Author Topic: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan  (Read 11514 times)

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Offline shuboyje

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2013, 12:08:16 AM »
For me the ideal would incorporate a few things.  First VPN would be thrown out the window.  My personal opinion is that VPN is more of a minimum requirement then a goal.  I would personally never market a product on the sole fact that I meet a minimum requirement.  

After that I would like to see REAL Neapolitan pizzerias educating their customers on their product.  I don't care how they do, just so people know not only what to expect, but why.  Serving the average american a sparsely topped wet floppy pizza with no warning is going to be a recipe for failure.  Explaining that it is supposed to be that way and why it historically developed that way before the pie is in front of them takes the shock away and gives them a better chance to experience the pizza for what it is, not what it isn't.  In that situation some will love it, some will hate it, and some will be indifferent.  Like pretty much any product.  In that situation the good will thrive, the poor will die, and the mediocre will scrape by, just like any product.

I'd like to pose a question.  What is the ideal outcome? A VPN, UVPN, AVPN, or WhateverPN place that "bends" the rules abit to satisfy the "local" palate; that stays in business for years? Or, a VPN, UVPN, AVPN, or WhateverPN place that is "true" to the style that tanks after 6 months?  Discuss.
-Jeff


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2013, 12:14:17 AM »
It has an important purpose, but it is not and never will be to educate the masses on NP.
So true.
 And as bakeshacks pointed observation of the American market,they don't give a damn how it's cooked and never will(WFO 800+ degrees ??? )....jus look at the Big 3 burger barns menu changes/flip flops. These folks want A.D.D. food choices that are different every time they pick up the phone or go out for a "family" meal.
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2013, 12:17:43 AM »
Also to defend the author, business owner etc. Most of them are in a position where they have to give the people what they want or not be in business. If you could change the demands of the customer the rest would follow IMO.
You're absolutely right Jeff! We all should form a consortium and get f'in PAID bro!
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline David Deas

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2013, 01:02:00 AM »
Also to defend the author, business owner etc. Most of them are in a position where they have to give the people what they want or not be in business. If you could change the demands of the customer the rest would follow IMO.

I actually think that properly executed Neapolitan pizza would win a blind taste test anywhere in the world, including here in America.  The problem is not, then, an ignorant audience.  But ignorant chefs who don't know how to properly execute.

I recently visited STG Trattoria here in Atlanta and they're one of the worst offenders.  They have all the proper ovens and equipment and everything.  They talk the talk (60 second bake time).  They do it all, right up until the final moment of truth.  Their pizza is not even close to being able to separate itself.  I think they'll maybe have to consider doing what Shuboyje suggested and have a server explain to the customer why he or she should like this pizza while they're gagging over it.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 01:15:49 AM by David Deas »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2013, 01:18:38 AM »
I actually think that properly executed Neapolitan pizza would win a blind taste test anywhere in the world, including here in America.  The problem is not, then, an ignorant audience.  But ignorant chefs who don't know how to properly execute.

I recently visited STG Trattoria here in Atlanta and they're one of the worst offenders.  They have all the proper ovens and equipment and everything.  They talk the talk (60 second bake time).  They do it all right up until the moment of truth.  Their pizza is not even close to being able to sell itself.  They'll maybe have to consider doing what Shuboyje suggests and have a server explain to the customer why they should like this pizza while they're gagging over it.
Sorry David...I feel you are backward again. :)
The money minded "chefs" must cater to the "ignorant" clientele....those patrons ain't gonna listen to Matradee Shuboyie, no matter what!  ;D
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Offline shuboyje

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2013, 01:49:58 AM »
I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home. 
-Jeff

Offline bakeshack

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2013, 02:04:37 AM »
I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home.  

