Newsday reports on a Travel Channel special that will air tonight 10 (Time Warner channel 88). Called "Pizza Wars," the show gives the rest of the nation a primer on New York's storied parlors (and mentions some of that stuff Chicago passes off as pie).
It's mostly a New York story, reaching back to the 1905 opening of Lombardi's on Spring Street as the first dedicated pizzeria, using its coal ovens to cook up the "peasant food of Italy" for Americans who considered it a treat of both gastronomy and convenience. Offshoots fueled by personal ambitions, personality conflicts and family connections would spring up in Coney Island (Totonno's, famed for its "pizza Nazi") and elsewhere in Brooklyn (Grimaldi's, testily competing with the Manhattan Patsy's at First and 18th). Last, but hardly least, "Pizza Wars" digs deep into "the most famous battle in New York pizza history," that of the Ray's name, revealing there is no Ray (only Ralph), and clarifying that the original Ray's Pizza isn't the Famous Original Ray's Pizza, but instead the Prince and Mott street pizzeria established by founder Ralph Como.
Eagle-eye readers will have spotted the mistake pertaining to Patsy's address. That's not a Slice typo. Maybe if Newday wasn't out on Long Island, they'd know that Patsy's is at 118th and First Ave. Oh well. At least they have their heart in the right place, noting that the show seems to have a New York bias:
These are all good clues that "Pizza Wars" seems to have left its heart not in San Francisco but New York City. While we hear a Chicago detractor disdain New York pizza as "cardboard with toppings," the last word in setting up the tiff goes to Lombardi's proprietor John Brescio: "Why eat triple the amount of dough to have a pizza?"