You have your favorite cafe or deli or restaurant. It’s where everyone knows your name and everyone knows your order. They know that you like your bacon crispy. They know that you like pesto instead of mayo. They know that you like extra tomato and no onion. After a while, you begin to think: ‘Hey, they should name my sandwich after me!’
Meet Two Boots
We’ve consulted our friends at Two Boots, the quirky pizzeria known for pies named after characters both real & fictional. Two Boots was born in the East Village in 1987, a colorful collage of two wildly different food cultures: Cajun & Italian. Take for example ‘The Bayou Beast.’ The pie is an idiosyncratic combination of spiced shrimp, crawfish, andouille sausage, jalapenos, and mozzarella. Tell us, where else can you get a New York slice of Italian-Creole pizza?
Like its imaginative fusion of pizza toppings, the stores are just as vibrant. Each restaurant commissions local artists to imbue local flavor into the space. Two Boots’ owner Phil Hartman explains that each location should feel like it blossomed from the cracks of the sidewalk, rather than resembling some cookie-cutter chain. In this spirit, every restaurant also serves its very own home pie, a pie that “celebrates local luminaries.”
In Los Angeles’ Echo Park…
The ‘Vegan in Furs’ is a melody of plum tomatoes, vegan ricotta, vidalia onions, marinara sauce, and ‘Cale’ pesto, a nod to John Cale. According to Two Boots, Cale’s “creative tension with Lou Reed fueled their initial landmark recordings.” The name is a play on their song Velvet In Furs. Unlike the brooding tune, this pie is welcoming to all eaters—including vegans!
(Photo provided by Two Boots)
‘The Kitty’ is an homage to honky-tonk superstar Kitty Wells. The lavish pie is topped with hot chicken from Hattie B’s, blue cheese dressing, and jalapenos, all on a white pie. Just like Kitty reimagined the role of women in country music, this pie reconsiders how Nashville’s most fiery delicacy, hot chicken, can be combined with distant cuisines.
In East Village…
‘The Luisaida’ is a tribute to Luis Guzman, a native New Yorker “who went from ‘hood to Hollywood, without losing his sense of direction.” You’ll recognize Guzman in The Count of Monte Cristo, Boogie Nights, and Traffic, among others. The pie reflects the vibrant character of Guzman’s home turf with chorizo, fresh garlic, hot pickled peppers, and mozzarella.
So…How Do You Get Your Name on the Menu?
Owner Phil Hartman discloses that many people have asked, but criteria is kept slightly vague. He says that you need to have done something great, but something which most people don’t know about. Specialty pizzas are generally named after pop-culture characters with a cult following. ‘The Dude’ is an ode to the lovably mellow protagonist in The Big Lebowski, while ‘The Newman’ honors Jerry’s nemesis on Seinfeld. Based on the current selection of pizzas, your best bet to be included on the Two Boots’ menu is to become a semi-obscure musical artist or a cherished movie character. Not too hard, right?
Until you reach cult fame, we recommend that you continue to frequent your local eateries. They’re the places where everyone knows your name and everyone knows your order. Not only will you support a small business, but you’ll have a better chance to petition your name on your signature order.
Visiting the Los Angeles area soon? Check out this blog post to learn about the best takeout spots in Culver City, hitting every type of cuisine that your taste buds could be craving. Not in the Culver City area? Discover delicious eats near you.