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Scissors-wielding pizzerias might seem like a trend, but the technique is rooted in tradition.

Charlie Heller
January 12, 2018

If you've been to recently-opened pizzerias like Rock Pizza Scissors or Bonci, you might have noticed something about their method of cutting slices. Specifically, that they're doing it with scissors. And you may have wondered: why? The classic wheeled pizza cutter one of the most specialized kitchen tools and easy to obtain in any kitchen. Is swapping it for scissors just for novelty, or an innovation worth trying yourself?

The answer, it turns out, depends on what kind of pizza you're having in the first place. Jim Lahey, who studied baking in Italy before opening Sullivan Street Bakery and Co. says his restaurants have been cutting their Roman-style pizza with scissors for over two decades (though he generally refers to them as food shears. As he explained to Food & Wine, the process is actually a tradition that can be traced back to pizza's home country.

In Italy, he recounts, pizza shops, typically those serving long slab pizza styles like Pizza al Taglio or Pizza Bianca alla Romana, use scissors to customize slice size for each customer. "The tradition is that the person cutting your slice asks you how big of a slice you want, and you say 'yeah, cut it there,'" Lahey says. "Then they weigh it, and give you the bill based on that, so it's very modifiable."

"In general," he says, "scissors seem to work really well for long, slab-type pies, and for thinner pizzas, or pizzas that are in small pans," he says, adding that in Italy you'll often see either scissors or "a kind of small steak knife just kinda hacking it out of the pan." And a tip: "If you have something fresh from the oven and want to cut off a tiny little taste for people, it works really well that way too.

At his own restaurants, Lahey uses stainless steel shears for pizza—if you want to try those, you can either start with OXO's Good Grips Shears ($18), or go straight to the top with All-Clad's C3220908 Kitchen Shears ($40)—but he says anything that's well-built enough should do the trick. So yes, if you've had your eye on the confirmed-to-work, slice-holding Dreamfarm Scizza ($22), go for it.

Just be careful, Lahey says, of larger, thicker slices. "If shears are all you have and the cheese is molten hot and it just came from the oven, you're probably gonna burn your hand."