Very well said!  This is assuming that they make a respectable NP pizza.  Unfortunately, a lot of the newer NP pizzeria owners think that they are the chosen few and they approach this topic with a certain elitist attitude, which I find ironic because pizza napoletana is the food for the masses in Italy and everyone can eat it at any given day because it is cheap and convenient.  
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 02:07:21 AM by bakeshack »

enter8

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2013, 04:28:23 AM »
Re: education
A very similar situation exists for "specialist" Coffee places here in some parts of the UK.  Customers come in expecting a certain product/service which puts the barista in a difficult place between meeting the customers requests and educating them about the actual product they offer.

In the end, Neapolitan pizzerias will never become the "mainstream" any more than Stumptown will outsell Starbucks. This means there will always be customers with misinformed expectations. This is just the way things are. I don't think it's any true reflection on the "state of Neapolitan pizza" which is surely healthier today in the US than it has ever been at any point in its history?


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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2013, 08:35:04 AM »
I agree with you to a very limited extent on the Cane Rossos out there, however, I think you are overly optimistic on the influence of this forum. Of the 20,000 or so members, only about 10% have more than 5 posts - let's say those are the folks with meaningful interest. I think that's generous. For each interested member, perhaps there are 4 serious human guests. About 10% of the posts here are in the NP forum. Let's use that as a proxy for interest in NP. If each member and guest interested in NP then told 10 people meaningful information about NP, and they each told 10 more people with zero overlap at any level along the way, then 0.03% of the country might have been influenced by this forum with respect to NP. That's 3 people out of every 10,000, and my guess is that's a big overestimate. I bet it's less than 1/10 of that. I'm not trying to diminish this forum. It has an important purpose, but it is not and never will be to educate the masses on NP.

Craig, no offense, but your numbers are a bit arbitrary. I've seen lurker/member numbers thrown around many times on quite a few forums and while they can be greatly exaggerated (On one forum, I read a post that referenced 1,000 lurkers to every member) they can be underestimated as well.

If you look at the guest numbers on the front page, it's usually around 8-10 guests to each member.

But that's not really the point that I'm making.  Our impact on the public is not that direct.  When Cook's Illustrated wrote their most recent pizza recipe, where did they come? They came here.  There's enough information gathered here that when people write articles, this is where google takes them.  Haven't you told me stories about meeting people that have never heard of the forum, that know about your story?  Before I started recommending soapstone, the distributor that I went to was overflowing with remnants. 8 months after I started recommending it, they were just about empty.  On multiple occasions I've spoken to people who've gone shopping for steel in various parts of the country and their steel people have told them "we've been getting a LOT of people coming in to get steel for baking pizza on."  This is not a coincidence.  When we flap our wings, the effect ripples.

If there was a bigger repository for pizza information on the internet, I'd be there.  There isn't.  And this isn't some closely guarded secret. Anyone with basic google skills knows that we're it.  The obsessives are gravitating here.  And it's the obsessives that are the most amped about pizza, the most likely to talk about it with their friends, the most likely, when asked, to tell the truth about Neapolitan pizza. We don't have Slice's page views, but we make up for that in breadth of knowledge.  And, like I said, Slice has done a boatload for the Neapolitan cause.  Every photo they post of Neapolitan pizza, the cause wins a little.

It's not like, one day, everyone is ignorant about Neapolitan pizza and the next, they're all enlightened.  It's a painfully slow progression.  But it is a progression. Neapolitan pizza, to John Q American, no pun intended, is new, is novel.  NY style falsely repackaged as Neo is not. It's old and it's stale. You can just picture the dust and the grime on the walls.  The younger generation is too obsessed with novelty, authenticity and world cultures not to, if given the chance, take Neapolitan pizza seriously.  For those of us that aren't Italian, this generation is not like our parents, who might have mistakenly assumed elbow pasta and tomato soup was Italian. I mean, seriously, have you ever read a Betty Crocker or a James Beard cookbook?  It was a different universe 30 years ago.  And it will be a different universe 30 years from now. And part of that journey is a better understanding of world cuisine.  We have a better understanding than most of our parents, and our children will  possess far more details relating to world cuisine than us. And some of those details will be pizza related.

