Pizza is one of the Washington region’s most popular and most versatile foods. Restaurants across the area are winning acclaim for boutique-style pies, satisfying customers and restaurant critics alike. But some lament that the scene is becoming less accessible, and that affordable, family-style restaurants are falling by the wayside. We explore the craft of making great pizza and what our pizza scene says about the region as a whole.

Guests

  • Jimmy Marcos Co-Owner, The Original Ledo Restaurant (College Park, Md.)
  • Edan MacQuaid Pizza Chef, Range (Washington, D.C.)
  • Todd Kliman Food and Wine Editor and Restaurant Critic, Washingtonian Magazine

Neapolitan Pizza Making With Edan MacQuaid

Pizzaiolo Edan MacQuaid, chef at Bryan Voltaggio’s Range restaurant in Washington, D.C., talks about his more than 20 years making pizza, the ingredients that go into an authentic Neapolitan-style pie and why he says Chicago deep-dish isn’t really pizza.

Edan MacQuaid’s Pizza Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

250 grams Caputo Pizzeria flour
125 gram cold water
50 grams salt
12 grams cold water combined with 4 grams instant dry yeast.

Instructions:

Put cold water in KitchenAid mixer and add approximately 1/3 of Caputo pizzeria flour. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 of remaining flour. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Add cold water and yeast mixture and remaining flour. Mix on speed 1 for 9 minutes.

Remove dough from mixer and put in a container large enough for dough to double in volume. Cover tightly and refrigerate for about 8-12 hours.

Remove dough from fridge and cut it into 300 gram pieces. Roll dough pieces into a ball, dust with flour and cover. Refrigerate or allow dough balls to rise at room temperature for 4 hours before using.

Stretch pizza dough, add toppings and bake at 550-600 degrees until cheese is melted and crust is golden. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Transcript

  • 12:24:35

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIIf you look at a classic Neapolitan-style pizza, Italy's identity looks right back up at you. The colors of the basic ingredients, the red tomatoes, the green Basil and the white dough, mirror the flag of the country that gave pizza to the rest of the world. But in the Washington region, the link between our favorite styles of pizza and our collective identity is less direct, more complicated.

  • 12:24:58

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIBoutique pizzerias have taken off here in recent years, gourmet types of places that satisfy eaters who are willing to pay a little more for a pie made with an artisan's touch of any style. But the popularity and the proliferation of many of these places mirror the broader demographic trend sweeping through the region, too, a place where affordability in every sense is a radioactive issue, even when it comes to a humble slice of cheese.

  • 12:25:26

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIJoining us to explore the craft of making great pizza and what we can learn about the region as a whole by studying Washington's pizza scene is Todd Kliman, food and wine editor and restaurant critic at Washingtonian. Todd, always a pleasure.

  • 12:25:40

    MR. TODD KLIMANAlways a pleasure for me, too.

  • 12:25:42

    NNAMDIJimmy Marcos is co-owner of The Original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, Md. Jimmy Marcos, welcome.

  • 12:25:48

    MR. JIMMY MARCOSKojo, thank you for having me.

  • 12:25:49

    NNAMDIAnd Edan MacQuaid is pizza chef at Range Restaurant in Washington, D.C. Edan, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:25:56

    MR. EDAN MACQUAIDHappy to be here, Kojo.

  • 12:25:57

    NNAMDIOf course, it's a Food Wednesday conversation. You can join it by calling 800-433-8850. What do you think you can learn about a city from studying the pizza you can get there? What do you think Washington City says about area? 800-433-8850. What do you think Washington's pizza says about the area? 800-433-8850. You can send email to kojo@wamu.org, or send us a tweet, @kojoshow.

  • 12:26:23

    NNAMDITodd, you're a D.C. area native, grew up in Prince George's County. So at this point, you're rather used to the things that, oh, New Yorkers like to see when they go off about how they feel that D.C. isn't a real city, like how can you get a good bagel here. But you wrote a number of years ago that when people say, we don't have good pizza here, you take those as fighting words. So before we start, what kind of pizza did you grow up eating here in the Washington area, and how has the pizza around here changed over the time you've been living in the region?

