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Author Topic: New origins of pizza in New York  (Read 3622 times)

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Offline Jon in Albany

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New origins of pizza in New York
« on: February 05, 2019, 11:37:20 PM »
A forgotten generation of late 19th century Italian pizza makers in America has been discovered, changing our understanding of how pizza arrived in the United States....

https://uspizzamuseum.com/2019/02/05/lost-forefathers-of-pizza-in-america-discovered/

Saw this in Adam Kuban's Twitter.




Offline foreplease

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 07:46:03 AM »
Wow! Cool find.
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Offline Pazzo

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 08:09:03 AM »
That was a great way to start my morning. Thanks for sharing. Now I need to figure out how I'm going to tell my wife we're heading to Chicago in a couple weeks.
"I would never win an award for not loving pizza!" -Dwayne Johnson

Offline foreplease

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 08:32:41 AM »
This is somewhat related and fun to use if you have people that came through Ellis Island. I spent quite a bit of time researching grandparents a few years ago. There are many ways to search including ship name, departure city, departure/arrival date, passenger name, sounds-like-name. Unfortunately, some of our ansestors were given new easier to pronounce names upon arrival, making searches difficult.


How hard they must have worked and how much they endured to provide for future generations.


https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger
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Offline Pazzo

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 10:08:17 AM »
Thanks for the link Foreplease. I spent a good amount of time researching my family from Italy and I don't think I ever used that site. I was however able to track family info dating back to the 1600's through the Catholic Parish they were born in. Most likely, you can find church records from where your family is from throughout a good part of Europe.
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Offline wb54885

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 11:29:17 AM »
This is exciting news! On the "Evolution of the NY Style" thread, Peter linked to a bunch of contributions from Evelyne Slomon, and there was one thread where she and Marco (pizzanapoletana) got into a debate over whether or not Gennaro Lombardi could have been a pizza maker in Naples before he came to America, which bore on the degree to which NY pizza carried over its lineage from Naples or was an invention Lombardi himself worked up based on some basic knowledge of non-pizza-specific training in the world of baking.

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3873.0

I found it to be a fascinating exchange, and this newly uncovered chapter in the story should help to make greater sense of the timelines and the "pedigree" of the style, based on what else we find out from the new research about Filippo Milone, where HE came from, and the reasons behind his apparent push to establish pizzerias in NYC.

Reeeeally looking forward to seeing how this ripples through the research community. Right now, google searches for Filippo Milone and "pizza" come up pretty much exclusively with references to this breaking news. If the new discoveries hold up, a year from now you can expect that search to produce a slew of definitive statements on the origins of NY pizza that are virtually 100% unknown as of today. What a time to be alive.

From Jason Kottke (https://kottke.org/19/02/the-forgotten-father-of-pizza-in-the-usa):

"As Pete Wells writes:

This is as if some other dude we’ve never heard of wrote both the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers and then handed them over to Adams Franklin Jefferson Madison Hamilton etc.

Regas is documenting his research here on an eventual book about all of this, due out sometime later this year. Boy oh boy, they’re gonna have to reprint a lot of NYC pizzeria menus with incorrect origin stories in them…"
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 12:55:29 PM by wb54885 »
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Offline wb54885

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 01:21:26 PM »
Scott Wiener has just tweeted that Peter Regas, the discoverer of this new information, will be in attendance tomorrow night in NYC at an event where Scott was already planning on discussing his own research methods with respect to pizza and the NYC department of records.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scott-wiener-presents-uncovering-nycs-pizza-past-tickets-53968820194

Anyone here already have a ticket? It's sold out. I bet there will be huge demand to hear a preview of Peter Regas's new research. This would be the first chance the public would have at hearing what he's been able to put together. I bet Scott himself is dying to hear the revelations.
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 06:42:24 PM »
It is great that a documented research have proved my point, 13 years later...

Just FYI, there is no mention of any Milone or Santillo operating pizzeria in Naples from 1809 onwards, however from that advert, this Milone sounds like he knew very well the background of the original Pizzeria Port’Alba.

Offline wb54885

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 03:41:36 PM »
It feels premature to update the "Evolution of the NY Style" thread until Peter Regas publishes his full book later this year and we all have access to the detailed story he's been putting together, but this Gothamist article written the day after Scott Wiener's presentation has enough to point us in a few significant directions:

http://gothamist.com/2019/02/08/nyc_pizza_history_lombardis.php

The article doesn't make entirely clear whether Peter and Scott have come to exactly the same conclusions just yet, or whether precise dates of business ownership can be nailed down at all, but there are suggestions from Scott that Lombardi didn't own the business until 1908 at the earliest, and from Peter that Lombardi owned it both before and after another individual, Francesco D'Errico. Then, just to add to the confusion, we have a newspaper ad from March, 1905 listing Giovanni Santillo as the proprietor of the pizzeria at 53 and 1/2 Spring St., and still we have this grandfather figure of Filippo Milone looming over the entire situation. Peter says of Milone that it appears he was of an older generation, and was a seasoned pizza maker from Naples...and this is a description given of Giovanni Santillo in the newspaper ad that appears in the Gothamist article as well. This would provide the missing link to the Neapolitan professional tradition that pizzanapoletana (Marco) was saying was absent from Evelyne Slomon's and Gennaro Lombardi's story of Lombardi's pizzeria.

