Pizza Brain opened early this month in Philadelphia, and is the world’s first museum dedicated solely to pizza. Brian Dwyer is the founder of this museum, a serious pizza fan and Guinness World Record holder for the largest collection of pizza memorabilia. 28 year old Dwyer even has a caricature of himself eating pizza, tattooed on his back with the phrase “Totally saucesome!” Now he and three partners opened the part art gallery, part eatery called Pizza Brain.
“We thought it was a funny idea, and we started doing some research,” Dwyer said. “And when we discovered that nowhere on earth was there a physical place, a monument built to pizza, we said, ‘This is going to be huge.’” Dwyer quit his supermarket job, raised over $16,500 on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, and with three partners began setting up Pizza Brain.
On September 7th Pizza brain held its grand opening, and hundreds of people showed up in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood to see the new museum. Pizza Brain is filled with pizza relics like framed photos, magazine covers and even songs relating to pizza such as a holiday album released by Domino’s. Famous figurines also appear with pizza, including Homer Simpson, Spider Man, the Tasmanian Devil and the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Dwyer began collecting these items several years ago when he created an art exhibit called “Give Pizza Chance”. After receiving positive feedback, he continued collecting pizza paraphernalia until he became the world record holder with 561 items. Dwyer was initially shocked that people were so supportive of his passion, but he feels that many people can identify with pizza because it is a great equalizer, and synonymous with the word ‘party’.
“I think that’s why pizza is so powerful – it’s inherently communal,” Dwyer said. “Pizza is one of the few things that everyone can agree on.”
The pizza itself that is served at Pizza Brain comes in a huge number of varieties with plenty of toppings. Some of these include beef brisket, pulled pork and meatloaf, and even one made to taste like French onion soup with gruyere and mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions and fresh thyme. So far the pizza has gotten positive ratings from customers as well.
In terms of décor, Dwyer plans to carefully curate which products he showcases at Pizza Brain. Rather than displaying all 561 items at once, Dwyer plans to rotate the exhibit items so people won’t lose interest. “I think, at the end of the day, it’s this big art installation masquerading around as a pizza shop.”