Meet the two colorful visionaries behind Two Boots—filmmaker Phil Hartman and his son, Leon.

The more our editor learned about the Two Boots leaders, the more he wanted to write about them.



 

The hardest part about writing this month’s cover story (“Free Spirits,” page 32) was keeping it under 2,000 words. Phil Hartman and his son Leon, the colorful and charismatic owners of Two Boots, could be the subjects of a full-length biography. As a screenwriter and director, Phil’s first feature film, No Picnic, won an award at the Sundance Film Festival, and his second, Eerie, starred Felicity Huffman, Will Arnett and Luis Guzman. As Two Boots’ website explains, he transitioned from film into the pizza business after his screenplay for Bleeding Heat, “a punk-rock detective story set in gritty Long Island City, was reconceived as a romp for the Doobie Brothers.”

Leon once ran away to join the circus—more accurately, he and some friends started a circus from scratch and “roamed the country in the vein and footsteps of the Merry Pranksters.” One of his compatriots in that venture was his cousin, artist Asa Jones, whom Leon describes as “a kind of mythical character, like a cross between The Dude and Rasputin” who “illuminated me on some of the mysteries of life and brought me into new areas of consciousness.”

And don’t forget the wonderful pizzas with witty names: the Buckminster, which honors architect and visionary Buckminster Fuller; the V for Vegan, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and a certain Wachowski Brothers film; and the Boss Hague, named for a Jersey City mayor “whose legendary lap drawer was a discreet receptacle for bribes large and small.”

As a southerner who eats his way around New Orleans twice a year, my own mojo gets to rising at the notion of a pizzeria that combines Italian cuisine with Cajun cooking. And the more I learned about Two Boots, Phil and Leon, the more I wanted to write about them. So once you’ve perused the print article, head over to PMQ.com and learn about how Leon reimagined the Two Boots website (one of the best pizzeria sites I’ve ever seen) and brought their online ordering system into the modern age and how Two Boots helps keep the arts alive all around New York. There’s a lot more to tell, and Two Boots is just getting warmed up.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Recipe: The Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza from DeIorio’s

If your customers love ranch dressing and buffalo sauce, you can’t go wrong with this pizza recipe from DeIorio’s.

Playing with fire: Experts offer their top tips for working with wood-fired pizza ovens

From dough preparation to finishing flourishes, a wood-fired oven demands more knowledge and expertise than a modern oven.

As PMQ celebrates its 20th anniversary, we honor the past and look forward to the future in this special oral history.

PMQ’s founders and longtime team members reflect on two decades of progress, pranks, pitfalls and pizza.

Our Town America: Now offering POS integration for ease of use for larger brands

Using a mobile app, pizzeria owners can track who redeems their offers, then follow up with a second offer.

Pizzeria operators can turn heads with signature menu items from Caputo


Leading industry cheese manufacturer Caputo offers custom cheese solutions to inspire application innovation.

Cut waste and excess fat from your pizzas with StitZii box liners

StitZii’s grease-absorbent pizza box liners let pizzeria owners deliver a healthier pizza and protect the environment.

As technology advances and communications platforms keep changing, the pizza business remains a people business

With a phone in every pocket, who would have guessed talking on those phones would become so passe?

Double your pizza production with Marra Forni

The double-mouth oven makes for twice the efficiency and twice the versatility.

Data breaches: A restaurant operator’s worst nightmare

When it comes to protecting your POS data from hackers and thieves, the IRS recommends following these 5 steps.

Boosting traffic to your pizzeria: Does it pay to advertise on Yelp?

Yelp’s a powerful influencer for restaurant customers, but Think Tank users say you can get a better return for your money with another ad strategy.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags