"It's the Comfort Food Capital of America You Could Argue," Author Pens Book on Buffalo Food History
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By Madison Carter | WKBW, 6:00 AM, Aug 24, 2018

GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) - How did the chicken finger sub get invented?

How did Buffalo chicken become a topping on pizza? Do you know the answer to these questions? Many of you reading this may be lifelong Western New Yorkers…but food writer Arthur Bovino has a message for you:

“There are things in this book I think that Buffalonians don’t know about their own city.”

His words, not ours. Strong words for the man who came here on an assignment.

“I moved up here for a month and I ate at 120 restaurants, and gained 25 pounds, and then I wrote for the next 11 months,” said Bovino in an interview at Elmo’s Restaurant in Getzville.

The assignment was to write 60,000 words on Buffalo’s food scene, but he did a lot more than that. In fact, he turned in 160,000 words and two books.

Buffalo Everything: A Guide to Eating in the “Nickel City” will have an accompanying cookbook to be published later this year.

But, we had to ask the food critic, from a major food city downstate in NYC…why Buffalo?

“Why not Buffalo? I would turn it around and say. Buffalo’s got an amazing food history. It’s the comfort food capital of America you could argue.”

We agree.

Click here for the full story (and video).

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AUDIO: NYC Food Critic Arthur Bovino in Studio
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97Rock | August 22, 2018

Buffalo food is a topic often discussed on Morning Bull, but this interview was particularly special. NYC food writer Arthur Bovino committed to writing THE encyclopedia on Buffalo and WNY food culture.

When we say commit, that’s the genuine article. Arthur lived here for a month, eating exclusive Buffalo flavors.  He gained 25 pounds after visiting 125 Buffalo-area eateries.  His book may end up as the comprehensive guide to all things Buffalo cuisine.

Morning Bull brought him in studio to dig deep into the process of his book, and what are his personal favorites for wings, weck, pizza, and more.  Click here for a link to his book, on sale now.

Can’t see the audio player below?  CLICK HERE to stream segment oneand click here to stream segment two on your phone or browser!

Click here for the full story on 97Rock.

Arthur Bovino
Author Arthur Bovino Interviewed by Andrew Galarneau

By Ben Tsujimoto | The Buffalo News, August 20, 2018

5:30 to 6:20 p.m. in Larkin Square, then 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 20 in Billy Club for a book signing. No cost.

Arthur Bovino, author of the Buffalo food-based book "Buffalo Everything," found himself in the limelight when a Daily Beast story trumpeting his stance on Queen City pizza went viral.

The News food editor Andrew Galarneau – who featured Bovino, below – will ask probing questions during the short Larkin Square discussion, preceding a book signing at small Allentown bar Billy Club.

Click here for the full story. 

Arthur Bovino
Food Writer: Buffalo is the Country's Pizza Capital
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By Kelly Dudzik | August 20, 2018, WGRZ

BUFFALO, N.Y. – We are celebrating Western New York with something cheesy, greasy and just plain delicious. Of course, we're talking about pizza.

Just last week, a Daily Beast article called Buffalo the country's pizza capital.

"Buffalo has its own style, and I think it could be the next big style," says author Arthur Bovino.

Arthur Bovino is on a book tour for Buffalo Everything! which highlights Buffalo's food scene. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he's the guy behind the Daily Beast article professing his love for our pizza.

"There are all these iconic dishes, and then they become toppings. You'll throw on, like, stinger sandwich toppings onto the pizza, you'll throw on the banana peppers, you'll have a beef on weck pizza," he says.

But the classic, says Bovino, is the pepperoni pizza.

"Crazy amounts of pepperoni, and you get cup and char with is a baseline here in Buffalo," says Bovino.

"Explain how you judge cup and char," said 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik.

"So, it has to really pool up, it has to curl up along the edges and unless it really gets like semi-almost burnt black line around the edge and the pool of grease in the center, you're not doing it right,” says Bovino.

"How do you feel about dabbing?" asked Dudzik.

