INTERVIEW: Drew Rattray from Best City Pizza

Once upon a time, I could count all the pizza blogs on one hand. Actually, I could have counted them on two fingers. There was Pizza Therapy and there was Slice. Pizza Therapy is still kept up by THE O.G. pizza blogger Albert Grande but the Slice blog got scooped up by Serious Eats and stopped posted new material a few years back. (Founder Adam Kuban ran it under the Serious Eats umbrella but has since moved on to run Margot’s Pizza.) Thankfully times have changed and now there are MANY food-specific blogs, of which pizza occupies many. One of the tightest is BEST CITY PIZZA, the personal pizza journal of Drew Rattray. This guy is a SERIOUS pizza nerd and his blog is one of the best. We exchanged some emails and I’m proud to report the results in the interview below…

When and how did you start blogging about pizza?
I started blogging about pizza in 2014. Pizza was a passion of mine and I thought blogging about it would be a fun hobby. As I live in Connecticut, I have access to some of the best pizza on the planet in New Haven so it was easy to get started. I used my background as a digital designer to create the blog bestcitypizza.com.

If you couldn’t eat pizza (not necessarily bread or cheese or tomato, just PIZZA as a unit), what food would you be obsessed with?
First of all I would be a few pounds lighter if I couldn’t eat pizza. I eat a lot of pizza, at the very least twice a week! But if I couldn’t eat pizza I think I would be obsessed with BBQ, specifically anything smoked liked ribs or pulled pork. I love the sauces or the option to just enjoy the meats with a dry rub.

You’re from Bronx, but currently live in Connecticut. How has that affected your pizza eating life?
Pizza is everywhere down here. When I was in grade school in the Bronx I remember going to the neighborhood parlor for a slice every weekend. I guess that’s when I fell in love with pizza. I would say easy access to excellent pizza has made me into a bonafide “pizza snob”. As much as I love all types of pizza it is hard for me to eat a mediocre slice, I’d rather just not eat the bad pizza and wait until I can get to one of the better pizza joints.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled for pizza?
In the United States the furthest I have gone is Hawaii. Italy is on my bucket list though! Along with NYC I frequently go to Boston, Philadelphia, and DC to try new pizza places and to go to some of my old favorites. You can read about some of these on the pizza blog.

What’s your biggest pizza pet peeve?
Too little sauce! If I wanted a grilled cheese I would have ordered that. I know a few places that have decent cheese and crust but not enough sauce so I just order them with extra sauce and their ok pizza becomes a greatone.

Would you ever jump from pizza journalism to pizzeria ownership?
I think anyone who is passionate about pizza entertains the idea at one time or another and I’m no exception. In my dreams when I retire I see myself owning a coal fired pizza restaurant that is also a top notch sports bar.

I can see you don’t like pizzas with too little sauce but do you ever eat white pizza, without sauce?
Several people have recommended try the white clam pizza from Pepe’s of New Haven fame which I did. It was tasty but I got to have the red sauce man!

Why would you own a coal fired pizzeria? What is it about coal you love?
A coal-fired oven definitely leaves a distinct, artisan, almost burnt flavor to the crust that is undeniably delicious.

Why do you blog about pizza and not some other food?
There’s not enough hours in the day. Pizza is it. It lends itself to be the perfect food to debate who’s got the best depending on where you live.

I see some cool pizza shirts on your store. Did you design them yourself?
Yes. I’m creative by nature and wanted to put my professional expertise to work. My goal was to design affordable pizza tshirts that are unique. Check them out here.

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