Our Experience at the 1st Annual New York Pizza Festival

pizza festivalOver Columbus Day Weekend (October 6 & 7), the 1st Annual New York Pizza Festival took place on Crescent Avenue in the Bronx.

The festival was a two- day event featuring pizza makers from the US and Italy. Some I had heard of while others were new to me.

Considering how much we love pizza, the Michael W Travels family had to attend the event.

We headed to the Bronx for Day 2 on Sunday, October 7 not exactly knowing what to expect. Food festivals can be a lot of fun but can also feature long lines, disorganization and high prices.

The event was free to attend but if you wanted to get some pizza, you’d need to purchase a tickets.We purchased one “6 Slices” card for $35 ($5.83 per slice). No, I wouldn’t call this cheap but when you consider what it takes to organize the event, I guess you can’t expect $2-3 pizza. Everyone at the event was also given unlimited soft drinks and Italian mineral water.

As you get your pizza, the booth stamps your card. In the end, attending the event was a bargain. Let me explain…

At least three people came up to us, saying they couldn’t finish their card, giving us an additional dozen slices or so. We also got a few slices from one of the sponsors who had a VIP pass which also offered shorter lines. Score!

Our initial plan was to try pizza from places we’ve never tried before. I also asked Scott Wiener of Scott’s Pizza Tours which booths he recommended since he attended the first day. (He’s also an expert on all things pizza!)

Some highlights of the 1st annual New York Pizza Festival:
Our first slice was the Five Day Rise Sicilian Pizza from Las Vegas’s Metro Pizza. There was a long line but it moved relatively fast.

The tasty pepperoni on top was delicious and the crust was light and airy. I would’ve definitely liked another had we known we’d be given so many extra tickets!

This would be one of our two favorites of the event! (Great rec. from Scott.)Before digging in, I chatted with one of the founders of Metro Pizza, John Arena. He was very friendly and thankful as we walked by. He then shared a pro- tip before digging in. He told me to try the crust first. After having the first bite, I understood why.While wandering around, we came across the stand for Williamsburg’s Best Pizza, one of our favs in NYC.

The line was huge and I’ve been to Best many times so I passed on getting a slice. However, I did stop for a chat with owner of Best and host of Viceland’s The Pizza Show, Frank Pinello. Another great recommendation from Scott was Marco’s Coal Fired from Denver, Colorado.

They offered a very interesting Cacio E Pepe slice. This was our other favorite and IMO the most interesting slice offered at the event.

The Cacio E Pepe slice was topped with Bechamel, Fresh Mozzarella, Caciocavallo, Pecorino Romano, Porchetta, Black Pepper & Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
I’ve had Cacio E Pepe pizza before but I don’t recall there being meat on top. I also found them to be overly peppery. This slice from Marco’s was really creamy due to the variety of cheeses. What Kim and I most loved about the slice was that the pepper was noticeable but not over-powering. I’d love to have this slice again!

We tried a bunch of the booths from Italy. Most of them were good but none of them blew us away. The best thing we saw from the Italian shops was this pizza below.Pizzeria Porzio had the most creative pizza on display but it wasn’t available to taste.

Look who we ran into…
While wandering around, I heard my name called out. I looked up and was surprised to see Scott at the festival since he mentioned that he was running his Pizza Bus Tour that day.

It turned out that the tour made a stop at the festival- great idea & great catching up!

We had so many tickets to redeem thanks to the generosity of others.

We bought a cheap pack of tin foil and figured we’d get slices (to wrap up) to bring home since we were getting very full.This led us to the stand for Brooklyn Pizza Crew. They’re another fav of ours. Lucas said one of the best slices he ever had was served at their other shop Williamsburg Pizza (during a visit back in June).

While waiting for the pizza to come out of the oven, I chatted a bit with owner, Nino Coniglio. Nino has won many awards and can do many tricks, tossing and spinning pizza doughs. He used to own a pizzeria close to home, so I’ve known about his ‘za for years.
BPC was being very generous, serving full slices. We ordered two Brooklyn (regular) slices and two white slices to take home.

Lucas asked to have one of the plain slices and went on to devour most of it pretty fast. Here’s a look at their tasty white slice.

Overall, the New York Pizza Festival was a really fun and tasty, well run event. We ate lots of tasty pizza, ran into some familiar faces and look forward to returning next year!

Find out more about the New York Pizza Festival here.

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