Pizza is the food of the gawds. Case in point: In an interview with Mexican TV station Televista, Pope Francis said that he did “not mind” being Pope, but he longed to eat pizza anonymously. Exact words: “The only thing I would like is to go out one day, without being recognized, and go to a pizzeria for a pizza.”
And so, back in March, Naples pizzeria owner Enzo Cacialli welcomed the Pontiff to his city by hopping a security gate and handing him a custom-made pie with “Il Papa” spelled out in dough. The Pope happily accepted the pizza.
Now “Papa Frankie” is making his way through the U.S., weighing in on issues including immigration, “traditional” marriage, climate change, and Cuba. Francis is scheduled to land at New York City’s JFK airport at 5pm today, and as is the case with most first-time tourists to NYC, he wants to try New York pizza. “He said that he wished to go out and to have a piece of pizza,” Francis’ good friend, Father Hernán Paredes, tells Fox News.
Pizzaiolos from the West Village to Greenpoint are hoping to coax the popular Pontiff into trying their creations. Many pizzeria owners have crafted special Vatican-themed pies in honor of the Pope visiting the city. “I’m hoping the Pope is interested in dining in with us and sampling his pie, since we no longer offer takeout,” says Brooklyn pizzeria owner Paulie Gee.
Let’s take a look at the Papal pies NYC pizzaiolos have created in Pope Francis’ honor.
Paulie Gee’s “Papa Frankie”
The dets: Pizzaiolo Paul Giannone tops his pope pizza with “mootz,” garlic, fresh basil, and grape tomatoes in the shape of a cross. The holy pie will be available through Friday, September 25 at Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint.
Bleecker Street Pizza’s “Pizza Pope”
The dets: According to the ABC 7, it took Bleecker Street Pizza chef Tony Salihaj five hours to craft the pope’s image out of mozzarella, ricotta, anchovies, tomatoes, peppers, and raspberry dressing. “We’re pizza men, we’re not artists,” the chef tells ABC.
Ribalta’s “Pizza for Pope Francis”
The dets: This Vatican-colored pie goes for $23 a pop, but $3 from each tomato, buffalo mozz, and ricotta pizza will go to charity.
Roberto Caporuscio’s “Pizza del Papa Francesco”
The dets: Topped with calamari, yellow zucchini, ground beef, grape tomatoes, and Urbani truffle cream, this pontiff pizza will be served as a special for $28 at both Kesté Pizza & Vino and Don Antonio by Starita through Sunday.
Pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio tells First We Feast, “Because Pope Francis’ family is from Piedmont, Italy—an area known for truffles—for the base, I used Urbani truffle cream mixed with imported Roman ricotta. I’ve often read that Pope Francis loves to cook stuffed calamari, so I used calamari filled with ground beef, because he is from Argentina, a country famous for it’s beef. And of course I had to incorporate the colors of Vatican City’s flag (yellow and red), so I finished the pizza with yellow zucchini and grape tomatoes. If Pope Francis misses home, I hope he’ll stop by for an authentic Neapolitan pizza, made especially for him.” (Photo: Kesté Pizza & Vino)
Pizza Loves Emily’s Argentine-Inflected Pie
The dets: The owner of Pizza Loves Emily in Clinton Hill, Matthew Hyland, tops his Pope-inspired pizza with red and yellow papal peppers, as well as skirt steak and chimichurri “because Pope Francis is Argentine.” The pizzaiolo promises, “If the pope visits, I will valet park the Pope Mobile for him.”