Stand aside, Mineo's and Aiello's: Two Bloomfield-based upstarts have established a new pizza feud.
On July 25, the Strip District's Bar Marco will host a "pizza dojo" contest between Pizza Boat — a food truck with its own wood-fired oven — and a work-in-progress bakery, Bread and Salt.
Pizza Boat co-owner Jeff Ryan says the dojo was originally intended as a "tongue-in-cheek competition" to promote collaboration between pizza-makers. But things got real, he says, when Bread and Salt owner Rick Easton "started talking shit" on Pizza Boat's approach.
"I just wanted to teach them some things," maintains Easton, who hopes to open his Pearl Street bakery by summer's end.
Easton and Pizza Boat first went head-to-head at Bar Marco back in March. But both sides declared victory, prompting the rematch. The contest will increase visibility for both outfits, no matter what the outcome. And it's unclear how serious the rivalry is.
Easton is "a good guy, but he's really annoying," Ryan says.
"They're nice guys, but I do think they're assclowns," counters Easton.
"Feuds can be real," he adds. And this is a fight not just between pizza-makers, but between pizza philosophies.
While Pizza Boat works in a contemporary vein — its "Slam Pig," for example, features spinach, mushrooms, pork sausage and taleggio cheese — Easton calls himself "a pizza fundamentalist."
"If you want to call your pizza ‘Monkey-Humper' or whatever, fine," he says. "But to me, good pizza is all about the dough." Accordingly, he focuses on traditional preparations like pizza margherita.
Ryan allows that while Easton's pizza "tasted all right," it "was kind of boring."
"It's new school versus old school," says Bar Marco co-owner Bobby Fry. "And they were all here the other night, making fun of each other's starters."
This month's event should start around 6 p.m., in Bar Marco's soon-to-be-completed beer garden. Bragging rights will be determined by sales and customer feedback, but as yet, there's no formal judging process.
That, says Ryan, "leaves things open for more shit-talking in the future."