What, exactly, is Pizza Brain?

Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.
Photo | Drew Lazor

Last time we checked in with Kenzo artist Brian "Brain" Dwyer (above), he was organizing a hugely popular pizza-themed art show at Rocket Cat Café. Now, the serious 'za enthusiast and ginger bon vivant is taking the next big step: opening his own pizza place.

Dwyer and three partners recently signed an agreement of sale for an address in Fishtown (they don't want to say exactly where just yet in the press, but know that it's along the main Frankford Avenue drag), and the space will host Pizza Brain, a combination pizza shop, pizza memorabilia museum, arcade and performance space that Dwyer says will both celebrate and preserve the "culture around pizza." Dwyer is a serious pizza memorabilia enthusiast (that's him above brandishing just two of hundreds of his pizza-themed LPs; he's investigating whether he can create a category for pizza collectibles in the Guinness Book of World Records), and the plan is for Pizza Brain to display a prominent portion of his 'za cache. But he admits that he knows little about the actual challenges of opening and operating a pizza restaurant, which is why he's partnered with Joe Hunter, a Charleston transplant and biz vet who's ran shops down south.

While Hunter will focus on developing the menu (they want to do both grab-a-slice pies and fancier artisan stuff of varying circumferences in an open kitchen setting), Dwyer will concern himself with the entertainment aspect of Pizza Brain, which'll accommodate between 30 and 50. He is currently shopping around for pizza-themed arcades games (he's already secured a Plinko-esque Ninja Turtles Pizza Drop machine), and says the backyard area of his Fishtown hub will be home to a live performance space dubbed — wait for it — "Masterpizza Theatre." He wants to stay open late-ish to accommodate the hordes of Fishtown kids who gravitate further south toward Girard for their nightly entertainment. This is all very preliminary, but if everything goes as planned, Dwyer hopes to have Pizza Brain open by the fall of 2011.

Posted 2011-01-24 17:51:35
This Bitch from the fucking white ghetto would appreciate you shutting the fuck up. THAT is MY opinion. I like my hood, am 3rd generation Fishtowner, college graduate who makes more $$ in a week than you probably make in a month. Your opinion is offensive, and in the proper company could get you beat up. So stay away, we don't like your kind (ignorant & rude) here in our urban oasis.

Posted 2011-01-24 14:40:58
East Kensington?  Really?

Posted 2011-01-26 11:05:46


Posted 2011-01-28 12:27:33
I know allll about pizzaface! that 'pizza bong' song is a total hit. 'pizza pit' is great too.
me and ben (the brains behind it) just started talking via facebook. turns out we're both red heads.
definitely pizza brothers, separated at birth. all competition will be destroyed.

Posted 2011-01-21 23:20:31

Posted 2011-01-21 22:07:12
YOOOO!! i used to play that pizza drop plinko game at chuck e. cheese ALL THE TIME! holy crap. so pumped to see that thing in action again. it's been like 15 years for me. Score.

Posted 2011-01-21 18:58:10
Seriously grow-up!  Always an asshole that needs to act like a jerk.  There are a number of different people here in East Kensington now.  Take the act elsewhere.  Also to reiterate what km said try Franco's.

Posted 2011-01-21 18:20:03

Posted 2011-01-21 16:41:41
lookin' dank my Dub man! Fire away!

Posted 2011-01-21 16:36:29
oh, you can rest real easy. i have tasted and i've seen the goodness of joe hunter's pie abilities. he brought his stone over to my house a few weeks ago and whipped up a bunch of his creations. the 'buffalo '66' slice was ridiculous. and the 'macho man randy sausage'! BONKERS. it's so totally legite. philly pizza scene won't know what hit it. specially all those bogus fishtown shops.

shawn kilroy
Posted 2011-01-21 16:01:13
at last, there will be a decent slice of pizza in that fucking white ghetto.
i hope.

Posted 2011-01-21 17:33:20
I will be waiting in line on Day 1 to check out the offerings.  I'm thinking Pizza Brain is gonna be my new spot.  Do it big brother.  G.S.D.

Posted 2011-01-21 17:31:18
Francos pizza on tulip and huntingdon shaUUUn

Felicia D'Ambrosio
Posted 2011-01-21 15:45:50
I'm envisioning Pizza Brain as the pizza parlor-arcade where Principal Rooney grips up Ferris's girl doppelganger.

Dr. Pope
Posted 2011-01-24 22:31:40
Remember folks: it's all about the pizza.

Pizza Brain’s quite-literal draft logo :: Meal Ticket :: Food Blog :: Philadelphia City Paper
Posted 2011-02-01 13:33:08
[...] Jan. 21 post on Brian Dwyer’s in-the-works Pizza Brain garned great reaction, so we figured we’d share this draft of the Fishtown pizza hub’s [...] 

Posted 2011-01-21 17:04:06
Wow- Fishtown is becoming pretty epic.  Really creative concept here. Nice to see it going down in this community!

Ondessonk Blackrobe
Posted 2011-01-22 09:06:27
Our Living Language:   When people today speak casually of ordering a za, "pizza," they are unwittingly producing an expression that is quite interesting to language historians. Za derives from the full form pizza by a process known as clipping. Two types of clipping are common in English: dropping the unstressed syllables or syllables not receiving the primary word stress, as in fridge from refrigerator; and dropping all syllables after the first syllable, as in ab, dis, porn, and vibe, whether or not the first syllable was originally stressed. In the case of za, the syllable that was dropped was originally stressed and was the first syllable, which is unusual. Rents for "parents," is another recent example of the same kind of clipping. Interestingly, we don't need to stay in the realm of contemporary youth slang to see the results of this unusual process. The words phone, bus, and wig (from telephone, omnibus, periwig) belong to Standard English but had their start as slangy or catchy neologisms formed by clipping stressed syllables, just like za. Who knows whether in fifty years za and rents will be as widely accepted as phone and wig are now? See Note at rent3.

shawn kilroy
Posted 2011-01-22 14:13:11
"Always an asshole that needs to act like a jerk."

i'm not acting. I'm also not name calling.  I'm also not commenting under some fake name.  I'm just stating my opinion.  That's still allowed, right?

Karen and Bill
Posted 2011-01-26 18:43:09
This is the answer to our prayers!!

Posted 2011-01-24 19:28:36

Posted 2011-01-24 19:29:33
fishtown actually. as far as real estate lines go. right there on frankford ave. 
right near circle thrift.

Posted 2011-01-24 19:30:48
hey dudes, increase the piece. 

give pizza chance.

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