  • 12:26:56

    KLIMANWell, actually, I grew up eating Ledo.

  • 12:26:57

    NNAMDIAha.

  • 12:26:58

    KLIMANAnd I was just reflecting on this before coming in. The very first long piece of food writing I ever did was for my high school newspaper. There was a pizza roundup. It was the longest thing in the paper, and it was -- Ledo was one of the restaurants, and I think probably the only restaurant that is still around.

  • 12:27:21

    NNAMDIHe has been writing long since then. How fair do you...

  • 12:27:25

    NNAMDIBut we love it. How fair do you think it is to use pizza as a measuring stick for what makes a city a good city?

  • 12:27:33

    KLIMANAs fair as any kind of measuring stick in one sense. I mean, I think if you look at the pizza scene and you look at it against what's happening in this area socially, culturally, the way people live, they're deep divisions in the D.C. area. And in my lifetime, they've become deeper. And I think you see that in the pizza culture. You have boutique pies and designer pies, and I'm not saying anything about the quality. There are some terrific pizzas.

  • 12:28:06

    NNAMDIAnd we'll talk about that.

  • 12:28:07

    KLIMANWe will talk about that. And at the same time, when you had a lot of places like that and when those kinds of places dominate the scene, what you get then is a night for a family of four of going out for pizza. That's $120. And there's something -- much as I might love the place and as much as I might love pizza, there's something fundamentally wrong with that. Pizza is a proletarian thing.

  • 12:28:36

    KLIMANAnd, you know, we -- at the magazine, we've tried to always look at things in that way. There are may be good pizzas but put them in the category they belong to, and also make room for the pizza for the common man, what I call pro-pizza. Food cultures are good if they reach people, speak to people at multiple levels.

  • 12:29:01

    KLIMANAnd in this area, it's -- well, it's an interesting scene, but you have -- you tend to have a lot of the interesting things happening at the top. And you have some of the long-standing things happening at that bottom kind of more common level. You don't have anything really in between, and this is what we're seeing in a lot of different ways culturally and socially in the D.C. area right now.

  • 12:29:25

    NNAMDIWell, let's talk about the long-standing leaders. Jimmy Marcos, your family has been in the pizza business for more than half a century here in this area. And the Ledo name is a pizza brand onto itself here locally. Even though your family sold the name a few decades ago and your original restaurant is no longer affiliated with the chain of Ledos that are scattered across town, there are actually a lot of urban myths that float around about how the original Ledo developed its square pizza shape.

  • 12:29:54

    NNAMDISo let's start from there. How did the square pizza thing become a Ledo thing? And then I want to know, how did the Ledo thing become a Ledo thing? But first, the square pizza thing.

  • 12:30:04

    MARCOSWell, Kojo, the square pizza came around back when my dad opened the place, and they started doing the pizza. There weren't really that may round pans available, and what was available was very expensive. So they stuck with the baking pans that were -- you know, they used them. They already had them in the shop, and it just evolved from there. They never changed it. So -- and it became quite, you know, just a distinct ideal of it. So it's just one of those things that kind of happen that really turned out well.

  • 12:30:37

    NNAMDIWell, one urban myth that turns out to be true, how did the name Ledo take hold? Where did that come from?

  • 12:30:43

    MARCOSI was always told by my dad when they bought equipment that they had, a little bit of bar stools and everything, to open the place, the last thing they thought about was the sign for out fronting, the name. And back then, they charge for the signs by the letter. So they knew that if they kept a shorter name, they could afford it. My dad was...

  • 12:31:06

    KLIMANShould have called it Elle's Pizza.

  • 12:31:07

    MARCOSYeah, Elle's Pizza. My dad was in World War II, and he was in the air force, and they flew over the Burma Hump while they were building the Ledo Road. So I think that was always stuck with him. But I will tell you, when they've searched the name out, there was a restaurant called Ledo, and it was spelled L-I-D-O, the proper way. So one of them had to brainstorm of changing it to an E, and the rest is history, I tell you.

