New York City is known for its pizza and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find my favorite slice around town. But I never thought that one day I'd come face-to-face with a pie that's taller than me!
This giant pie, which is 6 feet long from crust to crust, is a specialty at Fornino in Brooklyn, New York. The restaurant, which now has two locations, has been serving up this pie for almost two years.
I met up with the creator of this larger-than-life pie, Michael Ayoub, who also happens to own the restaurant. The pizza expert has been working in the business since he was just 13-years-old and bought his own restaurant when he was 20.
However, the idea for a pizza that's taller than most humans didn't originate with him.
“This is a pizza that they make in Campo de’ Fiori in Italy," the chef, who grew up in an Italian family, said. "It’s a place called Il Forno and they make these 6-foot pizzas ... and they come out, people cut them with scissors and you take them and you go on your merry way.”
Creating this gigantic pizza is no easy task. Aside from the massive amounts of flour, cheese and sauce needed for the basic recipe, a special oven is also required.
“We call it 'Puff' as a little name for the fact that it’s always breathing fire,” Ayoub said.
“Puff” is truly one of a kind. You won’t find this oven in just any restaurant kitchen.
“From what I understand, there’s only three of these ovens in the country for the fact that they’re very big and they’re very expensive,” Ayoub explained. Luckily, when the chef purchased his first Fornino restaurant location, the oven was there and it ended up inspiring what he'd later be putting on the menu.
“I found it in the basement here. I bought this restaurant and we found this oven and I wanted to find out what to do it with it. So I took a trip to Italy and I came back on a mission.”
However, if you want to try to eating your height in pizza, you’ll have to do a little bit of planning. Ayoub and his team require advance orders for each giant pie because the dough takes two days to make.
Though traditional Margherita pizza (which comes topped with fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and olive oil) is one of the most popular orders, the pie can be customized with an array of different toppings.
Fornino currently has over 30 different types of pizzas on the menu and the chefs have created over 300 varieties.
The 6-foot-long crowd-pleaser starts at $125, but the price goes up from there, depending on how you top it. Chef Ayoub said that, on average, a pie can feed four really hungry diners but groups of eight will definitely be satisfied.
But if you think you can handle this pizza all on your own, stop dreaming. Ayoub said he’s never seen anyone finish one by themselves. But that hasn't stopped folks from trying. Currently there's no reward being offered for people who conquer the giant pie solo ... besides the glory, of course.
So is a gigantic pie really worth all the extra effort? I say that bigger is definitely better when it comes to this pizza because everything is handmade and it's so much fun to share with friends.