The world isn't really melting any more.  Instead of merging into a monoculture like a lot of people did that passed through Ellis Island, we're preserving cultures and treasuring them- and I'm ecstatic about that.  If only we could have started developing this world view centuries ago.


Offline jeff v

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2013, 09:54:59 AM »
I actually think that properly executed Neapolitan pizza would win a blind taste test anywhere in the world, including here in America.  The problem is not, then, an ignorant audience.  But ignorant chefs who don't know how to properly execute.

I recently visited STG Trattoria here in Atlanta and they're one of the worst offenders.  They have all the proper ovens and equipment and everything.  They talk the talk (60 second bake time).  They do it all, right up until the final moment of truth.  Their pizza is not even close to being able to separate itself.  I think they'll maybe have to consider doing what Shuboyje suggested and have a server explain to the customer why he or she should like this pizza while they're gagging over it.

I'll say again-if customers demand better they will change or close. Using your example I skimmed the Yelp reviews for STG http://www.yelp.com/biz/stg-trattoria-atlanta . Most of the reviews were solid or very good for the pizza with lots of the lower ratings attributed towards noise and service. I have no idea if its good or bad, but I think it proves my point.
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2013, 12:02:23 PM »
I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.

enter8

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2013, 12:08:02 PM »
I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.

Totale tried to make a go of it but didn't last.

Online TXCraig1

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2013, 12:08:49 PM »
I wonder if a place like Da Michele would fly in the states. Just a few types pies well crafted and not overpriced....casual eats. In dollars, Da Michele is about half the price of any other "neapolitan" pizzeria here in the states.

How much is a Margherita at DM?

If someone asked me what I thought the average price for a Margherita is at a decent NP place here is the States, off the top of my head, I'd say $12-13.
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Offline Serpentelli

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2013, 12:10:08 PM »
I am absolutely starving and I would eat 99% of any of that food shown in the STG yelp pics. Its surprising to hear that a pie with such a high degree of visual appeal (leoparding, charring, high quality ingredients) could taste as bad as David says it does.

Anyway, I am STARVING, if anyone cares.
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enter8

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2013, 12:10:30 PM »
How much is a Margherita at DM?

If someone asked me what I thought the average price for a Margherita is at a decent NP place here is the States, off the top of my head, I'd say $12-13.

About or less than 5 euro I think. It's about the same for Franco Manca in London.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2013, 12:14:58 PM »
No more than 7 dollars. How they keep it at that price is beyond me....how they maintain the quality and do so is even more impressive.

How much is a Margherita at DM?

If someone asked me what I thought the average price for a Margherita is at a decent NP place here is the States, off the top of my head, I'd say $12-13.

Offline bakeshack

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2013, 12:46:47 PM »
No more than 7 dollars. How they keep it at that price is beyond me....how they maintain the quality and do so is even more impressive.


I believe their proximity to the ingredients and the pricing dictated by the market in Naples is what's driving their prices much lower than the US.  They opened in Japan and they sell their pies for 1,450 yen or about $16.  The doppio mozzarella is $18. 


Offline La Sera

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2013, 07:10:05 PM »
It does cost that in Tokyo, but the cost of living makes it feel much less than the exchange rate amount. I guess the old Big Mac analogy works here: that cost in Tokyo is equal to the cost of two medium Big Mac sets in Tokyo.

Another comparison is that it's 2/3rds the price of a 10" pizza delivered by any national chain.

So, it's pretty cheap.

Offline La Sera

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2013, 08:36:37 PM »
As someone in the business of trying to sell high quality pizza against large chain store "food" resembling something almost pizza-like, I can tell you that it's a hard road.

Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to sell Ferrari's and Armani suits to farmers. If you grew up eating Pizza Hut or Domino's, you think that Pizza Hut is pizza.