  • 12:31:32

    NNAMDIRemind me about the owner of the place called Mustaches who had a mustache, and he said, well, that was the name of the place when I bought it, and it was cheaper for me to grow a mustache than to change the name.

  • 12:31:43

    NNAMDIYou're restaurant seems to be very aware of the power of nostalgia when it comes to food. People like our guests grew up with it. They have memories of eating your pizza after games, birthday parties. How would you say nostalgia fits your brand?

  • 12:31:59

    MARCOSYou know, I think it's a comfort thing when people come back and they eat with us, they know what they're getting. It kind of takes them down memory lane. The quality is always there. You know, our dad always taught us, you got to concentrate to make sure that the food is always the best it can be in serving and that the help is always the best customer service, number one.

  • 12:32:20

    MARCOSSo, you know, we try to pay attention to that stuff. We haven't changed too much, you know, the menu-wise. We kept the favorite staples on there. We'll try new stuff here or there. But, you know, it's always the pizza they come back for and...

  • 12:32:35

    NNAMDIAnd they can say to their children, I ate pizza here with Johnny Unitas, Lefty Driesell. I was here when Morgan Wootten proposed to his wife.

  • MARCOSOh, yeah.

  • 12:32:43

    NNAMDIIt all happened at Ledo. What is it, Todd Kliman, that you like about the pizza itself at Ledo's?

  • 12:32:49

    KLIMANJust that there's nothing else that I've ever eaten that's like it. I mean, I like -- I love things that are completely singular. And Ledo -- The Original Ledo is -- has got this crust that kind of taste like the top part of a southern biscuit, and the sauce is a little sweet, and they use a cheese that nobody uses, well, not many people use anyway. Most pizza places are known for using mozzarella.

  • 12:33:16

    KLIMANLedo's uses a smoked provolone, very, very high butterfat smoked provolone, creates a sort of gooey ooze. And it's just -- there's nothing really comparable to it. And people who are coming here for the first time who grew up in a pizza city like Chicago or New York or Philadelphia, like my wife, they encounter this thing and they don't know what to make of it. It's not pizza. It took my wife two years to come around, but she finally has, and the relationship is on steady footing now.

  • 12:33:50

    NNAMDITodd Kliman, he is food and wine editor and restaurant critic at Washingtonian. He joins us in studio along with Jimmy Marcos, co-owner of The Original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, Md., and Edan MacQuaid is pizza chef at Range Restaurant in Washington, D.C.

  • 12:34:05

    NNAMDIWe're taking your calls at 800-433-8850. Are you partial to any regional style of pizza? Chicago style? New Haven- tyle? What do you like best about it? Is there any such thing in your view as a Washington style? Give us a call at 800-433-8850. Edan MacQuaid, there are a few people who have as many fingerprints on D.C.'s modern pizza scene as you do.

  • 12:34:29

    NNAMDIYou've made pizzas at 2Amy's, at Pizzeria Paradiso, but it's my understanding that you got your first job in the pizza business here in Washington after you applied for a job at a Burger King on P Street, walked across the street and applied at Pizza Paradiso. And you were hired there and not at Burger King. At what point after that did you start developing just this passion for making pizza and an understanding that you could be really, really, really good at this?

  • 12:35:02

    MACQUAIDWell, Kojo, I always worked in restaurants as a kid in high school and in my summer vacations and stuff, and I was always kind of a fire bug. So when I get into Pizzeria Paradiso and I saw they were making food with an actual fire, it just -- it took off from there and haven't really looked back. It's just I kind of got obsessed with.

  • 12:35:24

    NNAMDIYou said ever since you were a teenager, you just kind of knew you wanted to work in restaurants.

  • 12:35:29

    MACQUAIDYeah. I'm not sure it was the best decision, but it's what I chose, and it's working out all right, I guess.

  • 12:35:36

    NNAMDIYou see, it's funny with food lovers, one becomes a food writer and the other one decides he wants to work in restaurants. But you have become a champion of sorts of the Neapolitan-style pizza, the iconic Italian style. Why did you gravitate towards this kind of pie? Why do you like cooking it, and why do you like eating?

