#100 Il Forno

November 4th, 2017

San Antonio, TX

We managed to get a bit of sleep after our first late-night pizza stop in Texas, but we couldn’t sleep too late because we had to make a detour to San Antonio before heading a bit further upstate to the wedding. It took us a little over an hour to drive to San Antonio from Austin and we showed up at Il Forno just after noon.

This restaurant is a newcomer to the 2017 list, and it has only been open for about a year and a half. We were a little skeptical that it would live up to the others (especially since Via 313 was taken off of the list in 2017), but we were really surprised here.

Il Forno is located in a quiet part of San Antonio, a little bit south of downtown and away from the crowds visiting the Alamo. From the outside, you couldn’t tell it was a pizza place because it is painted lime green and has an overgrown looking garden out front. As soon as we walked in, though, we saw the massive wood burning oven and we knew we were in the right place.

Although it has only been open a little over a year, Il Forno already produces their own sage and basil, and will expand the garden as the years go on. They have kumquat trees planted out front that will take a couple more years to produce fruit! All of their ingredients come from local Texas farms, and even more impressively, they cure all of their own meats in-house.

When we heard that, we had to order the Entero, which came with a “chef’s selection” of three meats. There was a spicy sausage, a spicier pepperoni, and a third pepperoni-ish meat as well. Sorry that I am not very good at meat identification – whatever it was, it was tasty! We also ordered a butternut squash salad that was topped with pistachios and goat cheese. We had to balance out that meat with some vegetable!

The crust on this pizza was awesome. Eric commented that it rivals some of the best Neapolitan crusts that we’ve had in NYC or San Fran. The cheese wasn’t loaded on too heavily, so all the flavors really shone through. We really approve of this addition to the 2017 list!

And since we ordered only one pizza here, we still had plenty of stomach space to enjoy an evening full of delicious wedding food 🙂

To visit:

Il Forno
122 Nogalitos St
San Antonio, TX 78204

#74 Via 313

November 4th, 2017

Austin, TX

This past weekend, we took a break from the NYC scene here to spend the weekend down in Texas. Texas has a few pizza places that have made the lists the past three years, and while we had hit a handful of them last August, there were two more additions in 2016 and 2017 that we still hadn’t made it to. Luckily, my cousin was getting married not too far outside of Austin, so we had a good excuse to fly down for the weekend!

We had a late flight into Austin, and landed around midnight. We really wanted to try Via 313, but of course their main restaurants close at 10pm. Lucky for us, they also have food trucks (trailers)! We drove straight to one from the airport.

Usually when a pizza place has more than one location, we try to go to the original one. We happened to be on a tight time frame this weekend, so we were willing to make an exception. Then we found out that the original Via 313 was opened in 2011 in a trailer! So we essentially WERE going to the original. This made us very happy.

The pizza here is Detroit-style inspired. If you read my previous post from our pizza road trip, Detroit style pizza is really unique. The brothers who started Via 313 grew up around Detroit, so they based the pizza here off of the style they were most familiar with. At the main locations, you can get pizzas in 4-slice or 8-slice sizes, just like Buddy’s, but the trailers only serve slices in 4’s. After having been to Buddy’s, we can say that this is pretty close to authentic Detroit-style pizza, even down to the crispy cheese edging.

Four slices was plenty for us, since we had eaten a small dinner before getting on the plane, and one slice was plenty to keep me full. That left three slices for Eric. We ended up ordering the Four Cheese Blend, and it had more cheese on it than almost any other pizza that we’ve had, so it was super filling. The sauce that was globbed on top was delicious. We waited 40 minutes for this pizza to come out of the oven, but we thought it was worth it.

The lines stayed constantly long here the whole time that we were waiting, since the truck is parked right out front of a bar. This was pretty smart planning by the Via 313 folks! It was also highly entertaining for us, as sober people-watchers.

To visit:

Via 313
1111B E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

 

#80 Otto

June 3rd, 2016

Portland, ME

If you read my last post, we were on our way up to Portland to go camping with our newly acquired canoe. We were slightly worried about driving up to Maine with a canoe on the top of Eric’s little Mazda6 but we made it! The canoe didn’t get stolen when we parked it near Area Four in Cambridge, but then of course, what is a student at MIT going to do with a canoe? It also didn’t fall off or come loose. Probably because we were driving well below 65 mph. We unloaded it at our campsite and set off to explore downtown Portland!

