Pizza Obsessives: Craig Agranoff (aka 'Lapp') of 'Worst Pizza'
Name: Craig Agranoff
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Occupation: Web app developer
You're the main man behind Worst Pizza. I know the story behind the title, but why not school the rest of the folks reading this. Why would I want to come to your site to find the WORST pizza?!?
Although the name clearly implies that we are looking to expose the worst pizza out there, we are actually trying to help find the best. By weeding through the pizza that sucks we help ensure that our readers never have to eat a bad slice again. Originally I started the site due to the poor pizza down in Florida. After moving from Long Island, New York, I couldn't believe what passed for pizza here. So when forming the site, it was my intention to complain about the bad pizza I had. As the site progressed, and our SEO got better, it seemed more beneficial to go on a quest to find the best slice.
You also run a pizza-marketing company called Pizza Experts. What's that all about?
Many of the restaurants/pizza joints would ask me how they could generate more business. So I started Pizza Experts to help them with their viral marketing and social media campaigns. So far the places we work with have seen triple digit results from our campaigns. I am really happy and passionate with helping pizza owners think outside the pizza box!
I hate this question myself (I sort of feel the answer is obvious), so it's fun to subject someone else to it: Why pizza?
Ever since I was, like, 5, I remember complaining about some cheap pizza my dad brought home. There is just something about biting into a perfectly cooked, crisp slice with cheese that almost melts in your mouth. So, since I usually eat pizza more than anything else, I decided to focus on what I know. Although other food critics give reviews on hundreds of different culinary experiences, it seems our readers listen to us since that is all we care about and all we know.
What type of pizza do you prefer?
I personally love an upside down (red) Sicilian slice.
The Pizza Cognition Theory states that "the first slice of pizza a child sees and tastes ... becomes, for him, pizza." Do you remember your first slice? Where was it from, is the place still around, and if so, does it hold up? On that note, has your taste in pizza evolved over time?
I had to cheat and call my mom (since she knows everything) and she informed me that my first pizza was at a place she couldn't remember was either at Fresh Meadows Pizzeria in Fresh Meadows Queens (still there) or Washington Heights in Manhattan by the subway station but she forgot the name, maybe she doesn't know everything.
So you grew up in a pretty pizza-rich area.
I grew up on the Nassau/Suffolk county line in Long Island, New York. We had tons of pizza places around us. Every shopping center.
What's your favorite topping or topping combination?
I always prefer just a plain slice, but if forced I could have meatballs or garlic. No combination, though.
Where do you go for pizza in your area?
I tend to frequent a pretty amazing place by Florida standards in Boca Raton called Tucci's Pizza.
What's been your favorite pizzeria you've eaten at so far?
Johnny's Pizza in Mount Vernon has been my favorite slice
What's the ABSOLUTE WORST pizza you've had? ;)
The worst pizza I have had was at a place called The Globe in downtown Orlando, Florida. I actually had to throw it out, it was so terrible.
Do you make pizza at home? If so, how? What recipes do you use?
We (well, my lovely wife, since I am too lazy) happen to make pizza regularly, but many times we cheat and get the dough from a place like Tucci's or Nino's, who both make really good dough. We tend to use sliced mozzarella cheese instead of shredded, and we make a homemade sauce that is sweet and smooth. No peel from the tomatoes, and no chunks as well. We use cornmeal to keep the bottom crisp and a little sugar, too.
What's most important to you: crust, sauce, or cheese?
Crust. It's the foundation of the pie!
What one thing should NEVER go on a pizza?
Whatever The Globe put on theirs. Hahahah.
Weirdest pizza you've ever eaten?
I am actually a pizza purist so I don't really experiment with weird concoctions. Sorry.
What's the farthest you've traveled for pizza?
I have traveled all the way to Sweden to get pizza by air. By car, I have driven up to Jacksonville, Florida, recently.
Anything you'd like to get off your chest?
A pizza place doesn't go out of business because I say they are terrible. They tend to close because they do in fact suck. It is so easy for a pizza place to improve their slice. All it takes is a little more TLC and some better ingredients. Some neanderthal pizza owners would rather raise prices and skimp on quality instead of spending a bit more and having repeat customers. Never met such a bunch of business owners still in the dark ages, like I have with some pizza places.
Now: Who would *you* like to see interviewed next?
If you haven't gotten to the guy at Burgers, Dogs & Pizza, he is a really nice guy! His name is Peter.