  • 12:35:55

    MACQUAIDWell, like I said, I think the cooking -- as far as cooking goes, I think the fire is really an integral part, and everything happens really fast. I'm kind of impatient. So if I can have a pizza in, you know, from a dough ball and out of the oven in four or five minutes, it's -- I get a satisfaction out of that. What was the other question?

  • 12:36:16

    NNAMDIWell, why do you like eating?

  • 12:36:18

    MACQUAIDOh, it's very fresh, the tomato and the buffalo mozzarella. Light, easily digested.

  • 12:36:26

    NNAMDII heard, maybe this is an urban myth, maybe it's true, that you once traveled to Naples, the mecca of pizza, and ate pizza at pretty much every meal until the time you left. Is that true?

  • 12:36:38

    MACQUAIDThat's true.

  • 12:36:39

    NNAMDIWhat did you learn about pizza and especially the craft of making pizza from doing that?

  • 12:36:46

    MACQUAIDI learned that even in Naples, there's a lot of bad pizza.

  • 12:36:50

    MACQUAIDBut the ones that are good are really, really good, probably three or four places in particular. And I didn't actually get to spend any time in anybody's kitchen, but I got to kind of eat their food and dissect it and see what I wanted to represent with my own food.

  • 12:37:06

    NNAMDIAnd by then, you knew what you wanted to do. Todd, what do you make of the Neapolitan style, and what do you make of the boom of places in D.C. that have started doing it in the past 10-plus year or so?

  • 12:37:18

    KLIMANHonestly, I'm kind of mystified by it. I think it's great pizza, but I think it's also a pizza that has so little margin for error. Everything has got -- every ingredient has got to be so fresh and of such high quality because there are so few ingredients. The crust has got to be perfect. It's got to be that right kind of thinness. It's got to puff on the perimeter and crisp up, and it's got to have just enough chew on the inside.

  • 12:37:47

    KLIMANAnd it's really, really hard to do well. Edan does it well. Not everybody does it well. And so you almost say, well, if this is going to be the style, why? Why not choose a different style which is a little bit more forgiving where you can load it up with more toppings and have a crust that doesn't have to be so -- almost like the platonic ideal of pizza crust? It's -- I think, in part, it's regarded as the most sophisticated of the various pizza styles.

  • 12:38:25

    KLIMANI mean, you have Chicago style which is deep dish and some people liken it to a casserole. You have Ledo which is in a category onto itself. You have New York...

  • 12:38:34

    MACQUAIDThank you.

  • 12:38:36

    KLIMANYou have New York and the pies that, you know, bleed out into Philadelphia and Jersey which are essentially in that style. That's its own thing. And that's, again, a little bit more forgiving. Everything else is so much more forgiving. But in this area, I think it's just generally regarded as this is the pie that connects you to the mother land, the source, and it's also the pie that is the most elegant.

  • 12:39:02

    KLIMANIt's the canvas, if you will, for the fresh, local and seasonal movement. And it's -- it tends to embody all these things that are current in the food world today, fashionable in the food world today and also, I think, speaks to a lot of Washingtonians who have money and don't think twice about dropping, you know, $70 for two on a meal of pizza.

  • 12:39:29

    NNAMDIAnd between that and Ledo's is what comes to characterize Washington area pizza. Jimmy, have you ever been to Italy yourself on a pizza pilgrimage?

  • 12:39:37

    MARCOSI have not. I've kind of sharpened my skills just mainly on the places around town. And I'm a big fan of this man to my right. I think Edan is -- he's an artist. That's the best way to describe it. So -- but...

  • 12:39:52

    MACQUAIDThanks.

  • 12:39:53

    MARCOSYou know, there's so many different types of pizzas. It's wonderful. I was telling Todd when we were sitting out there talking, I've always kind of considered our pizza a little bit like the Pink Floyd of pizza. It's all messed up and out there and just, you know, a little weird. People just -- but when they try it, it's -- they're usually hooked, and it's a great item. And...

  • 12:40:13

    NNAMDIIt appeals to them, and we have a lot of callers who want to get into this conversation. Here is Andrew in Alexandria, Va.

  • 12:40:22

    ANDREWYes. Hi, Kojo. I had -- hello?

  • 12:40:26

    NNAMDIYou're on the air, Andrew. Go ahead.

  • 12:40:28

    ANDREWI had two questions, and one is what is the small business opportunity for, you know, pizza places now with all the big chains that are, you know, going? And maybe if you could speak to the business aspect. And the other is I have heard that actually pizza was not an Italian dish. It was a hybrid. So could you speak to that?

  • 12:40:48

    NNAMDITodd Kliman?

  • 12:40:51

    KLIMANYou know, pizza in America is different from pizza in Italy. So -- but, you know, there's pizza in Italy, and there's pizza here and there. There -- there's overlap. As far as business, you know, starting any business in the restaurant world is tough. And...

  • 12:41:15

    MARCOSHigh risk, very high risk.

  • 12:41:15

    KLIMANHigh risk. And at the same time, though, the businesses that tend to flourish that are not big-time kinds of places with lots of high-profile people or big pockets behind them are niche restaurants. They do one thing. And so I think this is one reason why you're seeing a lot of pizza places emerge now. You've got a lot of burger places. In the economy that we have, you're seeing a lot of places that are just devoting themselves to one thing.

  • 12:41:44

    KLIMANThe pizza culture, as a result, has changed a good deal over the last few years. There are so many more styles in the marketplace. We've got more Chicago style. We have New York style, as a new place that just opened up on 3rd and Mass., Wiseguy. There's New Haven-style pizza. There are two different places: Pete's New Haven Style Apizza and Haven Pizzeria in Bethesda. It's opening up the field, and there's much more, I think, opportunity, but also much more for the diner to choose from.

  • 12:42:21

    NNAMDII was about to say on the one hand there's much more interest in a wider variety of pizza. On the other hand, from the standpoint of a business owner, Jimmy Marcos, how difficult is it to open up what Andrew is thinking of, a small pizza shop? And then I'll ask you the same question, Edan.

  • 12:42:38

    MARCOSI think that, nowadays, it's very hard. You have somebody going into it -- first of all, most of the funding for restaurants, people usually go to banks, and banks are very tight right now with lending money and very leery of restaurants 'cause of the high failure rate. It's, you know, it's a risky endeavor, but I think a lot of the times it's fueled by passion. When we were franchising, I know sometimes we would get a very smart business person who had skills, you know, front of the house, back of the house also.

  • 12:43:11

    MARCOSThey would be successful. Sometimes you had some come in with just the passion, no experience or anything. They would struggle. So a lot of the success depends on the individual. And, you know, as far as taking that risk and usually putting everything on the line, it can get quite costly. So...

  • 12:43:30

    NNAMDIWhat do you say to Andrew, Edan?

  • 12:43:33

    MACQUAIDI think it's difficult to open a restaurant of any type in D.C. without pretty deep pockets. You can run into a lot of -- you have to be very careful with the space you choose. You know, the location is always important, and then basically the consistency of the product and getting your name out there. That -- those are the...

  • 12:43:54

    NNAMDIAnd, Andrew, I got to tell you, from one of the things I have been reading about -- and Jimmy Marcos can tell you more about this -- there was a time when University Boulevard was being reconstructed, and Ledo's had some fairly tough times, and workers really did empty nickels from the pinball machine to keep the lights on, Jimmy?

  • 12:44:17

    MARCOSThere's all kinds of stories like that. Unfortunately, I don't go that far back. I know that...

  • 12:44:23

    NNAMDIYeah. Those were the 1950s, I guess.

  • 12:44:25

    MARCOSYeah. And I know that when my dad and his partner decided on the location, they had a little bit of luck in that sense, too, because it was just a two-lane road.

  • 12:44:36

    NNAMDIMm hmm, in those days.

  • 12:44:37

    MARCOSAnd they weren't even sure, but I believe the next year they started construction on the -- they changed it to a two-lane highway, more like, and -- which really helped business. Unfortunately, they had to get through that tough part of the construction.