At his own website, Peter Regas puts together some media mentions of Lombardi throughout the 20th century, which do seem to suggest, when combined with his immigration documents, that Lombardi was loose with the accuracy of his personal history over the years and that the idea of him as the originator of the pizzas he sold at his restaurant could easily have developed into a legend that he himself promoted, as it was clear in time that no one else was challenging his version of history.

https://pizzahistorybook.com/2019/01/14/lombardis-origin-story/


I did my best to render the scanned 1905 newspaper ad into Google Translate, just for kicks:


Antica Pizzeria Napoletana

Il proprietario della rinomata Pizzeria 53 e 1/2 Spring St. tra Mulberry e Marion St.

New York
Giovanni Santillo

fa eonoscere a tutti a suoi amici della Colonia Italiana che nel suo locale si fanno Pizze all'uso Napoletano essendo il Santillo un pizzaiuolo proprio di Napoli che per lungo tempo fu in una delle primarie pizzerie. Il Santillo per soddisfare i suoi connazionali, ha rinnovato il suo locale e per la stagione estiva lo ha arricchito di ventilatori e luce elettrica. Chiunque potra condurvi la propria signora e figlio, poiche troverrano la massima decenza.

La Pizzeria e aperta dalle 8 del matino alle 2 dopo mezzanotta.

PROVARE PER CREDERE



"Ancient Neapolitan Pizzeria

The owner of the renowned Pizzeria 53 and 1/2 Spring St. between Mulberry and Marion St.

New York
Giovanni Santillo

let everyone know to his friends of the Italian Colony that in their local Pizzas are used in Naples, being the Santillo a pizzaiuolo of Naples that for a long time was in one of the primary pizzerias. The Santillo to meet his fellow countrymen, has renewed his room and for the summer season has enriched it with fans and electric light. Anyone can take your lady and son, because they will find the maximum decency.

The Pizzeria is open from 8am to 2pm past midnight.

SEEING IS BELIEVING"


Seems clear enough that the Gennaro Lombardi/1905/NYC story is destined to be rewritten. With how much detail we'll be able to replace it, only Peter Regas knows.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 11:33:55 AM by wb54885 »
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 10:12:53 AM »
My argument was around Gennaro Lombardi and how he could not have possibly be a fully fledged Pizzamaker....

This Filippo Milone immigrated, at least permanently, in 1882.  (I have previously come around a piece of research about Neapolitan emigrants that left the family behind, that they would go back and forth from the USA to Naples for several years before moving permanently to the USA).

According to some records I have easily found,  this Filippo Milone was born  in or around 1861 in Italy (cannot find records within the Naples city archive, but he could have been from Sorrento or another nearby town with no particular pizza connection),  and died on the 09 Aug 1924 in a house at 175 Sullivan St (the same address mentioned by the researcher as the original location of John's  of Bleeker street). Accourding to the Census documentation, he worked in the Restaurant industry.

Again, from that Newspaper advert, he looks like to have been knowledgeable around the background of the Pizzeria Port'Alba in Naples, that at one point, was also managed by the legendary Antonio Testa.

In any case, he may have been experiencing or working around the pizza scene in Naples just before he emigrated at 21 but cannot found details of him or his parents yet.

Back to Gennaro Lombardi, if the details published by the researcher are correct, his dad Luigi (born in 1844 and immigrated in 1907) and his mum Carmela were also in NYC in 1910, together with their two daughters (Maria and Concettina). Luigi worked with Horse Sadles or something to that extent.

Luigi was born in Naples on the 17/07/1844 by Domenico (born around 1784, a waiter- which could have been both a restaurant waiter or a house waiter in a noble family) and Maria Giuseppa Spasiano.  Luigi died in New York the 16 November 1926

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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2019, 10:20:11 AM »
Just to add one more step to the Gennaro Lombardi's genealogy, his grandfather Domenico was from Castellammare di Stabia (near Sorrento) and at the time of his death in Naples (21 May 1857) was recorded as a retired male nurse at a local hospital.

Offline wb54885

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2019, 11:35:26 AM »
Here's my rough attempt to translate the 1903 ad as well:

ANTICA PIZZERIA PORT'ALBA

[Alias PoNa Sciuscella] (?)

FILIPPO MILONE, Prop.