"I'm not, listen if you're dabbing, of if you're lifting the slice for the grease to come off, everything else is going to fall off, too," says Bovino.

Bovino came to La Nova about five months ago for a slice. He's a food writer who also went to culinary school and trained in the French technique, but for him pizza is where it’s at.

"Pizza has always been a passion of mine. So, pizza is kind of the way I got into Buffalo because I had been hearing about the pizza scene up here, and I had been writing this list of the 101 best pizzerias in American for years," he says.

So, he visited Buffalo for the pizza and came back several times for pizza and everything else.

"So, I wasn't aware of all of this stuff, and certainly I did not know how friendly that people were going to be when I came here to visit, I can't tell you how many times I walked into a bar and without making a big to-do I left with somebody buying me drinks and making new friends, which was something that as a New Yorker who is a little jaded maybe, and skeptical, was, melted my heart," says Bovino.

You can meet Bovino Tuesday night at the Nine-Eleven Tavern where he will be signing his book.

Read the full story and watch the video on WGRZ.

Arthur Bovino
Is America’s Pizza Capital Buffalo, New York?
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I’ve eaten pizza at many of the most well-respected pizzerias in America. For starters, Di Fara in Brooklyn, Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Frank Pepe in New Haven, Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, and Great Lake in Chicago before it closed. They and so many other great places have their merits. But I’m going out on the line and putting a decade of pizza cred built by writing about and visiting hundreds of pizzerias in New York City and across America to say that Buffalo-style pizza is America’s most underappreciated regional style.

There, I said it. I’m in love. Buffalo serves some awesome pizza.

Let’s be clear: you can, to a lesser degree, get New York-style pizza in Buffalo. The Neapolitan-style wave has landed in the city, too. Pizzaiolo Jay Langfelder’s pizza-truck-turned brick-and-mortar restaurant, Jay’s Artisan Pizzeria, could be put up against well-regarded masters of the genre in America’s other great pizza cities. Roost, chef Martin Danilowic’s restaurant in the Crescendo building on Niagara Street on the West Side, serves a tidy menu of pizzas that would cause as much of a stir in New York City as some of its trendier new places, where they plate their pizza in one of the most unique ways I’ve ever seen. They and a handful of other non-Buffalo-style pizzerias are worth checking out, but you can get those styles of pizza elsewhere.

You can’t really find Buffalo-style pizza in other cities. The dough has the lightness of a focaccia, there’s always lots of cheese, and while the sauce does happen to be slightly sweet, that ends up being a nice contrast to the spicy oil pooled in the copious charred, meaty pepperoni.

Buffalo-style pizza has been described as a hybrid of Chicago deep-dish and New York, or somewhere between Detroit’s airy, high-lipped cheesy crust and New York City’s traditionally thin-crust pies. It’s also been compared to a circular version of Sicilian-style pizza, but there’s less structure to the undercarriage of Buffalo-style pizza and its signature sweet sauce is nothing like what you get at places that make the best Sicilian slices.

I’d flip the description. Buffalo-style pizza is typically a cup-and-char pepperoni pizza, one with a slim, sometimes non-existent crust coastline with ingredients out to, and sometimes even over the edges, a thick, airy undercarriage with little to no structural integrity that’s topped by a sweet sauce and enough cheese to nearly always guarantee a cheese pull. If you were going to use other regional styles to describe it, I’d say it’s a Detroit amount of cheese with a Motor City trim, a Maine undercarriage (think Portland’s Micucci’s or Slab), and a New York City soul.

One of my favorite pizza experts, a Buffalonian pizza expert who has anonymously reviewed about 100 of the city’s pizzas (he’s shooting to have reviewed 150 by the end of 2018), and who goes by the handle SexySlices, defines Buffalo-style pizza thusly:

“It has to have cup-and-char pepperoni with grease in the center of each cup and blackening on the top along the rim. A hefty portion of cheese with good browning (some places make it super-dark). Buffalo-style is traditionally an overdone pie, and ordering ‘well-done’ on top of that is common. The sauce is rich, ladled generously, and a little sweet. It has a thick dough that fluffs up consistently to the edge of a crispy, buttery crust that’s typically charred and caked in excess with a super intense, oven-dried sauce.”