Our first pizza dinner stop was at Otto. Until I saw the logo, I didn’t realize that I had actually been to one of the other locations of the restaurant, in Coolidge Corner, MA. This was a few years before our pizza adventure began, though. We had a short wait (Friday night) but there was a street art fair going on around Portland, so we spent the time wandering around and looking at all of the art that we were definitely not going to buy. We were eventually seated, and the wait paid off because we snagged a great table right by the window.

 

We really loved this place because they have a HUGE selection of great vegetable-based pies. We aren’t vegetarian, but we are pretty healthy eaters, believe it or not. It was really hard to choose a pizza to go with, and we ended up ordering the fresh eggplant, ricotta, and basil. And we also had a slice of the famous mashed potato and bacon while we were waiting.

Question: what are thoughts on eggplant on pizza? We are split on this between the two of us – I will only eat the eggplant if it isn’t breaded. Eric likes it both ways. Usually, when we see eggplant on a pizza as a topping, we assume that it is breaded. Modern is famous for its (breaded) eggplant pizza. In all of my google searching, I couldn’t figure out if this is actually an issue for anyone else? Maybe no one else cares…

In any case, the eggplant on this pizza was fresh, which was unusual. It was delicious because it wasn’t watery and was cooked just the right amount. I imagine this is why people don’t use eggplant much on pizza – because it is hard to get right. The ricotta on this really elevated the pizza to the next level. Anyone who has read this blog before knows how much we love our ricotta. The basil was snipped in strips across the top of the pie, which was also unique but really got the basil flavor in every bite. The crust was slightly salty and the sauce was also very good.

I happened to stop at the slice shop in Cambridge while I was there a few weeks ago with a friend. We tried the mashed potato and bacon slice again, and also a ricotta and basil plain slice. Honestly, the slices didn’t live up to the pizzas at the original location. Maybe because they were reheated. The slices were decently sized for lunch, but the ricotta was a little sparse and the crust didn’t have the same crunch or saltiness that I remembered. We’d recommend just going to one of the sit-down locations and ordering a whole pie.

 

To visit:

Otto
576 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

#79 Area Four

June 3rd, 2016

Cambridge, MA

We usually try to take a camping trip every summer. Last year, we tied our camping trip into a birthday/pizza weekend for Eric and drove up to Maine. We found a nice campsite right outside of Portland, brought our canoe, and spent the whole weekend eating pizza and making s’mores. It was awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We planned to get up to our campsite by dark to set up our tent, but this left us plenty of time to stop just outside of Boston for some pizza for lunch. We decided to stop at Area Four, in Cambridge. The weather was beautiful, and we grabbed a table right out front of the restaurant.

The pizza at Area Four seems a bit out of place in Boston and feels like it belongs somewhere in Brooklyn or California. The dough is made from a 15-year old starter that rises for 36 hours. They use local ingredients, and the pizzas change seasonally. Nothing on the menu, from the bread and butter pickles appetizer to the Hawaiian pizza with roasted pineapple salsa, is traditional, but everything we’ve tried is delicious. One of the pizzas (the Carnivore) has been featured on the Food Network’s best pizza ever.

We went for the seasonal spring pie, which had arugula, peas, pickled red onion, mozzarella, and asparagus, and it tasted just like spring. We also tasted the more traditional Marinara pizza, which was topped with a decent amount of basil and roasted garlic. Both were fresh and tasty, and the crust here is perfectly bouncy and light from the wood fired oven. We may have liked the marinara pizza the best.

I was recently back in Cambridge for a work trip, and made a stop for dinner at Area Four again. I was reminded how good this pizza was, even though I opted for the simple Margherita pizza. The fall seasonal special was topped with corn and fresh tomatoes, which made me wish Eric was with me so that we could try that one too.

 

To visit:

Area Four
500 Technology Square
Cambridge, MA 02139

#8 Buddy’s Pizza

May 28th, 2016

Detroit, MI

After eating all of the pizzas that Chicago had to offer, we were ready to try another style. Luckily, our final road trip stop was in Detroit, at Buddy’s Pizza. We had heard that Detroit-style pizza could be pretty heavy, so we planned ahead and only ordered a small deep dish at Lou Malnati’s for lunch.

Buddy’s Pizza is the most famous pizzeria in the area because it was the first to make Detroit’s signature style pizza. It opened in 1946, right on the corner of Six Mile Road and Conant Street. It now has 12 locations around Detroit, but of course we wanted to go to the original one. When we pulled into the parking lot, we weren’t sure if we had the right place. There wasn’t much around the pizzeria in terms of other shops or homes, and the restaurant itself looked almost like it was closed because there weren’t any windows and the door was sort of tucked away. If it wasn’t for the decent number of cars parked in the lot and the large signs reading “Voted #1 best pizza” painted on the outside of the brick exterior, we probably would have driven away.

