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Phoenix's Pizzeria Bianco Tops Magazine's National List

From Sam Sifton of The New York Times: A tough loss for New York pizza supremacy, as Pizzeria Bianco of Phoenix has been awarded the title Best Pizza in America by the magazine Every Day With Rachael Ray, according to Lois Najarian O’Neill, a publicist for the television personality. Ms. Ray commissioned the Serious Eats founder Ed Levine and his Slice blog compatriot Adam Kuban to conduct the competition, which involved their eating at some 64 pizzerias across the United States.

Pizzeria Bianco is the brainchild of Chris Bianco, a Bronx native who has been lauded for his pies since opening his restaurant in Phoenix’s Heritage Square neighborhood in 1993. In 2005, Mr. Levine declared Mr. Bianco’s pizzas to be the best in the nation in his book “A Slice of Heaven.” (And wrote about them the year before in the Dining section.)

Waits for a table at Bianco have historically stretched into the hours, in part because of Mr. Bianco’s insistence on making every pie himself. A recent report in the Arizona Republic, however, said Mr. Bianco, 47, has been ordered to stay away from the restaurant because the smoke from the oven and the wheat in the dough were aggravating his asthma.

“My doctor says I have to keep my head out of the oven if I want to see 50,” Mr. Bianco told the newspaper. Mr. Bianco said he would continue to supervise afternoon preparations at the restaurant and greet customers at night as his health permits.

The full results of Ms. Ray’s pizza bracket will be published in the March issue of her magazine, which arrives on newsstands next week.

The Houston-based Russo’s New York Coal-Fired Pizzeria, and New York’s Motorino restaurants, were runners-up for the national prize, Ms. Najarian O’Neill said.

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/its-pizza-oscar-for-bianco-says-rachael-ray/

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