Buffalonians love their pizza as much as Angelenos love doughnuts (have you seen how many doughnut shops they have?). “You’re naturally eating pizza at least once a week,” SexySlices told me. “You’re not even counting. Pizza and wings—there’s no such thing as just getting pizza.”

According to The Buffalo News, the number of pizzerias went from 62 in 1969 to 274 by 1989 to 360 in 1998. Keep in mind that over that period of time, according to the census, the population went from 462,768 to 292,819. Today? There are fewer people (256,902). But, at least according to Buffalo’s local tourism agency Visit Buffalo Niagara, at last count there were more than 600 pizzerias in Buffalo and its immediate surrounding urban area. That means if we’re conservative and say just 600, there’s at least one pizzeria for every 428 people in the Nickel City. Compare that to New York City, whose some estimated 1,600 pizzerias serve 8.538 million people. That’s right, New York City, which has 33 times the number of people as Buffalo, per capita, has less than four times the number of pizzerias. And you thought you loved pizza.

And no, they’re not national chains. Sure, you’ll see a few here and there. I counted 13 Pizza Huts, six each of Domino’s and Little Caesar’s, and one Papa John’s and Jet’s. For the most part, the 600 seem to be independently owned pizzerias. That leaves some 573 independently owned and operated pizzerias. “I was a nervous wreck when Domino’s was going to open 27 units,” Bocce Club owner Jim Pacciotti told me. “The ones they opened didn’t really take off. People are used to what they’re used to.”

For the pizza-lover uninitiated in the Nickel City, Buffalo should be a pizza destination, though because of a pizza culture largely based on takeout, it’s one of the country’s great cities for pizza while eating it straight from the box in the parking lot on the hood of your car, or with the box warming your lap with the smell of hot cardboard, melted cheese, and cup-and-char pepperoni on a cold winter day. And that is the move for pizza nerds, because the truth is that Buffalo pizza isn’t a style that I’d say improves as it sits. There’s something about the excess of cheese, pepperoni grease, and cup-and-char that really exists at its peak perfection when it’s fresh from the oven.

America’s pizza culture is generally traced back to Lombardi’s in New York City in 1905. Buffalo’s pizza culture goes all the way back to 1927, when Fioravanti Santora started selling pizza by the slice out of his homemade ice cream shop. That means Buffalo’s oldest pizzeria preceded New York City icons like Patsy’s (1933) and John’s of Bleecker Street (1929). Frank Pepe of New Haven, generally regarded as one of America’s best pizzerias, was founded just two years before Santora’s, in 1925.

Outside Buffalo, the city’s probably most well-known as being represented by Bocce Club Pizza. But articles written by folks who sweep in and out of town after a few days get an incomplete picture of the pizza scene. Bocce Club is a great pie, and it’s a great Buffalo-style pizza, but Buffalo-style pizza is not Bocce Club Pizza. Sure, it has cup-and-char, a thick but airy crust, and a sweet sauce, but if you look at it side by side with some of the city’s other pizzas, you’ll see the difference. Nobody else does toppings that go out past the crust. And in Buffalo, the distinction of best-known pizza is shared with La Nova. Wherever you go in Buffalo, prepare yourself for some of the cheesiest, most pepperoni-topped, and indulgent pies you’ve ever had. This is hibernation pizza. Prepare for a pie that isn’t a gut-bomb, but that probably doubles or triples the caloric intake enjoyed in a New York City slice. You probably couldgo outside and shovel, but wouldn’t it be more fun to just stay inside and have a few drinks?