We ended up ordering one of the traditional square pizzas. We went with the 8-slice version (they also sell a 4-slice version), which is topped with a Motor City cheese blend, which is a mix of fontinella, asiago and brick cheeses, and a tomato basil sauce. They had a good selection of specialty pizzas as well, but for our first Detroit-style experience, we wanted to go with the classic.

If you’ve never tried Detroit-style pizza, it is similar to a Sicilian pizza. They are both square, with a thicker crust, and heavy on the cheese. The difference is mainly that Detroit-style has a nice crispy cheese around the outside of the crust. The sauce is also put on top of the cheese here, and in globs. The sauce was so good, we wished there had been more of it.

You may have noticed Detroit-style pizza popping up in other locations around the US – specifically in NYC. We’ll chat next week about our experience with these other Detroit-style pies, but we’ve found that the best is still the original, and Buddy’s deserves it’s solid ranking near the top of the list.

To visit:

Buddy’s Pizza
17125 Conant Street,
Detroit, MI 48212

#25 Lou Malnati’s

May 28th, 2016

Chicago, IL

We’ve got one more place to talk about in Chicago that we hit on our road trip last year. Our previous stop was at Coalfire, which was one of our favorites of the trip. We saved Lou Malnati’s for last, partly because the original location is slightly outside of town and we could hit it as we started our long drive back East.

The first Lou Malnati’s pizza was opened in Lincolnwood in 1971. Today, there are several locations for Lou Malnati’s, 49 to be exact, and it is probably one of the most well-known deep dish locations in the city, if not in the country. They also randomly have a couple of new locations in Arizona.

We were expecting the restaurant to only serve deep dish, but they actually serve thin crust pizza as well. We aren’t sure why people would try the thin crust, as the deep dish is obviously what they are famous for, but we understand that sometimes you need to switch it up. We went with a personal size cheese pie because we had a long drive ahead of us and more pizza to eat in a couple of hours.

The crust on this pizza wasn’t anything special, although it was still very different from the crusts on the pies at Pequod’s, Gino’s East, and Uno’s. It was probably most similar to Uno’s, because it didn’t have that yellow cornmeal flavor of Gino’s, or the cheese-y crust like Pequod’s. It was a thinner crust than Uno’s, though, and was less bland. We’d say it was probably our second favorite crust.

The crust is layered with  a heavy coating of cheese, mozzarella of course, and then topped with a generous portion of sauce. We really liked the sauce here because it had a great flavor and maybe a touch more salt than the others. Overall, the combination of the sauce and the decent crust made this our second favorite deep dish in Chicago.

If we learned one thing from our time in Chicago, it’s that people have very strong opinions about which deep dish they think it is the best. When we mentioned the deep dish pizzas that we tried, about half of the time someone mentions another pizzeria that wasn’t on the 2015 list. We’re happy to see that most of these other pizzerias have made the subsequent lists, so we’ll be making a trip back to Chicago to try them all out.

 

We also learned on this road trip that one deep dish pizza per day is probably our limit. Even with our massive pizza stomachs. So in a way it was good that all of those other pizza places didn’t make it on to the 2015 list. We wouldn’t have been able to squeeze them all into this trip!

I’ll finish out our road trip posts in my second post this week. Then we’ll dive back in to some of the places we’ve been visiting lately that have made the new 2017 list.

To visit:
Lou Malnati’s

#46 Razza

September 16th

Jersey City, NJ

So, funny story: One day about three years ago I was preparing to leave New Haven and move down to Princeton, NJ. My friend in New Haven, knowing how much I liked pizza, told me about this restaurant, Razza, and said that he heard that it was very good. I saved the website in my bookmarks, but we never ended up going. Partly because we didn’t feel like driving to Jersey City, and partly because we started exploring the New York pizza scene instead.

Now, three years later, we read this article, which made the very bold claim that the best pizza in New York is actually in New  Jersey. Well, we knew that we had to try it as soon as possible to see what all the hype was.

We drove out to Jersey City on a Friday night last month. The restaurant was packed. It was right after the review came out, so I guess everyone wanted to see what the big deal was. There were certainly some locals who stopped by and were a little annoyed that all of these people from New York City had come and taken over their restaurant.

