As fourth-generation pizzeria owners, cousins Sal Basille and Francis Garcia eat a lot of pizza - mostly their own from their hot Artichoke Basille shops in New York City.
"But we had no intentions of ever being on TV," says Garcia.
A production company liked the guys' rapport and their cred, and so without much arm-twisting, Pizza Cuz was born on the Cooking Channel last month. It sent them across the country to find top pies and the people behind them.
"We 're impressed by every place the production company picked," Garcia said.
Two Philly shops made the list. The episode Monday, June 3 (9 p.m.) stops at Barbuzzo, which is not a pizzeria but a Mediterranean bar-restaurant owned by chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran.
"It was a Monday, pouring rain, and jampacked to the rafters," said Garcia of the shooting day. "We were totally blown away."
The Guanciale and Truffled Farm Egg Pizza bowled them over. What also impressed the cousins is how Safran and Turney own many of the businesses on their block, on 13th Street between Chestnut and Sansom.
Man does not live by pizza alone. The guys claim allegiance to Ralph's in the Italian Market for calamari and veal Parm.
The other shop that turns up on Pizza Cuz is Pizza Brain, the pizzeria-slash-museum in Fishtown. Its moment is next Monday, June 10.
"I'm a Rocky fan," said Basile of the neighborhood, not far from where the movie is set. "And the whole Fishtown gentrification thing reminds me of what happened in Williamsburg [Brooklyn]."
(Not surprisingly, they said they are toying with the idea of opening an Artichoke Basille in Fishtown.)
As for the pizza at Pizza Brain ... They seemed to like the shop overall, but Basille could not get his head around its "Frankford Avenue Taco," which is a slice of cheese pizza topped with a scoop of pizza-flavored ice cream from Little Baby's.
"That made me gag," he said. "I like Plain Jane pizza."