A Q&A with Gabriele Lamonaca, Unregular Pizza New York City, New York
Unregular Pizza is a fast casual Roman-style pizzeria by the slice located in the heart of NYC in Union Square. The pizzeria offers a wide range of creative and delicious pizzas, sandwiches and salads available in gluten free and vegan options.
Our Roman-style pizza dough is made with imported Italian flour and it’s fermented for 72 hours, making the dough airy, light and digestible.
What is the story behind your pizzeria’s name?
Our pizza project was born, in fact, in an Unregular way. I started making pizza at home during the pandemic in 2020, experimenting with different combinations of toppings in a creative and unusual way. After posting pictures and videos of my creations on Instagram, I grabbed the attention of my friends who wanted to purchase my pizza. However, instead of selling, I would give it out for free, so that I could get as MUCH feedback as possible. When I delivered a potato pie (a staple of the Roman pizza tradition) to my friend Federica, she gave me homemade cocktails in return.
This brought me back memories of my grandma, who back in the 1950’s used bake goods that she exchanged for other goods.
So I began bartering pizza from home — which immediately created a community of barters — while my pizza was being constantly fine tuned and shared over and over with future potential customers. We then decided with my business partner and master pizzaiolo, Salvatore Gagliardo, to open up a shop.
We found the perfect location in Union Square, in the heart of Manhattan.
“Unregular” is an intended grammatical mistake (should be “irregular”), and was chosen to distance ourselves from the low-quality $1 “regular” NY slice. This was done to convey the originality of our product.
What is this barter program and how does it work?
Since we opened our brick and mortar store, we have bartered pizza from it with anyone who has something to share that he/she is passionate about. People may go on our website, unregularpizza.com, and sign up to barter. Our team will get in touch to organize it.
Unregular Pizza has a unique design in the pizzeria and its branding elements. Tell us a little more about how the design was created?
Our pizza project was born out of the pandemic, which was a very sad moment for everyone, including the city and its restaurant scene. We wanted to create a pizzeria that was different from the traditional ones, and at the same time was colorful and happy. We chose a throwback 90s design for our store in order to convey that feeling. The final product is a combination of three main artists. Italian street artist Federico Massa (a.k.a. Lena Cruz) is known for his spray-painted stencils and precise brush work. Melding imagery of iguanas, landscapes, cultural artifacts, and local graffiti gathered from trips to Mexico and across the world, Massa has developed a unique visual style. Indian born, New York-based multidisciplinary designer Sourabh Gupta works at the intersection of art, design and architecture. And last, but not least, Italian store designer Federica Teso, founder of Lessthan3studio, which blends perspectives and fabrication techniques with European and American design sensibilities in order to provide unmatched elegance and quality at any scale.
ONLINE BONUS QUESTION: NYC has a very competitive pizza scene. How are you able to grab a piece of the NYC market?
In the radius of one street block from our store there are 4 other pizzerias! NYC is literally the most crowded pizza scene in the world. The only way to succeed is preserving quality, convenience and originality. Our bestseller is called the BURRAPIZZA CAFONATA which is a crazy creation which came up through deed bartering research, if so we may call it. Obviously this pizza a 72h leavened dough (like all our pizzas), rigorously Italian Mutti tomato sauce, a whole Lioni Latticini burrata on each slice (hence the name Burrapizza), spicy n’duja sauce and finally spicy hot honey. Each slice is a bite of sin which has captured the hearts and taste buds of thousands who travel all the way to us to grab a bite of it.
We also continuously produce new products with the aim of keeping creativity alive while respecting the high quality of Roman-style pizza. Worthy of note is the golden burrapizza (24K burrata on each slice) which we launched on National Pizza Day with the objective of raising money for charity, the Welcome to Times Square burrapizza which was made for our World’s Biggest barter event where bartered 162 times from a pizza truck in Times Square back in November, the best barters were displayed on a billboard in Times Square offered by our partners at Welcome to Times Square, our Trojan Horse pizza which featured gyro and souvlaki on a pizza with a maxi burrata on top filled with mini mozzarellas (hence the name Trojan Horse…), a sweet Bronte Pistachio and nutella multilayered burrapizza which we made customized for a birthday… everyday there’s a new idea. Something that spikes our creativity and that might make people say “I wanna try this” because it’s all about the quality and inventiveness of the pizza!