Responding to Pizza Critics

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If you're here, you know Forza Pizza is all about the pictures. On this site, we (Forza Pizza and you) share, celebrate, and voice our pizza feelings through pizza pictures. You won't find reviews, pizzeria ratings, or "Best Pizza" lists to spark debate and boost traffic. You also won't find verbose articles describing or defending pizza preferences, but recent pizza coverage makes me think we're all due for a reminder. I know you don't come here to read, you come here to see pizza, but please stick with me as this post is longer than usual.

Background - Steve Dolinsky, Chicago's ABC 7 Food Reporter and recipient of multiple James Beard awards for food journalism, very publicly conducted a "Chicago Pizza Quest" where he plowed through over 70 pizzerias in only a couple months. Pretty impressive, so of course I started following along.

Steve asked for suggestions and a lot of Chicago pizza-heads shared their recommendations and favorites, including myself. I visited Steve's website to let him know there's a map that could help with his quest:

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Not the response I was hoping for, but at least he visited.

I have no affiliation with Adreani's mentioned above, I just like their pizza. I do, however, have a personal non-business affiliation with Trattoria Porretta - a staple in the Portage Park community for over fifty years. My grandfather is Pat Porretta and I have a lot of childhood memories at Porretta's eating pizza, playing with dough, and drinking cans of Upper 10 and RC Cola through a straw. I still make pizza there, but only on rare occasions. So I, and apparently several others, recommended my Nonno's spot to Steve. I think I rec'd it in a comment to one of his posts during his quest. Well Steve went, threw it back at us, and I took the bait:

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He is entitled to his opinion and I respect it. I could've, and probably should've, left off the second sentence but his instigation worked and what's done is done. There were a few more heated pizza exchanges and that's when Steve decided to block me:

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While I could've put him on blast and re-posted those heated exchanges, I left it all in his comments. I let it all go, and wanted to keep it that way. But not anymore. Not after a guy with his credentials and audience calls me out in his summary post:

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To clarify, not once did I ask Steve to "promote" Forza Pizza. I simply offered a pizzeria resource while he was taking suggestions (see first pic). I also don't know what he means by "slyly" when referring to an instagram comment. If he had a formal recommendation submittal procedure I, and dozens of others, must've missed it. Still, I'm not blasting him. I'm turning this into an opportunity to reiterate the message and goal of ForzaPizza.com.

The Message - Share your pizza with ForzaPizza.com where we promote and celebrate pizza. This site was created to provide a place where ANYONE can share, like, comment, find, and view pizza pictures from anywhere in the world without being subject to a review, rating system, or excessive verbiage. Simply add it to the map and it becomes part of our community. The environment we've created does not lend itself to pizza-bashing or throwing a recommendation back in someone's face. Like pizza, the environment we created is fun, inviting, and meant to be shared. Thank you to everyone who has supported and contributed to Forza Pizza's mission. Continue to enjoy it!

Reference - Steve's full post is 94,648 characters, roughly 2,000 per pizza, and here is the full article. Although I may not have read the whole thing, I have no issue linking to it as there are actually some good pizza pics in there (happy scrolling!). Who knows, maybe Steve will add them to the Forza Pizza Map when he's done...ha!

P.S. - According to Steve, "PIGUE Syndrome", which I have no idea how to pronounce (peegh? peeg-way? pee-gay? pee-goo-ee?), is something that "hits most Chicagoans" and causes them to recommend a pizzeria based solely on nostalgia and not quality. While Steve thinks this is some sort of ailment, I welcome anyone who wants to discuss pizza of their childhood or their old neighborhood to comment and let me know about it. Better yet, please add it to the map! The nostalgia and memories are what make it celebratory, share-worthy, and meaningful, not the approval of a critic.