A pizza maker demonstrated how to swipe food from unsuspecting customers in a video that recently went viral on TikTok. But was he really up to no good?
Posting under the TikTok handle @pizzajayryan, the video’s creator often can be seen in videos wearing a blue uniform shirt for Brooklyn Joe’s Famous Pizza in Punta Gorda, Florida. Most of his video content is pizza-related, and he’s frequently shown slicing various tasty-looking pies for customers.
In a video posted last week, Ryan showed off a sly trick for potentially cheating those customers out of a portion of a whole pie. After peeling a freshly baked pizza out of the oven, he deftly placed it on a tray and sliced it in half. Then, he sliced another long strip from the middle of the pie. Leaving that strip on the tray, he placed the remaining two halves of the pizza in a to-go box, pressed them together and cut them into multiple slices. It still looked like a whole pie; only an eagle-eyed, fanatically value-conscious customer could tell the difference.
“Dinner,” Ryan said, at the end of the video.
As the pizza maker went about his work, an audio clip of a male voice could be heard saying, “How would they know? How would they know? No one’s gonna know.” It’s an oft-used clip taken from the Oxygen network’s TV show, Bad Girls Club, which has reportedly inspired numerous TikTok memes.
It’s unclear whether the pizza with the missing strip was actually passed on to a customer. Presumably, Ryan was merely demonstrating how the trick works for his 72,000-plus followers. It certainly gained attention for Brooklyn Joe’s; the video has garnered more than 3.7 million views since it went online last week.
But some folks thought they smelled a rat in the pizza kitchen. An article in the New York Post hinted that Ryan was a sneak-thief. And Allison DeGrushe, writing for Distractify, was a wee bit appalled. “OK, I’m impressed,” she wrote, “but it almost feels illegal to know about this ‘hack.’ That customer spent their hard-earned money on that pizza (and a tip), and it’s unfortunate that they won’t receive their entire meal. But then again, the employee is the one who made the food, so some people could argue that they’re ‘allowed’ to have a slice.”
But all is probably not as it seems with this snippet of TikTok trickery. After a little online digging, PMQ learned that “Jay Ryan” is actually Justin Ryan, manager of Brooklyn Joe’s. He was interviewed last month about his job on an episode of The Parker’s Podcast, as shown in this video on YouTube. “I’ve run the place for Joe since January,” he stated. So he deserves the benefit of the doubt, especially since he otherwise appears to use TikTok as a solid marketing tool for Brooklyn Joe’s and promotes his TikTok channel on the restaurant’s website.
The video got a mixed reaction from commenters, although many folks seemed clued in on the apparent joke. One noted, “It’s called the Driver’s Slice.” Another wrote, “Now I need to find an honest pizzeria.” But one pointed out, “I think he had to do it, it wouldn’t fit in a box.” In fact, that might be correct. Without the middle strip removed, the pie would have been a tight fit for the box.
The New York Post article characterized Ryan’s video as “a bizarro food tutorial” that “detailed his surreptitious slice-swiping method.” It seems more likely that Ryan simply made the pizza a little larger than it should have been and sliced out the surplus for himself. A hard-working pizza guy’s gotta eat, too.