  • 12:44:50

    NNAMDIWhenever there's construction going on…

  • 12:44:52

    MARCOSRight.

  • 12:44:52

    NNAMDI...business is going to slow down for a while. You only hope to survive it so that...

  • 12:44:56

    MARCOSYes.

  • 12:44:56

    NNAMDI...you can benefit from what happens afterwards. And before we go to a break, I suspect Todd Kliman may be able to answer Julius' question in Washington. Julius, your turn.

  • 12:45:06

    JULIUSHi. Can you guys hear me?

  • 12:45:07

    NNAMDIYes, we can.

  • 12:45:07

    KLIMANYes.

  • 12:45:08

    JULIUSAwesome. I have a bunch of questions. I'm a pizza geek. First question is, does anybody remember the Rainbow and Dove spot that used to be in Georgetown?

  • 12:45:16

    NNAMDIRainbow and Dove spot that used to be in Georgetown. I don't.

  • 12:45:20

    MARCOSI don't.

  • 12:45:20

    MACQUAIDNever heard of it.

  • 12:45:20

    KLIMANWhat's the word? Rainbow and Dove?

  • 12:45:22

    NNAMDIRainbow and Dove. It was a pizza place, apparently.

  • 12:45:25

    JULIUSMy father used to bring that pizza home for us on Fridays, and...

  • 12:45:28

    NNAMDINope.

  • 12:45:28

    JULIUS...I still hear about that pizza man. But it's nothing like Ledo's. Love Ledo's, but, man, oh. Anyway, my other question is I have the opportunity now. I've been starting to make my own pizzas, and I've been trying to figure out, you know, how to make a good pizza at home, you know, ideal with the kids. And I got my crust sort of crusty, but it still doesn't do what pizza places crust do. Can you help me out?

  • 12:45:57

    NNAMDIWell, first, you got to invite either Edan or Jimmy over to your house for dinner. Then maybe you might get some help. What would you advise, Edan?

  • 12:46:03

    MACQUAIDWell, I did leave a recipe for your webpage, I think.

  • 12:46:12

    NNAMDIYep. You can find it at kojoshow.org on a recipe there, Julius. That might be able to give you some help.

  • 12:46:16

    MACQUAIDAnd then I think a big thing with home pizza makers that are kind of pizza geeks is oven mods, which is disabling your -- I'm not recommending this, but I've heard of people disabling the safety mechanism on the cleaning cycle so they can bring their oven up to 700 degrees.

  • 12:46:35

    NNAMDIBut he's not necessarily recommending that. As a matter of fact, if you go to our website, Julius, you will see a video of Edan in the process of making pizza there, so kojoshow.org. And here's some advice from Todd Kliman.

  • 12:46:46

    KLIMANA quick little shortcut tip. Go to Vace, Connecticut Avenue, Cleveland Park. Buy one of their balls of homemade dough, take it home, roll it out. You can even buy a little tin of their sauce. You can even buy their mozzarella. Makes a fantastic pizza at home.

  • 12:47:04

    NNAMDIJust don't tell your kids. Tell them you made it from scratch. Thank you very much for your call, Julius. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue this Food Wednesday conversation on pizza. If you have called, stay on the line. If you haven't yet, the number is 800-433-8850. What do you think is the most important thing when it comes to making a great pizza? Send us email to kojo@wamu.org. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 12:49:18

    NNAMDIWelcome back. We're talking pizza with Todd Kliman, food and wine editor and restaurant critic at Washingtonian, Jimmy Marcos is co-owner of The Original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, Md., and Edan MacQuaid is pizza chef at Range restaurant in Washington, D.C. You can call us, and many of you have.

  • 12:49:36

    NNAMDISo if you're trying to get through now, send us an email to kojo@wamu.org. I'll get to the phones in a second, but, Todd, you wrote a number of years ago that when it comes to arguments about authenticity in pizza, things get complicated and kind of pointless because in the end, there are only two kinds of pizza, good and bad. Why do you feel that way?

