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  • 1 year later...

i was in phoenix for a conference several years ago and at there the first night. and then the second night and then the third night too. went someplace else the fourth night and was disappointed. Chris Bianco is one of the (semi-) unsung stars. now, for some ungodly reason, my dad has moved to phoenix, and eating at the restaurant is the only bright spot.

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Guest Amaranth

It's been a year of so since I've been to Phoenix, but I have had the pleasure of eating at Pizzeria Bianco a few times.

 

Very simple, very small menu, but every detail is just perfect. The staff is also so friendly and accomodating. It's such a high level of quality for a restaurant where a fine meal can be had for under $20.

 

I also love the other 2 venues. Bar Bianco, next door, where you wait for your table. The restaurant calls over and the bar staff lets you know when your table is ready. Bar Bianco also has a larger selection of wines than is available in the restaurant itself. They don't mind if you carry your drink from the bar to the restaurant when your table is ready.

 

Pane Bianco, the sandwich shop/bread bakery is incredible too. It's in an industrial building on Central, you wouldn't spot it if you weren't looking for it. They are (or were) only open about 3 hours a day around lunch time. It's strictly take out, but there are couple of picnic tables out front. I still remember the sandwich I picked up on the way to the airport: bacon cooked in the wood oven, Montasio cheese and arugula on incredible bread. I felt really decadent tucking into that sandwich while waiting at the airport while everyone around me was stuck with airport food. ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...
I won't go to a place without reservations and would not wait for 2 hours for a pizza, or any meal I've had anywhere in the world.

I guess different strokes for different folks makes the world go around.

 

Indeed. Good things are worth waiting for. Great things are worth dying for. Great pizza is worth waiting, eating, then dying for.

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Krystal,

First and foremost I wish to welcome you to Mouthfuls. It is a wonderful community of people who mostly share the same interest.

 

Honestly you are not in the minority of people who can't see the logic in waiting two hours for pizza. If you Google Pizzeria Bianco you will find those who praise it, and those finding it absurd to wait that long.

It is understandable but yet I believe those who find it absurd may be looking at it in the wrong context, and just invision it being a regular run-of-the-mill pizza.

Let me try to find the words to express what I believe the attraction to Pizzeria Bianco to be.

 

First I will admit driving 2500 miles is a bit extreme. But yet then I seek out small artisan's whose motivation is to produce items out of passion and love for their work. Like goat cheese from Soyoung Scanlan, pasta from Justin Neidermeyer, Rancho Gordo beans, June Taylor marmalade's, and yes even pizza from Chris Bianco.

 

I arrived at Pizzeria Bianco two hours before opening and approached it with an open mind regarding their policies and a positive attitude, in which I'm a firm believer holds the difference between a good meal and a great one. Within a hour there must have been a few dozen people. About that time I noticed something magical happening that you don't often see in today's society. Strangers were talking to each other, drinking wine and sharing stories about past meals at Bianco's. Everyone seemed to slow down a notch, and the atmosphere became joyous. People seemed genuinely happy to be there regardless of the 110 degree heat. Once the restaurant opened the same feeling carried over into the dining room. This is what I believe truly good food is about. Bringing people together and taking a moment to breath and enjoy life. It is no small feat to create this type of atmosphere in a restaurant, and it is truly amazing to see those who can.

When the food started coming it was easy to see why people were so happy. Salads that were so fresh that each ingredient burst with flavor. The tomato and mozzarella appetizer was more full of flavor then the one I had at ad hoc a few days before. And to call the pizza's just pizza would be an injustice. Each was unique and different in its own way. The thought came to my mind that tasting this food should be a mandatory curriculum for all culinary students. The ability to make something that good out of flour, yeast, and water and some tomatoes is truly inspiring.

 

In closing people are not waiting two hours for pizza; they are waiting two hours for the precious atmosphere that Chris Bianco has created and the passion he puts into his craft.

 

Many people wait two hours or more in traffic in a weeks time as part of their daily routine. Why not take two hours for something truly enjoyable. I hope you reconsider, and if you do keep a open mind. If you go into it with the notion of it being a ludicrous idea no restaurant can exceed your expectations.

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Guest Amaranth
In closing people are not waiting two hours for pizza; they are waiting two hours for the precious atmosphere that Chris Bianco has created and the passion he puts into his craft.

 

Very well stated Robert40! I agree completely.

 

I hope I am not beleaguering the point, but the wait is not always a problem. The first time I went, I arrived just a few minutes after the 5pm opening and there was no wait at all. I was seated at the bar (which I recommend because it is a great vantage point for watching everything going on in the restaurant) and having pizza within a half hour of arriving. This was a weeknight in December.

 

The waits are more likely to occur on weekends, or in the summer, or (especially) when there is a baseball game at the nearby stadium.

 

As for the wait, as I mentioned in a previous post, Bar Bianco next door is a lovely spot to have a glass of wine from the excellent list (nothing like a dry rose on a 110 day <g>), or choice microbrew while you are waiting. They also offer some antipasto plates for those who need something to get through the wait.