PIZZERIA NAPOLEANA aperta GIORNO E NOTTE

192 GRAND ST., NEW YORK

Il conosciuto Proprietario dell'Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, Signor FIILIPO MILONE fa notto al Pubblico che ha aperto al No. 192 Grand St., un'Elegante PIZZERIA NAPOLETANA

Essendo l unico locale Italiano del genere, fa sperare al Signor FILLIPO MILONE il concorso numeroso di Italiane.

Come pure fa notto al pubblico che quanto prima verra annesso alla pizzeria una Cucina Casereccia per colezione alla Forchetta.

I buongustai vadano a mangiare le squisite PIZZE che fa il simpatico Fillipo Milone nella sua Nuova Pizzeria al no 192 Grand St.



"ANTICA PIZZERIA PORT'ALBA

[Alias PoNa Sciuscella] (?)

FILIPPO MILONE, Prop.

NAPOLEAN PIZZERIA open DAY AND NIGHT

192 GRAND ST., NEW YORK

The well-known owner of the Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba, Mr. FIILIPO MILONE notices the public who opened at No. 192 Grand St., an elegant PIZZERIA NAPOLETANA

Being the only Italian restaurant of the kind, it makes Mr. FILLIPO MILONE hope for the numerous Italians competition.

As well, he notices to the public that as soon as possible, a Casereccia Kitchen will be attached to the pizzeria for the Forchetta collection.

Gourmets go to eat the delicious PIZZE that makes the friendly Fillipo Milone in his New Pizzeria at no 192 Grand St."


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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2019, 03:30:42 PM »
PMQ has also stuck its toe in the water on the Regas research:

http://www.pmq.com/February-2019/Researcher-Uncovers-Evidence-of-a-Forgotten-American-Pizza-Pioneer/

Peter

Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2019, 02:11:49 PM »
I haven't had a chance to listen, but the Serious Eats podcast Special Sauce with Ed Levine has an interview with researcher Peter Regas and Pete Wells from the New York Times.

Too many podcast platforms for a link...

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Offline corkd

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2019, 05:26:55 PM »
I haven't had a chance to listen, but the Serious Eats podcast Special Sauce with Ed Levine has an interview with researcher Peter Regas and Pete Wells from the New York Times.

Too many podcast platforms for a link...
I like the serious eats interview even though Ed keeps mentioning a guy named “Maloney”   :-D

Offline wb54885

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2019, 06:29:46 PM »
You can listen or read at https://www.seriouseats.com/2019/02/special-sauce-peter-regas-pizza-origin-story.html

Full circle:  Peter talking about becoming interested in doing the research in the first place:

"Ed Levine:  ...How did you come upon all of this? I mean, Peter, it's one thing for Woodward and Bernstein to bust open Watergate. You're taking investigative reporting to a whole new level.

Peter Regas: My sister says I'm obsessed.

EL: Pizza obsessive? Or are you just an obsessive?

PR: Well, I like the food. Who doesn't? I traveled for business and I went to the old communities and what first ... This is right when the Jeff Varasano pizzamaking.com era--

EL: Sure. Jeff Varasano was the very famous blogger who did about a 10,000 word attempt to replicate...

PR: Correct.

EL: The original Patsy's dough.

PR: Right. I saw that and I said, "Well, that's curious", then I went to pizzamaking.com and I got into the Evelyn Sloman threads and she started talking about the history. She got into rather huge debates from a baker in Naples about Lombardi and the way it started. I saw that and I thought ... First thing I saw was I thought there to be a survival bias so that the history that she was giving, and she did a great job on her book, but the history that she was giving had enormous survival bias. She was counting the people as significant if they survived as a business to the current day...

EL: Got it.

PR: That she could capture the story. The immediate question was, there must have been a lot more at that time who didn't survive who went back to Italy who died out or whatever. I looked at that and I said, "Well, that's a curious question." I saw some of the comments that were being made and I thought, "It doesn't really ring true to me. There's something missing there." I didn't really know, so..."
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2019, 06:52:41 PM »
I wonder whether this was a post that Peter Regas found on our forum:

Reply 27 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=14920.msg148840;topicseen#msg148840

Peter


Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2019, 08:01:56 PM »
I listened to the podcast earlier today and was a little disappointed in it. Peter Regas seems like an interesting guy and an interview with him could fill a 40 minute podcast without bringing in other guests. Seemed like a wasted opportunity.

Offline megan45

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Re: New origins of pizza in New York
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2019, 08:30:13 PM »
I listened to the podcast earlier today and was a little disappointed in it. Peter Regas seems like an interesting guy and an interview with him could fill a 40 minute podcast without bringing in other guests. Seemed like a wasted opportunity.

Given Regas' upcoming lecture at the end of the month (not to mention his forthcoming book), I suspect that he wanted to hold back a lot of the information he would be presenting there, and that the podcast was/is more of an pre-release advertorial to drum up interest for them (it wouldn't surprise me if the book publisher paid SE to "interview" him) than an honest-to-goodness interview, and for that reason was intentionally limited in its scope.

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