  • 12:49:57

    KLIMANWell, I feel that way about food in general, and then as about music in general, about books in general. It's a twist on what Duke Ellington said about music. There aren't many kinds of music. There are only two kinds. There's good and there's bad. Questions of authenticity are just so thorny and so complicated, and it's your angle on things. It's how far back you're willing to go. Things change.

  • 12:50:24

    KLIMANIf you look at New York today, New York is generally regarded as the -- well, as long as you're not a Chicagoan -- the pizza scene in the country, and it's changing a great deal. It's changed a great deal in the last three or four years. There are pizza places that the city never used to have, more boutique, more designer, people are pushing things in different directions. Things evolve. Things change. Likewise, you can't get -- you can't count on getting a great bagel everywhere in New York anymore.

  • 12:50:54

    KLIMANThat kind of handmade bagel is very, very hard to get. So things evolve, thing change, language changes. And what I think ultimately matters is whether people -- making something, have passion for it, whether they have dug down deep into the history to learn what this thing is, what it's supposed to be and whether they're putting their soul into it.

  • 12:51:22

    NNAMDIAnd in the final analysis, Jimmy Marcos, I guess it's just whether people love your pizza or don't.

  • 12:51:28

    MARCOSI think that's what it boils down to. And, you know, there are so many different types out there, and you can never please everybody all the time. But, you know, it's just -- you can go from Spago in LA to Pizza Hut whenever you want to compare it to. There is just so many different kinds that people will, you know, they love pizza, they'll try it. And every once in a while, you get lucky, and they hit the one that they like the best. And...

  • 12:51:55

    NNAMDIThat's the one they'll keep going back to.

  • 12:51:57

    KLIMANAnd pizza is one of these foods where it's sometimes good even when it's not good.

  • 12:52:00

    MARCOSYeah.

  • 12:52:01

    KLIMANOr it's a great breakfast food. I mean, not to keep singing Ledo's praises, but...

  • 12:52:07

    MARCOSPlease keep going.

  • 12:52:08

    KLIMANWell, yes, of course. But, I mean, I think Ledo is a great cold pizza to have the next morning for breakfast, and there are certain pizzas you can do that with, certain pizza you can't.

  • 12:52:17

    NNAMDIWell, we got an email from George in Cleveland Park, who says, "2Amys introduced me to a great pizza when I moved here in 2004. And if Edan was the one who made it for me, I wanna say thank you. I like food that's made with great ingredients. And when I tasted the pizza they were making there, it opened my mind to how great pizza could be. That and the only pizza I had had in D.C. prior to that was from Jumbo Slice at midnight on a Saturday. Thanks, Edan and 2Amys."

  • 12:52:42

    NNAMDIBut people like to get strict about rules, Edan. In the past decade or so, the Italian government made a big deal of enshrining rules into law about what can and cannot be called Neapolitan-style pizza. What exactly do those standards call for? And how important to you is it to follow them to the letter if at all? Do you think -- how important do you think that is to the people eating pizza?

  • 12:53:04

    MACQUAIDI don't think it's very important. It goes -- I think it's a great marketing tool, and I think that's really what the Italians intended. It's -- draws on using a lot of DOP agricultural products, which increases sales and exports all around the world. So -- but having said that, I think that the standards or the disciplinary is very direct, and it -- it's also -- it's open in interpretation. But if you follow it and you really take it seriously, you will make a really good pizza. So it's double edged. It serves to...

  • 12:53:41

    NNAMDIA marketing tool, but it also works. Here is Mary...

  • 12:53:43

    MACQUAIDYeah.

  • 12:53:44

    NNAMDI...in Bethesda, Md. Mary, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:53:47

    MARYHi. Thanks for taking my call. I wanted to thank Jimmy Marcos, his family, for making my Sundays as a kid such a blast. Sometimes we would go to church, sometimes waiting at the Ledo's. But every day after church, we'd end up -- or every Sunday at the Ledo's with other dads eating beer nuts and drinking Shirley Temples and getting our weight and our fortune outside and doing the cigarette machine. And it was such a blast. And I was really heartbroken to see The Original's closed, but I just wanted to thank your family for making my childhood such fun.

  • 12:54:26

    MARCOSWell, we should thank you.

