Pizza Capital of the World

For a brief but proud period in its history, Austin celebrated pizza. 

The November 14th issue of the Austin Chronicle had a cover story titled “Indie Pizza,” in which the newspaper’s food writers tasted and rated some of the local pies. The cover photo featured a slice that looked as if it definitely could have been made by a local independent pizzeria.

Then on Saturday, November 16th, while many Austinites sat at home reading about pizza, other people got out and delivered two events that made this day part of pizza history. And both events served a good cause for the community.

In celebration of their business’s 20th anniversary, the proprietors of Mangia Pizza sought to break a new world record for the longest line of pizzas ever laid crust-to-crust. The Mangia team had set up hundreds of tables snaking though Zilker Park, and on those tables they placed pie next to pie to form a trail of pizzas that exceeded 1,000 feet.

According to Fox 7 News, the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records declared Mangia’s achievement the longest of its type. Consider that if those same pizzas were strung up the side of the Empire State Building, they would be close enough to smell from the 86th floor observatory, which rises 1,050 feet over Fifth Avenue.

Fortunately the world record pizzas weren’t shipped to New York, but were boxed up and sent to feed the hungry at the Austin Area Salvation Army, which always needs volunteers to help with its service to the community. 

As the record-breaking Mangia activities ended, another pizza-themed event began, a couple of miles southeast of Zilker Park, at the Home Slice Carnival-O-Pizza. Sponsored by Home Slice Pizza, which serves it New York-style, this was the third annual such carnival and it raised money for Keep Austin Beautiful, a nonprofit that promotes environmental stewardship and has opportunities for volunteers who want to help beautify Austin.

The carnival offered a raffle, pizza, Nintendo contests, an eating competition, live music, beer, a modest midway (see photo below) and prizes including free pizza for a year, a motor scooter with helmet, and a large jar of jelly beans. 

Modest Midway

Early Saturday evening, the carnies took apart their booths and packed them away for the next event. They ate a last slice, perhaps not realizing that for one day only, as the local media turned its attention to pizza, as Austinites baked and aligned a new world record, and as pizza attracted the masses to separate events, Austin had become the Pizza Capital of the World.

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