If you live in Westchester (or really anywhere in America), odds are you like pizza — though probably not as much as Mike and Nick Hershfield. These brothers from Somers are the pizza-eating force behind Slice of Westchester, a website and Instagram account they founded with a very specific mission: Eat a slice from every pizza place in Westchester. We sat down with Mike to find out how this crazy (or genius, depending on who you talk to) idea came about and how it’s going so far.
Are you originally from Westchester and how did you come up with Slice of Westchester?
We grew up in Somers, and we still live in Westchester after all these years. We had this idea one day, to go around to all the pizzerias and try their slices. We’ve encountered such incredible pizza talent over the years that we just wanted to try it all. It’s been super exciting so far.
For you guys, what qualifies as a pizzeria? Would it have to be a place that does pizza as the main thing, or any place that has pizza?
We mainly have gone to places that were recommended by our followers. This includes your traditional corner pizzeria and your nice, sit-down restaurant that has a wood-fired oven in the back.
How do you feel about cauliflower crust?
I haven’t come across it yet, but I definitely want to see what they’re doing with it. We’ve been asked about kosher pizza, gluten-free pizza, just anything. I had a pizza the other day that didn’t have sauce or cheese on it, but it was absolutely delicious. I guess you could consider it pizza. It’s super interesting what people are doing.
How many slices so far?
We started Slice of Westchester in early February, so it’s been just about four months. We’ve hit over 127 different pizza places around Westchester, and we have over 6,300 followers [on Instagram], which is amazing. Westchester is really rallying behind us, just super excited about what we’re doing and going out to some of the pizzerias to try them.
I’ve found out that Westchester people are super into their pizza.
Everybody has their favorite local place. A lot of recommendations we get are places that people have been going to since they were children….It’s definitely a meal in people’s regular rotation, so it’s really interesting to see what different pizzerias are doing in the different neighborhoods.
What are some of the best slices that you’ve had so far?
Everybody loves the pizza that they were raised on, that corner store that they always run to. For Nick and me, it was Peppino’s Pizza and Fratelli’s Pizza and Pasta in Somers. It tastes like home. We’ll go into places and say, “we want to try whatever slice you recommend, whatever you’re known for,” and we’ll get anything from a bruschetta slice, to a plain slice. To rank or compare what we’re eating is really tough because there are so many variables. Once we are finished [we want to] release a list of what we think are the best. We’ve only done about one hundred now, and I anticipate there being about 450 pizzerias in Westchester, so maybe we haven’t had the best slice yet.
How are you guys not totally sick of pizza at this point? And how are you not gaining ten pounds a month?
I wouldn’t say I haven’t gained any weight, but if you look through our page, you’ll see that every pizza was different. One day it’s buffalo chicken; another day it’s a nice slice of Sicilian. We had a lobster pizza last week. There’s a nice rotation of different toppings and flavors that we’re getting. Hell, we even had a “Bacon Cheeseburger with French Fries” pizza the other week from [Frankie & Louie’s] in Port Chester. It had ground beef, fries, American cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing on a slice.
How long do you think it’ll take guys to get to all 450?
Probably about another six months to a year.
Any indicators that a place has really good pizza?
I would say never judge a book by its cover. I’ve walked into some places that were holes-in-the-wall and had great pizza. I’ve walked into big, beautiful restaurants that have invested a lot of money in marketing where their pizza was okay. But, you can’t really get a bad slice of pizza.