Pizza needs no introduction, which made it the ideal food for a new pop-up museum.
“If we had to pick the planet’s most popular or celebrated food, it would probably be pizza,” said Alexandra Serio, executive creative director of the Museum of Pizza and chief content officer at Nameless Network, which is behind the experience. “Pizza is ubiquitous.”
The Museum of Pizza features more than a dozen exhibitions inspired by the iconic New York City food at the Williamsburg hotel The William Vale. The works range from a “cheese cave” inspired by Lebanon’s Jeita Grotto to a mirror-based installation by Signe Pierce and Emma Stern dubbed “The Pizza Vortex” to the psychedelic “Pizza Beach” by Adam Green.
Serio’s favorite, though, is the first thing ticket holders will encounter upon entering the museum: a projection of pizza expert Scott Wiener giving a history of pizza, along with a display of framed pizza boxes pulled from his Guinness World Records-holding collection.
“It’s very Willy Wonka in the best way,” Serio said.
If there’s anything involving pizza, Wiener — whose pizza credentials include founder of Scott’s Pizza Tours, author of “Viva la Pizza!: The Art of the Pizza Box” and co-host of the Thrillist series “Really Dough?” — is there. So he naturally jumped at the chance to participate in the museum.
“I just love the food,” said Wiener, who was fresh off his annual pizza charity event, Slice Out Hunger. “I’m just completely and totally absorbed by it.”
Wiener culled nearly 70 pizza boxes from his collection, which totals around 1,500 collected from more than 80 countries, for the museum.
“It’s a mixture of pizza boxes you see every day, and a mix of ones that are totally bonkers,” said Wiener, who worked with artist Steph Mantis to select and frame them. “Steph and I sifted through the entire collection and picked out the ones we thought were really striking.”
It wouldn’t be a museum of pizza without some actual pizza. And Williamsburg Pizza is serving slices in a pizza parlor replica, complete with red-and-white checkerboards, found at the end of the experience.
“We’re a really classic New York slice,” said Williamsburg Pizza partner Ashwin Deshmukh, who expects to have upward of 500 pies a day to accommodate the crowds. “Everything we do is an homage to the pizza we grew up eating.”
Each ticket comes with a slice, and a portion of proceeds from sales are going to Slice Out Hunger, which benefits hunger relief efforts.
The pop-up runs through Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays, and Oct. 29 to Nov. 18 4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, from 4 to 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And as immersive food experiences continue to pop up across the country in the wake of 2016’s Museum of Ice Cream, Nameless is also considering bringing similar experiences to other cities.
“This is going to be the first of hopefully many museum-type of experiences,” she said. “So many people have done it really, really well. We wanted to distinguish ourselves with the nutritional value of adding an educational element as well as fine art. I think there’s room for everyone.”
IF YOU GO
The Museum of Pizza runs Saturday to Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (no Mondays), at the William Vale | 55 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg | tickets $35 at themuseumofpizza.org