 

While it is all about the food, I think a description of the location will add to the appeal for those who are considering a visit. The restaurant and bar are in two restored buildings which probably date back to the 1910s, part of a protected oasis of restored buildings right in the middle of downtown.

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  • 2 years later...

I was in Phoenix last week and stayed over the weekend for R&R. Went to PB on Saturday, didn't arrive in time for the first seating and ended up waiting for 2.5 hours. Not so bad when you are sitting outside in 85 degree weather drinking cold beer and its pretty rare these days that my wife and I have that kind of time to talk without interruption. The line was very orderly, which a few locals said is not the norm.

 

The news is that Chris Bianco is no longer making the pizzas, due to a flare-up in his asthma. The smoke from the fire and gluten in the dough are aggravating his condition and the doctor told him he needed to quit if he wanted to live much longer.

 

Maybe this explains why the pizza was just not impressive to me. Good enough and I'd be happy to eat it in my neighborhood, but worth a long wait, much less a trip to Phoenix?, no way. The part of the pizza that I thought was very good was the outside ring of crust and many people around us were leaving that on their plates. The bottom of the crust lacked char and crispness and was limp/soggy, just like virtually every other Neapolitan style pizza I've had. I've almost concluded that the Neapolitan style of pizza is lost on me, I just don't 'get' it. To my taste, the pizza I had a Apizza Scholls in Portland last fall is simply far more enjoyable as a food item than what I had at PB, but there's a significant stylistic difference. The roasted vegetable antipasto we had to start was excellent.

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That's an interesting and timely post, tighe.

 

My wife and I just had a pizza from Frank Anthony's in Verona NJ, which seems to have some of the features attributed to the Bianco pizza. Slight char on the rolled edges, scattered char on the bottom, obviously high quality ingredients. Very, very hot oven. They can finish a pizza in under four minutes, based on my observation, with a little bit of char. But, it, too became soggy in the center in just a few minutes. Maybe the fresh tomato smear or tomato pieces had too much moisture.

 

I'm really looking forward to a PB, but the idea of waiting two hours for anything gives me a lot of pause...

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I was in Phoenix last week and stayed over the weekend for R&R. Went to PB on Saturday, didn't arrive in time for the first seating and ended up waiting for 2.5 hours. Not so bad when you are sitting outside in 85 degree weather drinking cold beer and its pretty rare these days that my wife and I have that kind of time to talk without interruption. The line was very orderly, which a few locals said is not the norm.

 

The news is that Chris Bianco is no longer making the pizzas, due to a flare-up in his asthma. The smoke from the fire and gluten in the dough are aggravating his condition and the doctor told him he needed to quit if he wanted to live much longer.

 

Maybe this explains why the pizza was just not impressive to me. Good enough and I'd be happy to eat it in my neighborhood, but worth a long wait, much less a trip to Phoenix?, no way. The part of the pizza that I thought was very good was the outside ring of crust and many people around us were leaving that on their plates. The bottom of the crust lacked char and crispness and was limp/soggy, just like virtually every other Neapolitan style pizza I've had. I've almost concluded that the Neapolitan style of pizza is lost on me, I just don't 'get' it. To my taste, the pizza I had a Apizza Scholls in Portland last fall is simply far more enjoyable as a food item than what I had at PB, but there's a significant stylistic difference. The roasted vegetable antipasto we had to start was excellent.

i was there in October and Bianco was still making pizza. and while the margherita was very, very good (and very much like the one Franny's makes here), there was another pizza recommended by regulars we befriended at the bar next door during out 1.5 hr wait (decent wine list and snacks too), which i'm trying to remember. caramelized onions, sausage and lots of other stuff? a special, i think. anyway, it was ok. a little overloaded with stuff. worth the wait? maybe in Phoenix.

 

then again, some people swear by Motorino. and Keste.

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  • 6 years later...

The journalist Brett Anderson has an article on Chris Bianco. He's just opened another restaurant, and his plan to decentralize cooking is working. As noted up thread the airborne dust, smoke, etc aggravated his asthma to the point of becoming life threatening.

 

White Sonora wheat, a native grain, is preferred.

 

 

The example he set with his pies — impeccable ingredients riding crusts as fine as fresh bakery bread, steamy and crisp from the wood-fired oven — presaged America’s embrace of craft pizza and opened minds to the idea that superlative pies could be the measure of a great chef.

The hosannas from tastemakers who have pronounced his pizza “perfect” (Mario Batali) or the “best” (the critics Ruth Reichl, Jeffrey Steingarten of Vogue, Bill Addison of Eater) are notably unambiguous, particularly for a dish served worldwide.

“It was everything I expected it to be and so much more,” said Riad Nasr, the former co-chef at the New York restaurants Balthazar and Minetta Tavern, who first visited Pizzeria Bianco in 2013 and returned for five days last spring to cook with Mr. Bianco.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/dining/pizza-chris-bianco.html

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