Unregular Pizza – Bartering for One of NYC’s Best Pizzas
There are various ways to pay for goods in New York City nowadays. Cash, credit, debit, Bitcoin, Venmo, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and I could keep going on. But, did you know that there is a pizza place where you can pay for your pizza with an exchange of goods, talents, or services?
Allow me to explain…
Unregular Pizza has its cozy and colorful brick & mortar location just south of Union Square, at 135 4th Avenue. (Yes, non-NYCers, and even some NYCers, there is a 4th Avenue in Manhattan!, albeit a small stretch of road.) Founded by Gabriele Lamonaca, his story fits in with so many COVID-era stories: As described on his website, his plans to bring forth his pizza to the masses were halted by the pandemic, and he soon used his downtown to experiment and perfect his craft. He started posting his creations to his Unregular Pizza Instagram account, including his sought-after Burrapizza: A slice of Roman-style pizza topped by a single ball of burrata. People following his account became hungry for it, both figuratively and literally. He soon started a barter system: he’d share pizza with a barterer in exchange for some of their delicious culinary creations. This became increasingly popular, and in 2021, Unregular Pizza formally opened its doors, allowing everyone in on his unique creations. Even with business swinging, barters are still happening!
Unregular Pizza – How to Barter
I was one of thousands that drooled over this Unregular Pizza Instagram account, hoping that I one day would be picked to barter. Luck fell upon me, and I was lucky enough to share a special family recipe with the U.P. team on September 27th, 2021. This is a process, but if you are interested in sharing someone special with that team for a few of their amazing slices, this is how you currently do it:
When you visit their website, there is an option to barter –> I’ll make it easy and link to it here. Simply, fill in a form that states what you plan to barter, plus your email, phone number, and (if applicable) your Instagram handle. Hit “Send”. Cross your fingers! My timeline was as follows: I signed up at the end of May, got an invite to barter from the team on June 24th, and when I was presented with a calendar to pick from, the earliest available date I could do it was September 27th, so I took it. Like I said…POPULAR! Be patient, it is worth it.
Unregular Pizza – What to Barter
In the beginning, I saw many interesting barters on the Unregular Pizza Instagram, from full meals to desserts to bottles of homemade brews and wines. I said to myself, “If I am ever selected to barter, I’ll do my grandma’s schaum tortes!” My usual followers have seen me post about them – the recipe is right here on my blog! – and once I got that email to barter, there was no question: it was going to barter with schaum tortes!
As I continue to follow the Unregular Pizza Instagram, I’ve seen edible barters as well as performances and other tangible goods used for barter; you never know what may inspire you, so be creative!
Unregular Pizza – Time to Barter!
When I chose my date to barter, I was given very reasonable instructions: Be there on time at the date & time given. Easy peasy! Be cognizant of their time, because the barter takes places during regular business hours and there may be customers present. I was told 4 p.m., and I was there a few minutes beforehand, ready to enter the door at 4.
The night before, I had all of my schaum tortes and diced strawberries set, a recipe printout to share, and a thank you note written – it’s still common courtesy to write a thank you note, in my opinion! – and on my way through, I picked up a can of good whipped cream; if I didn’t have a dentist’s appointment just prior to my barter, I would have whipped up some homemade whipped cream, but! Another time!
I also brought a handwritten thank you card…people still show courtesy nowadays, yes? 😅
Upon my arrival, I announced to the staff that I was there for the barter. Gabriele was incredibly welcoming, and Paola – U.P.’s marketing and PR team member – got the entire thing filmed and photographed.
For those that do not know, schaum torte is similar to pavlova, but it has German roots and is known by Wisconsinites of German descent, according to Edible Milwaukee. Guess what? My grandma, Allie – always known to me as Mamie – was a Wisconsinite of German descent! Ta da! She made these every Christmas of my youth, even well into my 20s until she passed away in 2008, and this is one of my most treasured recipes. Sharing it on my blog was important to me, but sharing it for my barter was extra special to me. I was so happy to say that they loved it; one of their team members commented that it was similar to Italian-style meringue! Honestly, the recipe I have is simply my grandmothers and I’m not sure I could tell Italian Meringue from Swiss Meringue from any other kind of meringue, but I loved to hear that distinction, especially because I have so many descendants from northern Italy!
The barter was incredibly generous; I was sent home with four slices of pie and I let Gabriele choose which ones. Two were topped with burrata, and two came sans burrata, but all four were absolutely incredible. I received a slice of Prochute, a slice of Cafonata Burrapizza, a slice of Amatriciana Burrapizza, and a slice of Delicatissma with its gorgeous red wine reduction sauce. Of note: I had purchased slices from Unregular Pizza prior to my barter, so I had a good feel on what my options would be, but I am glad Gabriele happened to chose four slices I had never tried before. (Note: Go for the Pugliese Burrapizza, it’s my favorite!)
Unregular Pizza – After the Barter
I went to Washington Square Park for a photo shoot with the good natural light, luckily a very warm and lovely late September day.
I got home…and I ATE MY PIZZA. What else would you do after such a barter? Pizza is made to be eaten!
Gabriele, Paola, and the entire Unregular Pizza team showed me kindness, a good time, and gave me a good reminder of how much good food there is in NYC, as well as how many ways pizza can be created and improved upon. It also reminded me of how important it is to keep traditional recipes alive, whether it’s schaum tortes or traditional Roman-style pizzas. What Unregular Pizza has to offer is truly special, and whether you get a barter or not, you must patronize this establishment!
Thank you to Gabriele and the entire Unregular Pizza team for a truly wonderful experiences that could literally only happen in NYC!