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App Review: Pie Nearby for iPhone
Pie Nearby is an app for the iPhone that launched earlier this month. Its goal is to help you find slices and pies near you, provided you're in New York City. It's $1.99 in the App Store. I've been putting it through its paces since downloading it last week. I like what I see so far. I'd recommend it—with some caveats.
The app covers New York City only with a strong focus on Manhattan and Brooklyn but only sparse coverage of Queens (5 pizzerias in the database) and Staten Island (4 pizzerias). There's no Bronx presence whatsoever. I get that. It's not great, but I get it. After all, Slice itself has traditionally been weak in Bronx coverage. But it would have been nice if the app's reviewer, Carlo M. Caponi, would have launched with at least a handful of Bronx spots.
Apart from the paucity of outer-borough intel, I like this app. It's pretty slick, creditable, easy to use, and is fast, with no crashes or hang-ups that I've noticed in the four days I've played with it.
The pizza-eating is the work of one man, Mr. Caponi, whom the about/bio page paints as a pretty passionate pizza guy. The app seems to have grown out of Mr. Caponi's tabulation of NYC pizzerias, a master ranking he's been compiling since moving here from Ohio. As such, Pie Nearby seems more like a labor of love than a lame "get-rich via app" scheme. I can dig that. After all, that's how Slice started. I can relate.
The app is basically a compilation of capsule reviews searchable by GPS geolocation or filterable by borough, neighborhood, tier, and/or price. The search interface is simple enough:
As a Queens resident, I naturally filtered down to my home borough, only to find the following five pizzerias listed (and Tagliare doesn't really count, since you have to be flying in or out of LaGuardia's Terminal D to eat there):
Ah! Rizzo's is one of my locals. Let's see what Mr. Caponi has to say about it:
I'd mostly agree with that, though I don't know if it ranks as high on my own Queens pizza list. But he gets the description right. And the venue screen has everything you could expect: map/address, ranking, phone, website.
The app assigns pizzerias to different tiers (there are 5 tiers, Tier 1 being best, of course) and it also ranks them against every pizzeria in the database. Here is a peek at the rankings when no filters are applied:
If you're familiar enough with NYC pizza to square those with your own pizza worldview, you can decide whether to pay the $1.99 for the app. I think it's close enough to mine that I trust what Mr. Caponi has to say about some of the places I haven't been to. And if you don't necessarily agree with his ranking, it's always useful as a reminder of pizzerias nearby. (When I fired it up on Friday, it reminded me that Sacco's was only a couple blocks away and thereby nudged me to pay a long-overdue revisit.)
And if you're a complete noob to NYC pizza, it's a great app to guide you.
And in the Lingo section Mr. Caponi's Tiers are explained:
As I said, I'm impressed with Pie Nearby, though I do wish it had more content in the boroughs other than Manhattan. Jeff Orlick's very fine Real Pizza of New York app beats it in that respect and is also highly creditable. I assume Mr. Caponi will be adding to his guide as he eats his way through the city. To my mind, it's worth the price. Download it here »
Note to Android users: We've got a question in with Pie Nearby on whether there's a version coming to your phones. We'll update this post if and when we get word.