As soon as we stepped into the newly expanded Fishtown space that will soon house Fishtown’s Pizza Brain, the ever-energetic owner Brian Dwyer was eager to give us a slice of his mind.
He was both excited and concerned about the recent explosion of publicity surrounding his pizzeria and pizza museum — very surprisingly the supposed first in the world.
Dwyer has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise $15,000 for “finishing touches” on the pie-in-the-sky shrine, which was nearly 65 percent funded with 28 days left to go yesterday.
“Kickstarter is a tangible way the community can help Pizza Brain open and put their fingerprint on it,” Dwyer said.
Plus, there are prizes for each donation tier that range from a hug and free food to lockets of the owners’ hair and items Dwyer and his team found in the walls and ground while renovating their mid-19th century building, including small animal skulls, tiny teacups and glass bottles.
There’s no doubting Dwyer’s passion for pizza, which goes deeper than a simple love of the food itself.
“It’s not just a funny fluff thing — pizza permeates all things,” he said while shuffling through crates of pizza-themed books, vinyl records, T-shirts and vintage movie posters. “Pizza is so inherently communal that it’s the perfect vehicle to get the community together and especially the neighborhood.”
With a Guinness World Record for largest collection of pizza memorabilia and a recent profile prominently featured on the Huffington Post, Dwyer has been inundated with calls. “Since that day, our website and e-mail have been going nuts. I’ve seen articles about it in Malaysia, Amsterdam — in languages I don’t even know,” he marveled, though it hasn’t really translated into donations.
Putting Philly on the map?
“Philadelphia is not one of the world’s great pizza cities,” Huffington post wrote recently about Dwyer’s mission.
“In America, the Italianate constellation of New York, Chicago, New Haven, Conn. and Providence, R.I. has long reigned at the top. And it could also be argued that Trenton, N.J., and Phoenix, the homes of giants DeLorenzo’s and Pizzeria Bianco respectively, have bigger slices of the pie than Philadelphia,” the website said.
“It’s ridiculous,” Dwyer responded. “If you don’t think there’s good pizza in Philly, you’re just lazy. The pizza landscape in Philly is changing fast and the world’s first pizza museum is a great way to put us on the map — take that, New York City and Chicago!”