– If I could only eat from one pizza place for the rest of my life, I think I would have to say it would be Lucali.
– I’m still trying to figure that out.
– I guess I make a good pizza.
– [Herrine] This is Mark Iacono. He opened Lucali in 2006. Since then, pizza fans from all over the world have been flocking to his restaurant. Even some celebrities.
– What do you think is the best pizza in Brooklyn? This is something people talk about a lot.
– Lucali’s by far.
– [Herrine] Every afternoon at 5 p.m., hopeful diners wait in line anywhere from two to four hours to put their names down on the list for the night.
– They start taking names at 5, they finish around 5:45, and that’s it. We’re booked.
– It’s definitely worth the wait. It’s definitely worth getting there at 4:30 even if you’re not going to eat until 7:30.
– We got here at 4, my buddy Riley planned the strategy out and said, “You gotta get here at 4 and put your name in at 5,” and we waited about an hour more or less.
– We don’t have a reservation policy. We’re a really small restaurant. We only have 10 tables. We’re open four hours a night. It has to be, one person gets up, the next person has to be waiting to sit down.
– [Herrine] So what makes Mark’s pizza so legendary?
– No, I had no culinary experience. It wound up being that I figured it out as I went along. I had zero experience. I really didn’t know the science behind it. I didn’t understand yeast and how it worked and the effects it had on the dough and the proofing times.
– [Herrine] Mark figured out how to make a delicious pizza, and the restaurant’s history is just as rich as his food.
– I was born and raised here. I still live here. I lived here my whole life, and this pizzeria we stand in today was an old candy store that I grew up in that my dad would bring me and my brothers here, Louie’s candy store.
– [Herrine] After Louie passed away, his wife Rosemary put the place up for rent. At the spur of the moment, Mark decided to sign the lease. Since opening, Lucali gradually built a strong base of fans.
– The first time that I went to Lucali was probably about seven years ago, so I’ve been eating pizza there ever since, and I heard about it through word of mouth, just people saying, “You’ve gotta try this pizza. It’s the best that you will have in Brooklyn.”
– Well, we don’t have much. It’s just pizza and calzone. Joking around, we’re always goofing with the customers, “Pizza and calzone, leave ’em alone. That all he makes.”
– [Herrine] To get a better idea of what makes Lucali pizza so great, I had to step into the kitchen and learn how Mark makes his pizza. My pizza-making skills are so subpar.
– You’re gonna roll the dough.
– I’ll do whatever you want me to do.
– You want a lot of flour, and you want to kind of start almost from the center and roll out.
– Is there a reason why you use a wine bottle instead of a rolling pin?
– Yes. ‘Cause I don’t know how to make pizza. As I mentioned earlier, I never made pizza before, and it was the very beginning, I was probably open a week, and I screwed the dough up. People were screaming at me. They wanted their pizza. I was really slow at the time. I didn’t understand. I was like, “Why won’t it stretch?” So I called my brother, who lives right around the block, and I was like, “Bring me Grandma’s rolling pin, hurry up.” He just took forever, so I just grabbed a wine bottle and just started rolling it out with a wine bottle, and it just stuck.
– Does it do anything for the taste?
– Yeah, the pies do come out a lot crispier.
– Sorry, I have the upper arm strength of a child.
– Put some muscle into it. Don’t put too much thought into it. See, it’s coming perfect.
– You’re doing a great job, and then spread your hands, hold it up, see what you got. Perfect, you’re done. Look, you stretched the perfect dough.
– You make it look so easy.
– I’ve made thousands of these things. Drop it right in the center. The whole thing. OK, now with the bottom you want to just make — go ahead, grab it, you’re gonna do it — a little circle, and like you’re making a spiral. Push it out.
– After working here a month, your forearms will be like Popeye.
– Can’t relate, the only working out I do is…
– Yes. We just dollop it everywhere?
– You’re not slam-dunking basketball.
– So gingerly place it down?
– Just throw it on. That’s it. You’re done. You did an amazing job.
– You’re so kind.
– No, no, you really did. You know you did.
– I think it’s an even distribution. After that, the pizza goes into the oven and is topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil.
– People have been coming here, and I think because its so hard to get in here, they have the pizza, and they don’t want to waste the experience on a calzone, and I’ll send the calzone over, and they don’t order the pizza anymore. Now they just order the calzone. So we’re gonna do a calzone.
– What’s the best way to order the calzone?
– Calzone with a little garlic, and we make a hot pepper sauce that you can put on top.
– And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: the eating portion of this video.
– I never thought that this moment would come. I have tried coming into Lucali’s so many times, and I just haven’t nailed the tactic yet. I think I need to come a little early. And to have the pizza made by Mark himself is just almost too good to be true. This is everything that I want in a pizza. It’s so good! The crust, it just keeps getting better! Normally I have something to say after the first bite, but I truly don’t want it to end, so I’m gonna talk to you after I finish this slice. It’s like the perfect pairing of flavours. It’s truly mind-blowing. I am astounded.
– It’s not bad.
– When you say it’s not bad, that’s, like, truly the biggest understatement of the year. And to top it off, I sat down with Mark and ate the calzone.
– I eat out a lot, and I look for ordinary dishes. Again, this is, pizza is ordinary to me. But who is doing it the best? I grew up with this. You gotta step out of the box. I know everyone plays favoritism to the pizzerias they grew up with, but you need to go out and experience a bunch of pizzerias, and what’s amazing about his pie, what was amazing about his pie, and put it all together and just try to take the pizza to another level.
– So that’s the secret behind the pizza at Lucali. Mark, in my humble opinion, has perfected the pizza, but he sometimes gets a spark for a new idea.
– This pie I just made is inspiring me to make a new pie. I came up with a great idea.
– You heard it here first. Mark eats the first slice of pizza, and he’s like, “I got an idea, and now I know…”
– You inspired it.
– That means so much.
– Do you like garlic?
– I’m Korean.
– Wait, garlic’s big in Korea?
– Are you joking?
– No, I don’t eat a lot of Korean food. I don’t know where to go.
– OK, that I can share with you.
– You gonna take me out for Korean?
– Yes, I can do that. So I’m guessing that this new idea is going to have something to do with garlic?
– I may have to name the pie after you. All right my restaurant is full. I need get back to work.
– I think part of the charm at Lucali is to wait in the line and really build up the anticipation of trying this pizza and this calzone, and then once you taste it, you’re always gonna be wanting it.
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