Dining

Clear Channel Music Execs-Turned-Pizza Impresarios Take THR’s Taste Test

The partners behind SoCal’s rapidly expanding PizzaRev chain talk sunflower seeds, sea urchin, Louisiana–style gumbo and more.
Irv Zuckerman (center left) and Rodney Eckerman (center right) with their sons Jeff (far left) and Nicholas (far right) at the PizzaRev branch in Studio City.
Courtesy of PizzaRev

Not too long ago, Irv Zuckerman and Rodney Eckerman worked side by side as co-CEOs of Clear Channel Music. Then they ditched the gig for a start-up -- their own -- that launched in April in Northridge. PizzaRev, a fast-casual, Chipotle-style concept dedicated to thin-crust pies, aims to beat Umami man Adam Fleischman’s similarly nascent and low-cost 800 Degrees brand toward CPK-style domination in Southern California and beyond. Quickly expanding with locations in Studio City and Woodland Hills (which just opened Nov. 30), the pair takes a break from pizza proliferation to digest just what else gets their maws motivated.

THEIR THR TASTE TEST

Current Fixation
Zuckerman: “I cannot get out of my head the French fries at Church & State. Yeah, I know, a lot of people have their faves in this health food category, but the Church gets great flavor from their Russets.”

Known for Cooking
Eckerman: “Louisiana-style gumbo. One of the things I miss after leaving the Gulf Coast in the late ’90s.”

Favorite Snack
Zuckerman: “Sunflower seeds. Too many baseball games, I guess.”

Pet Peeve
Eckerman: “Restaurants that are not full making you wait.”

Destination Dinner
Zuckerman: “French Laundry – hands down.”

Big Wish
Eckerman: “More sampling menus. I love a selection.

Simply Won’t Eat
Zuckerman: “I cannot do sea urchin.”

Dietary Regimen
Eckerman: “I usually end up on a version of Atkins if I have to get serious about losing weight.”

Adventurous Bite
Zuckerman: “OK, to me this was crazy but to others it’s lunch: lambs’ tongue. I’m good to go without a mulligan on that dish.”

Embarrassing Experience
Eckerman: “Finding out I have ordered something different than I thought in Guadalajara. I loved it and when I asked the waiter what the crispy topping was, I found out, to much surprise, I had just eaten crispy grasshopper.”

Guilty Pleasure
Zuckerman: “Slicing very small pieces of homemade key lime pie with lots of whipped cream only to wind up eating about half the pie but in small increments. Less calories, for sure.”

Last Meal
Eckerman: “It would have to be something Southern that I would never eat if it was not my last meal. Likely fried and very bad for you.”