Right about now, some of my fellow Manhattan pizza-loving friends are shaking their heads in disbelief. “You think this is good pizza?” I’m Long Island born (Queens, actually), so my hyper-regional style is technically geographically the grandma pie if we’re talking anything beyond New York thin-crust style. And when it comes to that, I’m generally a fan of the thinnest thin crust New York City slices I can find. I’ve had flashes where I see the merits of Chicago deep-dish and will even call that casserole a pizza on days that I’m feeling generous. So believe me, I get the skepticism. In addition, I’ve heard the frustration from Buffalo expats who have bemoaned to me their inability to persuade friends and significant others on the merits of Buffalo pizza, heard locals talk about the snobby Long Island kids who attend Buffalo’s universities and say, “that’s not pizza.”

But I’ve also heard the local pizza pride. Sitting in Duff’s and waiting for an order of wings, I overheard the kids at the next table discussing one of the most recent online lists put out by Travel + Leisure, “These Are the Cities with America’s Favorite Pizza.” Buffalo, it seems, much to some people’s surprise, is at number three on the list just below Detroit, and somewhat dubiously, Phoenix (Does one amazing spot make it the best city for pizza in America)? “I was in Miami and they didn’t have charred pepperoni, you had to ask for it as extra,” one kid says. “It makes you realize how spoiled we are for good pizza.”

Pepperoni as a baseline? I can get behind that. And I’d argue that in an era where pizza lovers are falling in love again with America’s regional styles—the Emmy Squareds of the world popularizing Detroit-style pizza, Speedy Romeo drawing attention to aspects of St. Louis-style, Slice pizza blogger turned pizzaiolo Adam Kuban demonstrating the appeal of bar pizza—Buffalo pizza could be the next big thing. In fact, I’d argue we’re already eating it: Domino’s and Papa John’s sweet sauces and lack of structural integrity have more in common with Buffalo-style pizza than a slice at Joe’s. And while I’m doing a disservice to Buffalo pizza by mentioning both of those national chains, my point is to draw a line of comparison to the financial and nationwide success those qualities have already exhibited.

Before we get back to all the great places in Buffalo, I’ll go one step further. There’s a slice shop in New York City’s NoLita neighborhood called Prince Street Pizza that replaced the original Ray’s Pizza. Before it opens, there’s usually a line out the door for the Spicy Spring square slice, a light, airy pock-bottomed crust weighed down with a copious cheese coating and a healthy ladling of fra diavolo sauce. There’s little structural integrity and the slice is known for being topped with so many small curled up slices of spicy-oil-filled, black-edged pepperoni that they spill off the sides onto the plate. Sure, it’s a square and yes that sauce is a little spicy, but that Instagram darling, that super popular Spicy Spring slice, that’s pretty much Buffalo pizza.

Get your copy of Arthur Bovino’s Buffalo Everything tomorrow!

Excerpted from Buffalo Everything by Arthur Bovino. Copyright © 2018. Used with permission of the publisher, Countryman Press. All rights reserved.

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Book Goes Beyond Wings to Celebrate Depth, History of Buffalo Cuisine
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By Andrew Z. Galarneau Published July 9, 2018, The Buffalo News

Arthur Bovino came to Buffalo with a plan to write a 60,000-word book on Buffalo cuisine.

The New York City resident spent about a month eating in Buffalo, and more time delving into the history behind the food he found. He ate at more than 120 places, and packed on 20 pounds.

When Bovino started writing, he wrote 60,000 words and kept going. "I couldn't stop," he said. At 100,000 words, he informed his publisher at Countryman Press that he was running a bit long.

It's supposed to be 60,000 words, she reminded him. "It's not finished yet," he replied.

His manuscript ended up at 150,000 words, two books' worth. The first book, "Buffalo Everything: A Guide to Eating in the Nickel City," debuts in August and explores the city's cuisine in loving detail, starting with wings, pizza, fish fry and beef on weck. Then it drills deeper into the rest of the culinary offerings that make Buffalo a city where you don’t want to waste a meal.

Old-school taverns, new-school places where chefs are drawing on local farms, and late-night spots where the food tastes best after midnight all get detailed treatments drawing on original interviews. Buffalo's candy makers, sandwich artists and hot dog grillers get their close-ups, too.

