Munchies: Best Pizza


-[SPEAKING ITALIAN] PASQUALINA PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] FRANK PINELLO: A little
bit of hot peppers. PASQUALINA PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] FRANK PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] PASQUALINA PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] FRANK PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] PASQUALINA PINELLO: Oh yeah. You like the best pizza
and best [INAUDIBLE]. [MUSIC PLAYING] 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 techniques. 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. Billy. Billy. 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. [INAUDIBLE]. 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. FRANK PINELLO: Classic. 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. Grazie [INAUDIBLE]. Amazing. 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. DIANE PINELLO: Frank? FRANK PINELLO: Yes. DIANE PINELLO: Hi. 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. Hi. How are you? Everybody sit down. Eat. 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. PASQUALINA PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] FRANK PINELLO: Yeah I know. He needs to eat, right, Nonna? He needs to eat. PASQUALINA PINELLO:
You like it? You love it? BILL: I love it. I love it. PASQUALINA PINELLO:
You eat it. I love you. I love you [INAUDIBLE]. FRANK PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] 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. STEVE PINELLO: 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? FRANK PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] Nonna, what are you, pounding? To my grandfather, Nonu,
we miss you. Get better. In the hospital. To Munchies– uno, due, tre. PINELLO FAMILY: Salud. [INTERPOSING VOICES] PASQUALINA PINELLO:
[SPEAKING ITALIAN] FRANK PINELLO: Cheers.

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