It's a small niche of people who understand and appreciate Neapolitan pizza outside of Italy.

I bet I could give away pizza and 90% of people would still pay an outrageous amount for the crap shoveled on loaf bread with ketchup on it that passes for pizza here. I wouldn't put a dent in their market share.

The power the national brands with TV advertising have over the masses is phenomenal.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2013, 08:44:55 PM »
Neapolitan pizza made with in house mozzarella and local tomatoes would have minimal cost no matter where you made it, your fuel and flour would be the largest expense.  To me, the spirit of Neapolitan pizza is not using imported Italian ingredients that counts, it is the freshness and localness of the ingredients used, as well as the simplicity.

Here in Texas, that is not going to mean week old buffalo cheese that has 10,000 airline miles and canned tomatoes, it will be fresh mozzarella pulled daily, local Rockwell tomatoes prepared well, and a hot fire. 

Offline David Deas

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #45 on: January 22, 2013, 10:17:09 PM »
Neapolitan pizza made with in house mozzarella and local tomatoes would have minimal cost no matter where you made it, your fuel and flour would be the largest expense.  To me, the spirit of Neapolitan pizza is not using imported Italian ingredients that counts, it is the freshness and localness of the ingredients used, as well as the simplicity.

Excellent point.  I like it.

Offline David Deas

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2013, 10:56:14 PM »
I'm not suggesting anyone tell the customers "This is what it's supposed to be and you should like it like this".  I'm suggesting explaining to the customers what will be on their plate and why it is that way before it get's to them.  Take away the shock.

Waitress: "Have you been here before?"
Customer: "No."
Waitress: " Let me tell you a bit about our pizza then.  Our pizza is traditional Neapolitan Pizza.  It's cooked hot and fast in a wood burning oven, and because of that it might be a bit different then you are used to even from other pizzerias advertising Neapolitan pizza.  It's going to be very thin, soft, pliable, lightly topped and maybe a bit wetter then you are used to.  Traditionally it's made this way on purpose for lots of reasons from being easy to fold for mobile eating to ease of digestibility.  We make it that way because we think it tastes great, hopefully you do too."

All of this is in the goal of hoping the pizza get's a fair chance.  Put a 60 second pizza in front of somebody expecting a hot and ready and their mind will me made up before they ever taste it.  I'm also not pulling this out of thin air.  This is very similar to how I introduce people to Neapolitan pizza in my own home. 

Nice post.


Offline David Deas

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2013, 11:02:38 PM »
I am absolutely starving and I would eat 99% of any of that food shown in the STG yelp pics. Its surprising to hear that a pie with such a high degree of visual appeal (leoparding, charring, high quality ingredients) could taste as bad as David says it does.

Anyway, I am STARVING, if anyone cares.

That place is not strictly a pizzeria.  They do a lot of other foods.  Generally speaking, don't order pizza from a place that isn't strictly a pizzeria.  That goes for STG just as much as it does for the Olive Garden.

There *was* once an exception; Double Zero Napoletana when they first opened here in Atlanta.

Offline gabaghool

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #48 on: August 03, 2013, 07:27:43 PM »
I live in Brazil so its hard to compare to Neapolitan in the US, but i was in Naples in May/June 2012 for 7 days, i had pizza in 5 or 6 places and they all where different, but basically i noticed the difference in dough hydration and sauce quantity, these 2 differences made "all the difference" because it made the dough wetter or dryer and crispier, but they all used flour+water+salt+yeast dough and canned tomatoes.
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is there a lesson here??     

Offline peytonssmith

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Re: An observation: Neo-politan vs Neapolitan
« Reply #49 on: August 29, 2013, 05:51:05 PM »
In Durham,NC. people go ga-ga over "NP" pizza cooked in a 600 degree WFO oven. Makes me  ::)....used to make me wanna smack somebody but I am recently the kinder more....Bob.  :o

Chicago Bob, you talking about Pizzeria Toro????