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Price complaints about artisinal pizza

My neck of NY is inundated with red sauce Italian places and average pizzerias. A few nicer, shall I say gourmet pizza shops have opened up and I'm shocked at the complaints people have. How is it "expensive" to pay for $14 for a personal pizza with fresh pancetta, cognacc onions, gruyere and fresh herbs, but it's cheap to buy two pepperoni slices that have been sitting at the counter for hours, then heated up for $9.50? I'm very confused by alleged foodies unwillingness to pay a few extra dollars for quality recently.

Seems to me recently that flavors and ingredients is taking a back seat, despite all these new places trying to give a little something different and new. That being said, there are just as many of these new places pumping out "gourmet" personal pizzas for $20 that are nothing more than smaller slice pies, served on a fancy dish.

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  1. Lucali's $25 and worth it!!

    1. You mention some "places pumping out "gourmet" personal pizzas for $20 that are nothing more than smaller slice pies, served on a fancy dish"

      Maybe complainers don't see the difference?

      1. The food cost markup on pizza is tremendous. I'm not saying that pizza places make a fortune (of course some do) but from a strict food markup metric $14 for a personal pizza is expensive.

        I'm not saying that I wouldn't rather spend $14 for something fresh and great - as opposed to $9.50 for two old slices - but I get the complaint.

        There are a lot of "old school peasant/street foods" that are insanely marked up now that people are serving them in restaurants or that they've become trendy. I kind of have the same complaint with some of my local food trucks. Though I do support them - but given an economic hardship they'd have to go first.

        1. Recently I went to a newish artisan pizza place. The four of us spent $14 for a 10" and $21.50 for a $14". Two slices (one of each size), plus one 8 or 10oz (?) beer. My portion was around $17 w/tip. It was very good, but I was still hungry when I left and thought "for $6 bucks I could have had 2 slices of non gourmet and a beer". So based on that I was completely dissatisfied with my overall experience.

          There is another artisan pizza place near me where 10" is about $10/12. When I had a full pie to myself I thought, "hey for $12, that was a pretty cheap dinner". And I immediately said lets go again.

          I don't know why my perspective changes at the different places. Maybe because at the first I was thinking per slice while at the second I was thinking per pie? I guess when I think slice I think non artisan (cheap), but when I think individual pie I think artisan (willing to spend more)?

          6 Replies
          1. re: viperlush

            I want to know where you live where you can get two slices that are even remotely edible and a beer for $6. I have places near me where a beer is $6 or a slice.

            Your second statement is part of the problem. Sharing a half a $14 dollar pie and being hungry as opposed to spending it all and fulfilled is part of the issue by size, but I was talking more quality vs quantity.

            1. re: jhopp217

              Don't know if they still do it, but a place in Boston. 2 slices of straightforward pizza and a Miller for $5.75 (might have switched to a soda instead of beer). Not the best in town, but more than "remotely edible".

              In your OP it seems like you are assuming that all artisan=quality and that nonartisan doesn't. If someone thinks that those two slices of pepperoni taste good, and that they are equally as filling, then should they spend the extra $4.50 to get the personal artisan pizza? Why not go for the more "authentic" pizza than the frou frou?

              1. re: viperlush

                I obviously wasn't clear about the "foodies" aspect of my post. While a nice slice of pepperoni is nice at any time, I'm not taking it over some thinly sliced pancetta, sopresssata or cappiacola.

                Also, without sounding elitist, I grew up in Brooklyn in the late 70's, early 80's, so my definition of edible pizza is a little different. There's a place in NYC that serves dollar slices. It's across from some dive bars that don't serve food. Is it perfect in a drunken stupor? Absolutely! Is it edible otherwise? Hardly.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  And there's a limit to how much extra I would pay for those less common toppings.

                  So, where is your breaking point? How much of a price gap would make you balk at pancetta pizza and make you opt for some perfectly acceptable plain pepperoni?

                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                    When I used to grab a slice, it was usually two slices for dinner. I normally get a white slice and a slice with a topping. I had actually gone about two years without doing this and then one night I stopped out and grabbed a pepperoni and a sausage slice. Cost me $9.75 and both were what I would consider thin slice. I asked what a personal pie half and half toppings. They told me $16. That to me is reasonable, but then I saw a pie with capi, broccoli rabe and house made mozzarella for $18. Didn't make sense to me. One is special and one is ordinary and the prices were almost identical. Looked around and almost everyone was eating the plain jane stuff. So basically I wouldn't pay $16 for Pepperoni and Sausage, but would gladly pay $18 for the other.

                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                      On a bit of a somewhat ironic note. I rarely eat pizza as a meal, but I keep Celeste personal pizzas in the fridge. As far as frozen foods go, these are darn good. They are probably the equivalent of one slice. They cost $1 and sometimes contain multiple toppings

            2. Because there's a depression for many people, and rising gas prices will cause everyone who is not well-off to compensate in other areas. Trendy pizzerias would be like car washes in this regard....

              1. If those two pepperoni slices are freshly made and have only been on the counter for fifteen minutes, does your argument still hold? How much does a decent personal pizza that is only pepperoni and nothing fancy cost?

                You seem to be exaggerating the difference in quality to make those who complain look as bad as possible. Is there something wrong with people who want pizza that is not different and new?

                1 Reply
                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  NO wasn't exaggerating quality to make a point, the point was the quality of pizza vs common ingredient they have on the counter. And my point wasn't that people can't like the same old same old. My point is the price complaint among people that know the difference. Believe me I have many friends who would rather a Big Mac than a burger off the grill.

                2. If the pizza is really good, I'll pay whatever, but honestly, a lot of the so-called artisanal pizza is crap. They may use organic ingredients or locally sourced cheeses, but they just can't make pizza.

                  1. There's this place not too far from our apartment that we've gone to twice now. They have an assortment of individual pizzas that are named after different regions in Italy. Very tasty. The wife and I go and have a starter each which is usually some type of salad, a bottle of wine and a personal pizza each. The pizzas are cut into 4 slices. We usually end up with 2 slices left over which we take home. The problem is that after tax and tip, it runs me about $90. Both times I walked out saying that was tasty but 90 bucks for pizza and wine?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Bkeats

                      That is a privileged pizzeria. $90 would be a month's meals at home for poor people.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        And in India it would feed someone for half a year. Wasn't looking for social commentary. Just responding to an observation about the value proposition of artisanal pizza. If this was a discussion about the value of dining out I know there are plenty of people who don't see the use of it (like my FIL), but I can afford it and I do it regularly. I like to think I'm helping all those starving artists who are working as waiters starve a little less. ;)

                        1. re: Bkeats

                          Here on the Space Coast of Florida, the only artisanal style is 100 miles south of me and is of the California Pizza chain. We have a local that does a good New York style, but that is it.

                          I would gladly pay $15 for a personal pizza. It just is not going to happen often due to my lack of income.