Alright, Pizzeria Bianco: I don’t like you and you don’t like me. But I want to love you. You are the pizzeria in downtown Phoenix that has been voted the best in America by USA Today, The New York Times, and damn well everyone else who’s been there, but I have been thwarted in my three separate attempts to visit you, twice by three-hour waits that, due to my usual whirlwind schedule in the Grand Canyon state, I have been unable to make.
Well, this time we’re going to make it happen. I am coming to Phoenix for Thanksgiving and instead of flying there from LaGuardia, located a breezy 10 minutes from my apartment, I am flying from Newark — Newark — in order to land in the early afternoon hours of Wednesday, November 21st. My father won’t be passing through the area until 8 or 9, and my brother won’t get off work until 5 (presumably), so I’ll be taking the Airport Shuttle downtown and getting in line. I was worried that you might not be open on the day before Thanksgiving until I found this blog entry, written from a Bianca-n on the day in question. So it would appear you’ll be open. And I will be there. Even if I must eat alone, I will be there, and I will eat a full damn pizza and it will, by all accounts, taste great, and we can end our silly little battle. Which has been pretty one-sided so far, if you ask me. I don’t care if you throw me another three-hour wait; I’ll read the dictionary if I have to. We’re making this happen. Are you ready?
[…] have previously written about how I planned the first leg of my Thanksgiving trip around a trip to Pizzeria Bianco. This […]
…I guess you don’t want to ask your other relative who will probably be in town for a ride? I get it. You take your shuttle and I will stand around laughing at you waiting for your pizza while I enjoy my Corn Pizza from La Grande Orange.
Nice job f’ing up Thanksgiving football again. These globe trotting holiday sojourns have simply got to stop.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I recently posted the below review on Yelp.
I have had Pizzeria Bianco on my ‘Must Go List’ ever since the day I first heard of it. My only obstacle? I live in upstate NY. So recently I threw logic to the wind and drove the 2500 miles for pizza.
For those thinking now that I must be a raving lunatic there were some underlining reasons. I suffer from a debilitating disease and decided to take my children on a cross country adventure while I still can. Also them experiencing first hand a individual who is passionate about his work can only be a inspiring and positive thing in their young years. Or at least I hope so.
I guess I could go on and state how unique and great the pizza was. Or how the salads were made with the best ingredients available.
Or how even the potato salad in the antipasto may be the best darn potato salad I ever tasted. I pretty much tried everything on the menu except one salad and found everything outstanding.
But I would prefer to address those who find it absurd to wait so long for pizza. I understand the puzzlement yet I believe they may tend to generalize it as just pizza. Which is not the case.
Where in this country can you find people waiting outside for two hours in the blazing heat seem so happy? Strangers laughing and talking with each other, telling stories of past meals at Biancos to first timers. The joyous atmosphere was one of the first things I noticed and it was contagious. Once in the dining room nothing changed, people taking a step back, slowing down and enjoying great food and company. That in my view is what great food is all about.
Producing this type of magical atmosphere in a restaurant is extremely rare and can’t be a easy task. But somehow Chris Bianco has and this may be the very reason why people are willing to wait. The truth is. It’s more then just pizza.
Edited to add. Those who claim it is just pizza. As a chef I can tell you the test of true talent comes from taking a minimal amount of ingredients and making them shine.And without pristine ingredients it is nearly impossible to make something great if one is taking the minimalist approach. Chris Bianco’s pizza’s are every bit as good as Thomas Keller’s Oysters and Pearls. And are harder to produce.