  • 12:54:28

    NNAMDIAnd, of course, The Original Ledo Restaurant is still in College Park, Md. So, Mary...

  • 12:54:35

    MARCOSYeah, we just went down the road about a half mile to a newer site, and it's been very successful, and we're very, very happy about it.

  • 12:54:42

    NNAMDIYou could start it for a whole new generation yourself, Mary. Thank you very much for your call. Here is Rico in Germantown, Md. Hi, Rico.

  • 12:54:51

    RICOGood afternoon. How are you today?

  • 12:54:53

    NNAMDII'm well.

  • 12:54:54

    RICOWell, I wanted to make a comment or an observation. I'm originally from New York, and I am a pizza lover. I could have it five to six days a week, six meals a day.

  • 12:55:05

    RICOI love my pizza. One observation is that at home, my oven heats up so close to 600 degrees. So when I make homemade pizza, it's pretty good. Now, what I've seen is some of the places in here that when I reheat that pizza very much like they do in the little pizza shops or pizzerias in New York City -- how we called them -- the pizza is prepared ahead of time, and when you ask for a slice, they'll put it back in the oven for you.

  • 12:55:35

    RICOThe pizza in the D.C. Metro area, it taste very much like New York pizza when it's reheated at a very high temperature for five to seven minutes depending on the crust. And I want to know if anybody here has observed that.

  • 12:55:55

    MACQUAIDI believe that's the proper way.

  • 12:55:57

    NNAMDITodd Kliman.

  • 12:55:58

    KLIMANWell, I just like the reheating of the slice. I think it's makes, you know, you can take a decent slice, you reheat it. Everything is crispier on the bottom. It's a great thing. And I think I would love to see the city have more options for buy the slice. I think it's democratic, it's accessible, it's fun, and it's cheap. And we just don't have enough places like that in this area. And that also contributes to this divide that I was alluding to earlier that it's really just not possible enough for people to get their hands on pizza as a, you know, a walkabout option, as a quick meal that cost five, six bucks.

  • 12:56:45

    NNAMDIRico, thank you very much for your call. And we got an email from Joe that I think Edan may have a response to. Joe asked, "Is there any place in or around D.C. that knows how to make Sicilian pizza?" Edan.

  • 12:56:58

    KLIMANNot one that I know of but I'd love to see one.

  • 12:57:01

    NNAMDIBut I heard you're working on something.

  • 12:57:04

    KLIMANI'm been testing recipes, just coming along...

  • 12:57:07

    KLIMAN...but I don't know a place yet.

  • 12:57:09

    NNAMDIWell, Edan's working on a recipe for a Sicilian pizza, so keep your eye out for that, Joe. We don't have a great deal of time left, but here is Arnold in Columbia, Md., with a quick warning. Arnold, you're on the air. You got about 30 seconds.

  • 12:57:25

    ARNOLDOK. Just wanted to quickly say, I opened up my first franchise in Greenbelt, Md., Atlanta Bread, in 2003. And I'm one of those failures. The passion is true. The work ethic's got to be there. I had 25 years of business experience, but my passion and emotion got the best, and I expanded too quickly. So I ended up getting out of the business. It's 18 hour a day. You live and breath for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it's a very difficult business.

  • 12:57:57

    NNAMDISo...

  • 12:57:57

    ARNOLDAnd hardest phone call you can ever make is call your funding and your support, telling them you're short of million seven.

  • 12:58:04

    NNAMDIOh, that had to be tough. But thank you very much for sharing that story. Of course, that does not take away from the fact that there's a lot of great pizza available around Washington. Todd Kliman is food and wine editor and restaurant critic at Washingtonian. Jimmy Marcos, co-owner of The Original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, Md. Edan MacQuaid, pizza chef at Range restaurant in Washington. Thank you all for joining us. And thank you all for listening.

  • 12:58:26

    MARCOSIt's a pleasure.

  • 12:58:27

    KLIMANThanks, Kojo.

  • 12:58:28

    MACQUAIDThank you.

  • 12:58:28

    NNAMDII'm Kojo Nnamdi. Congratulations in advance, by the way.

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