I'm not big on large scale tasting events, food festivals, or food fairs in general. I have no interest in waiting for hours for a cronut or at Smorgasburg for a ramen burger. But when I was catching up with a friend the other day and we had some time to kill, we decided to check out Slice Out Hunger. Slice Out Hunger is an annual volunteer-run event benefiting the Food Bank for NYC, featuring slices of pizza from over 40 different pizzerias, as well as drinks and desserts, all for $1 each.
Although doors opened around 6pm, we got on line at 5:30pm and didn't get in till 7:30pm. Even then, there were still plenty of people in line behind us, and there was still plenty of pizza. However, much of what was left were plain or margherita slices, as slices with more exotic toppings were all gone. Also, many of the more famous pizzerias, such as DiFara and Lucali, that people had been hoping to try had sold out by then.
While we took our pizza to go, many people ate them there at the church. I enjoyed the pizzas for lunch the next few days. Each one was indeed just a little different, although I had no idea which pizza came from where by then. The size of the slices varied by pizzeria, and many were very thin neapolitan type pizzas. In general, the cheeses were good and the crusts were often very flavorful and had good chewiness. Each pizzeria was clearly proud of their pizza, and there were no variations of "Ray's" or your average slice joint.
Overall, the event was very well organized and things ran smoothly. If you might be interested in going next year, here are some thoughts:
Do go if you want to be charitable and like the cause.
Do go if the idea of taking away a whole bunch of $1 slices for future lunches sounds good to you.
Don't go if you're expecting some amazing pizza tasting event.
Do go earlier if you want to sample the best on offer. Even though doors opened at 6pm, we heard some people were lining up as early as 3pm. Be prepared to wait at least 2 hours and get room temperature pizza.
Don't worry about getting stuck with pizza that you're not keen on. Pretty much all the slices I had were at least satisfactory, and the dessert and drink selections were fairly good for $1 each and just as good a use of your pre-purchased chits.