Any way you slice it, pizza museum is paradise for pie lovers

August 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

Courtesy of Brian Dwyer

Brian Dwyer, far right, and the crew behind Pizza Brain show off their additions to the pizza museum.

Chances are you love pizza, but do you really love it? A group of dedicated enthusiasts in Philadelphia do, and they have made it their mission to pay homage to the versatile treat through a record-setting pizza memorabilia collection and, well, pizza.

Pizza Brain – half pizza shop, half museum (with extra ‘sauce’some‘) – is set to open its doors in Philly’s Kensington neighborhood in September.

“We look for things that embody the spirit of pizza – community, fun, togetherness, mystery, intrigue, unadulterated awesomeness,” said Brian Dwyer, the brain behind Pizza Brain. “It is hard to walk into a room with a pizza and not make friends.” 

Courtesy of Brian Dwyer

Yes, he loves pizza enough to shave it into his head.

With a carefully cultivated collection, the museum will attempt to stimulate all of the eater’s sensibilities: Pizza-themed music pumps through speakers, movie clips from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Home Alone” play in the background, and everywhere are advertisements from the early days of the frozen pie – not to mention those anthropomorphic crime-fighting turtles who are synonymous with pizza for any self-respecting child of the ’90s.

“I accredit Michelangelo as the unofficial patron saint of pizza,” Dwyer, 28 (referring to the character from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” not the Renaissance genius).

Courtesy of Brian Dwyer

Brian’s love for pizza is permanent, evidenced by his “saucesome” tattoo.

Dwyer, who even rocks a pizza tattoo on his back, says there wasn’t one particular moment that led to his obsession with the pie. “I don’t really recall my first pizza experience,” he said. “But there is a haze of Chuck E. Cheeses and fun.”

The goal of the museum is to show how the classic food has “permeated everything,” he said. The museum will be set up like an “ever-evolving, living, breathing art installation” enhanced by audience participation, he added.

Courtesy of Brian Dwyer

Brian shows off his pizza memorabilia, which will be on display at Pizza Brain.

And of course, fresh pies are the main attraction. 

The restaurant will serve traditional American thin-crust pies and slices. Dwyer’s long-term vision is that the shop will be at once a mecca for ‘za lovers, a to-do list item for the gastro-tourist (much like Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., or Skyline Chili in Cincinnati, Ohio), and a local pizza shop where diners can grab an excellent slice.

But no matter which reason for stopping in, it all goes back to the universal allure of pizza.

Dwyer, a self-described film school dropout, is a character known around Philly for his pizza prowess. “People will yell at me on the street and say ‘What’s up Pizza Man!’” he said. “They say, ‘I love pizza!’ And I say ‘I love pizza too!’”

He adds, “If you ask 10 people what their favorite pizza memory is, [they will each] have a story to tell. It is a great way to connect with people.”

And while Dwyer considers himself a pizza purist, his favorite memories involve eats that go back to simple comfort.

“I grew up on Little Caesars and loved my mom’s pizza bagel bites,” Dwyer said. “I still look fondly on those memories.”

Tell us, what’s your favorite pizza memory?

Matthew Moll is a multimedia journalist living in New York and he’s wondering if you’re going to eat that. You can follow his local food tweets at @tasteoflocal.

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