybody?
I had never imagined I would take that walk with Bill.
How are you?

Everybody sit down.

BILL: Oh sweet.
Thank you very much.
FRANK PINELLO: We talked a lot about pizza today.
This is the style of pizza that I grew up eating--
country-style grandma's pizza.
My grandmother stuffed this one with some tomatoes, some
caramelized onions, possibly some anchovies in there--
I haven't tasted it yet, so I'm not sure.
But this is the way we do it.
Full table full of food, and eat until we're stuffed.

My grandmother put out a lot of dishes.
I know she knew that camera was coming, but I'll be honest
with you, it's always like that.

Classic Sicilian pasta right here.
Put a little bit of bread crumbs as a topping.
A lot of people in Sicily couldn't afford cheese as a
topping, so you see bread crumb pretty often on top of
pasta, which it's starch on starch but like the texture
combination goes really, really well.

He needs to eat, right, Nonna?
He needs to eat.
You love it?
BILL: I love it.
I love it.
I love you.
I love you [INAUDIBLE].

STEVE PINELLO: He loved to eat, and he was like around
the kitchen when my wife, Diane, was cooking.
He would actually advise us as to what spice to use
every now and then.
He would kind of put his own two cents into it as to say.
FRANK PINELLO: My family was never rich by any means, you
know what I mean.
We always grew up in apartments in Brooklyn, but
the one thing that we did right was eat.
The commitment to food that I think Sicilian people have in
general, it's crazy.
It's amazing, and I feel lucky that I was born into it.
BILL: Woohoo.
The Pinellos rock.
All right.
Thanks again you all.
It's great to see you.
STEVE PINELLO: Bill, be careful, brother.
BILL: All right.
Keep those wheels oiled.

FRANK PINELLO: After we left grandma's house, we came back
to Best Pizza.

And we had some friends waiting for us here, and we
did a meatball pizza, which is starting to become a popular
pie here, especially towards the end of the night when
people come in hammered from the bar.

We get our meat from Pat Lafrieda.
It's 50% short rib, 50% brisket.
All that fat is flavor, so we want to make sure that we get
all that nice, beautiful, clear fat mixed in with those
meatballs and back on top of the pizza.
Pizza is like the perfect accompaniment for drinking.
You come into a pizzeria, you have a few beers, some pizza.
You get yourself a nice base before you go out to the bar
and usually get hungry at the end of the night.
If you're done partying with your buds, coming back and
having a nice fresh pie out of the oven is to me-- it's like
you can't go wrong.
It's beautiful.
-Who needs a napkin?

Nonna, what are you, pounding?
To my grandfather, Nonu, we miss you.
Get better.
In the hospital.
To Munchies--
uno, due, tre.