"I don’t think I’ve ever, ever in the timeline of Flour + Water said ‘this is California pizza,’" says McNaughton, emphasizing that so-called California pizza is less about crust and more about bucking tradition with toppings. “We really nod to the traditions, because Italian food is so incredibly based on tradition... But we also put our own little twist that’s based on craveable, delicious food for us. I think if you picked up Flour + Water and put it in the middle of Italy, I don’t know that it would be that successful.”
Still, even now, nearly 40 years after Waters and LaDou flipped the script on what is acceptable to put on pizza, there are those among us who are simply disgusted by the thought of seemingly exotic ingredient on their pies.
“There’s a lot of pizza guys -- not to discount their craft and purity -- that don’t think outside the box, or aren't open to new ideas," says McNaughton, recalling a pie he ate topped with ricotta, asparagus, and mint. "[With something like that], you just get your mind blown, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”