Viva Herbal Pizzeria is the pits. There's not much really to say about it except that I knew it was gonna be bad as soon as I saw the words "Natural Pizzeria" on the awning. They sell a bunch of buttons and t-shirts about being vegan with corny puns that I've been wavering on whether or not I appreciate or loather since I was like, 12. I think that pentagram made of fork "I Worship Seitan" shirt is kind of cool, and I like how brash it is to wear a button that says "Fuckin' VEGAN" (be proud, homie!), but I feel like a lot of animal rights/pro-vegan propaganda in the past few years is tied to this really weird dialogue about promoting body shame (predominantly among women) and is kind of weirdly heteronormative for a purportedly progressive movement. If you don't know what I'm talking about then check out any PETA campaign from the last 5 years and you will see someone trying to make you feel guilty for being fat. Their most recent "Be Proud of Your Body Scan - GO VEGAN" campaign with the x-ray picture of a headless bikini babe is so disgusting on so many levels! And the fact that it's a major part of this movement that is ostensibly about compassion and the betterment of the whole Earth is just mind-blowingly disappointing. Not that PETA is by any means representative of all vegans. I am just digressing because there's nothing much to say about Viva Herbal.
This pizza sucks. Lumpy cheese, asphalt-textured cornmeal on the botton, crumbling crush. For some reason whenever I eat crust this texture I think about that scene in Gravity's Rainbow right at the beginning (because I've never gotten more than 50 pages in, let's be honest here), where those two dudes are walking through that deteriorating building looking for a dog or something, and then that makes me think of the Bombing of Dresden. This pizza reminds me of War Atrocities! Do I need to say much more than that? It is also worth noting that the cheese and sauce both contain Anti-Flavor, in that when you eat this slice it tastes like less than nothing. It tastes like absence. I'm sure their healthy slices are good.
I think this place should keep the name Viva Herbal, hang up a bunch of Take Me To Your Dealer posters and like, Pink Floyd tapestries, and make all their employees grow a soul patch and wear a drug rug as part of the dress code. Then they should start selling "handblown glass," flavored tobacco, and zippos. And then they should start doing tattoos and piercings in the back. And then they should STOP MAKING PIZZA FOREVER.
Viva Herbal Pizzeria - $2.40
179 2nd Ave (11th & 12th)
New York, NY 10003