Two years ago, Scarr’s Pizza took the Lower East Side by storm. With a prime location at 22 Orchard Street, it’s hard to miss this tiny 750 square foot slice-oriented shop with a little bar in the back. From its decor that looks straight out of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, to the steady beats from the latest hyped rap album bumping out of the speakers, the place stands out in an area that’s known for trendsetting. But what really makes Scarr’s special is the community of people that gather there. Once you’re a local, you’re a local and treated as such. It’s the type of place where you can expect to strike up a conversation with other people sitting at the counter, and you’re bound to make a new friend or two. And considering the array of downtown creative types that have made Scarr’s their home away from home—like the Stray Rats crew—this is most definitely a good thing.
But it’s what’s under the hood of Scarr’s Pizza that is most impressive. Scarr Pimentel, 39, is from Harlem and grew up on old New York slices—the kind that, according to Scarr, don’t really exist anymore. He cut his teeth in the culinary world at some of New York’s most famous pizzerias including: Emilio’s Ballato, Lombardi’s, Artichoke, L’asso, and Joe’s. In short, he knows what makes a good pizza. Scarr also knows quality, and sources the freshest ingredients to create his 100 percent organic pies. He even goes as far as milling his own flour to make the dough and doesn’t advertise it either. This attention to detail is a sharp contrast to other pizza shops in the neighborhood famous for the dollar slice.
Whether it’s the location, aesthetic, quality, or a combination of all three, Scarr’s is clearly doing something right. It received an award for Best Cheese Slice 2018 from Bon Appetit, has been featured on Munchies’ Chef’s Night Out, and is typically so packed during peak hours that you can’t even get inside. But none of that really matters to Scarr. He’s more concerned with creating a quality product at an affordable price and fostering an atmosphere that makes his shop a favorite hangout amongst locals. And that ethos is at the core of the “it” factor that makes Scarr’s special. Considering the shop literally popped up out of nowhere in the pizza capital of the world to become recognized citywide, I figured I’d pop in and find out how it all went down from the man himself.