In February, Countryman will release Bovino's second volume, "The Buffalo New York Cookbook." Its 70 recipes include home versions of beef on weck, Buffalo-style pizza and other classics explored in his first book, plus Buffalo versions of America's favorite comfort foods, like a Buffalo chicken pot pie.

"I had always wanted to go to Buffalo, being a pizza nerd, and I had heard so much about the pizza scene," he said. "When I had the opportunity to research Buffalo pizza, I realized how much more there was than wings and pizza. I became addicted to one thing after another, and in finding as much as I could about the history of each of them. It became a compulsion."

"Buffalo Everything" goes deep, closing in on 400 pages. The most thorough chicken wing treatise yet published runs 90 pages, including an exploration of wing-eating techniques and Bovino's Top 20 wing choices.

The history behind and guide to finding Tom & Jerrys runs nearly nine pages. The Old Pink gets four pages.

Will the book accelerate the discovery of Buffalo by food tourists? "I think it's already been happening," Bovino said. "It's been percolating for a while, and it's overdue."

He noted that in the two years he worked on the book, taste-spotters like Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure had articles pointing their audiences to Buffalo. The New York Times made Buffalo a destination for its "36 Hours" feature and made the city part of its "52 places to visit" coverage.

"When I came along to do the book, I was shocked it hadn't been done already," he said. He is planning a series of events and book signings in August, including an appearance Aug. 20 as part of the Larkin Square Author Series.

Tourists should find "Buffalo Everything" handy, but it will hopefully also inspire Buffalonians to explore, he said.

"Buffalonians are rabid about their own food culture, and yet I met people who considered themselves knowledgeable about the local wing scene that had only been to their local places, five minutes away from their house," Bovino said. "I know I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but I felt like I could speak with more authority after visiting all these places than a lot of people I met while I was in town. They were rabid about their spot."

Perhaps the book will help encourage people to appreciate what they have, he said. "I hope the book celebrates Buffalo, and helps people appreciate all the stuff that, even living there, they may not have experienced that's amazing, and awesome, and tasty."

Send restaurant tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.

Q&A With Arthur Bovino, Author of 'Buffalo Everything'
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By Jeff Heilman | Published June 9, 2018, Meetings Today

Arthur Bovino is a restaurant, food media and travel writer with experience writing for a variety of major publications. He is the author of Buffalo Everything: A Guide to Eating in ‘Nickel City’ with 50 Recipes. The book will be released on August 14, 2018.

What inspired you to write a book about culinary Buffalo?

I'm a classically trained cook passionate about fine dining—and also a wing nut and pizza nerd. I’d long heard about Buffalo's unique pizza scene, so when a friend recommended me for a project focused on a Buffalo sauce-themed cookbook, I jumped on it. Fascinated by the city's wing culture—Buffalonians order their wings the way some people order steak—the project became two books. The first, out in August 2018, is about the city's dining scene and history, followed in February 2019 by a cookbook focused on iconic local foods and Buffalo sauce-flavored comfort foods and party dishes.

The research must have been flavorsome.

Twice relocating to Buffalo, I dined at 120-plus restaurants and got a comprehensive education on the city’s food history from leading local chefs and writers.

From classic Italian and Polish restaurants to New-School Buffalo cuisine, it was food discovery at its best. That doesn't even touch on sponge candy, (roast) beef on (Kummel) weck, the chicken finger sub, stuffed peppers, steak in the grass and unbeatable bologna sandwiches.

One highlight was retracing the authoritative 1980 research of New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin into the origins of the “wing,” including finding menus for Buffalo’s signature food—pre-Anchor Bar and Frank's RedHot sauce—in the 19th century.

Where can groups get an authentic taste of Buffalo?

The book helps find the right restaurant for any occasion.For wings, the original Anchor Bar, which takes group reservations, is the baseline.

While not suited for large groups, institutions including Duff’s Famous Wings, Nine-Eleven Tavern and Bar Bill Tavern can supply wings on order. Also supplying events, Schwabl's (1837) is for beef on weck and the seasonal Tom & Jerry cocktail. Top chefs include Mike Andrzejewski, with Seabar and Cantina Loco, and James Roberts, his Southern-inspired Toutant offering a great late-night menu.

Las Puertas has a modern Mexican tasting menu, and the pizza at La Nova and Bocce Club Pizza deserve national attention.

Read the full story on MeetingsToday.com.

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Q&A: Becoming a Buffalo foodie
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By Danielle Ossher | Published April 27, 2018, Buffalo Magazine

NYC-based writer Arthur Bovino spent months eating (and drinking) his way around Buffalo as research for his upcoming books. The first — Buffalo Everything: A Guide to Eating in Nickel City — is out this June.

What surprised you the most about the food scene here?

How much I became obsessed with it! I was expecting great wings, weck and pizza, sure, but I didn’t expect to be drawn into a months-long quest to discover the origins of Buffalo chicken pizza, become fascinated by the origins of the chicken finger sub, obsess over Toutant’s homemade bologna, want to hit all the standard-bearers of new-school Buffalo cuisine or integrate Buffalo’s Tom & Jerry tradition into my family’s own holiday celebrations.

I was surprised — and heartened — by the lack of national chains I came across in Buffalo proper and the amount of new development and redevelopment going on.

Buffalo’s most underrated food?

Beef on weck could be America’s most underrated roast beef sandwich. You hear about Chicago and L.A. a lot; Buffalo should get more love on this front.

Buffalo-style pizza may be the most unappreciated and unreported regional style pizza in the country, which is nuts considering it’s in such a pizza-proud state.

You’re convincing someone to visit Buffalo. What do you say?

It depends on who I’m talking with. If they’re coming from New York City? It’s just an hour flight and the food and the people are awesome. To food obsessives? If you think you’re a pizza fiend or a wing lover and you haven’t visited, there’s a hole in your game. To someone in general who has never considered visiting? Check your preconceived notions with lost luggage and get on a plane: Buffalo’s a friendly, delicious city with lots of fun stuff to do and see. I’ve eaten at more than 100 of its restaurants and I still have a to-do list I can’t wait to return to take another crack at.

What Buffalo dish do you still dream about?

Just one? The sticky pudding at Black Sheep...the bologna sandwich at Toutant...the sesame crust pizza at La Nova...the steak sandwich at The Pink...steak in the grass at Dandelions...cup-and-char so good you have to eat it in the parking lots at Bocce, Deniro’s and Leonardi’s (among others)...Schwabl’s Tom & Jerry...Charlie the Butcher’s beef on weck...the Red Sox wings at Wiechec’s...I could go on. I did. I wrote a book! Two, in fact.

What inspired you to write this book? And what was your favorite part in putting it together?

I love wings. The idea of talking to some of Buffalo’s most beloved wingmakers, of seeing if I could write anything new about them, of collecting the nuances of the city’s wing culture (I’d argue that many Buffalonians order their wings with the specificity that some Americans order steak) all inspired me to write the book. That and I’d been dying to eat through the city’s pizza scene for years too.

Eating was certainly one of my favorite parts of putting the book together...obviously. I ate at more than 120 restaurants over about a month. But meeting and talking with the city’s writers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs was tremendously fun.

Tell us about your books…

The first book will focus on the restaurants and their stories. The second book (early 2019) will focus on recipes. You’ll find recipes for Buffalo’s signature dishes (wings, weck, pizza, Tom & Jerry’s, spaghetti Parm, stuffed peppers, etc.), but also recipes for “Buffalo-ized” comfort dishes, things that we already obsess over as Americans taken to another level by adding Buffalo “flavor.” Buffalo chicken Parm pizza, Buffalo chicken pot pie, Buffalo-ized Primanti sandwich, Buffalo fried rice...

Read the full article in Buffalo Magazine.