Eric dropped me off and I put our name in. It was a 2 hour wait.

A cautious note to anyone thinking of driving to check Razza out: parking is near impossible to find on a weekend or evening here. We spent over an hour driving around trying to find a spot. Luckily, we had plenty of time to kill before we were going to get to try the pizza.

We were finally seated at the bar and ordered our pizza and also the bread and butter appetizer, because we were quite hungry at this point. The bread is homemade, and the butter is cultured from “grass-fed Pennsylvania cows”.  For pizza, we tried the Bosco, with mushrooms, and the Garden State Margherita. The food took a while to come out, probably because they were so busy and weren’t used to the large number of customers.

The pizzas were OK, really. After all the hype, we were slightly disappointed. You can hopefully see in the photo (sorry about the horrible lighting!) that the crust was a little bit burnt and there wasn’t much sauce OR cheese on the margherita. I’m not sure if the pies are usually this toasty, and we generally do like a little char, but this was a bit too much.

Also, while it was great that the restaurant stresses local, in-season ingredients, they really sell this hard on the menu. We LOVE to see local ingredients being used, but also appreciate when restaurants do it in an unpretentious way. That being said, though, the ingredients did taste fresh and the bread and butter was actually very good.

Overall, we don’t think that this pizza is better than many pizzas in NYC. If you are looking for a Neapolitan pizza, we could list several that we liked better than this one. I mean, the pizza was good, for sure, but didn’t live up to the review. It is also completely possible that the night we tried Razza, the chefs were overwhelmed by the high volume of people. So, maybe the pizza wasn’t the best they’ve ever made. We’d be willing to try it again to see (after we get through the rest of the new list, of course!).

To visit:

Razza Pizza Artigianale
275 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302

 

 

101 Best Pizza Places list 2017

We’ve been waiting for the new Daily Meal 2017 list to come out so that we could add some new pizza places to our list. In case you missed it, the list came out last week! We were even more excited to see the results this time because we had the opportunity to vote on the winners (which was SO COOL) along with 55 other people. You can even see us mentioned in the article.

So, now to the results. Overall, we were pretty happy with the results this year.

101 Best Pizza Places (2017) : places in bold are new to the list in 2017!

#101 Inferno, Darnestown, MD
#100 Il Forno, San Antonio, TX
#99 Crust, Cleveland, OH
#98 Proof, Miami, FL
#97 O4W Pizza, Duluth, GA
#96 Metro Pizza, Las Vegas,
#95 The Cheeseboard, Berkeley, CA
#94 Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria, Anchorage, AL
#93 Burt’s Place, Chicago
#92 Reservoir Tavern, Boonton, NJ
#91 Micucci Grocery, Portland, ME
#90 La Nova, Buffalo, NY
#89 Deniro’s, Depew, NY
#88 Sofia Pizza Shoppe, NYC
#87 Pizza Gruppo, NYC
#86 Papa’s Tomato Pies, Robbinsville, NJ
#85 Colony Grill, Stamford
#84 Pizzeria Beddia, Philadelphia, PA
#83 Pizzeria Locale, Boulder, CO
#82 Serious Pie, Seattle, WA
#81 Del Popolo, San Francisco
#80 Sotto, Los Angeles
#79 Gjelina, Los Angeles
#78 800 Degrees, Los Angeles
#77 Pizzeria Lola, Minneapolis, MN
#76 Vito & Nicks, Chicago
#75 Nellcote, Chicago
#74 Bocce Club Pizza, Buffalo, NY
#73 Providence Coal Fired Pizza, Providence, RI
#72 Pizza Brain, Philadelphia, PA
#71 Lorenzo and Sons, Philadelphia, PA
#70 Amore Pizza, Queens, NY
#69 Little Vincent’s, Huntington, NY
#68 King Umberto’s, Elmont, NY
#67 Williamsburg Pizza, NYC
#66 L&B Spumoni Gardens, NYC
#65 Emily, NYC
#64 Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza, Elizabeth, NJ
#63 Mike’s Apizza & Restaurant, West Haven, CT
#62 Galleria Umberto, Boston, MA
#61 Area Four, Cambridge, MA
#60 Pizzeria Delfina, San Francisco
#59 Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
#58 Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Portland, OR
#57 The Backspace, Austin, TX
#56 Pizzeria Uno, Chicago
#55 Pizano’s Chicago
#54 Giordano’s Pizza, Chicago
#53 Pizzeria Vetri, Philadelphia, PA
#52 Lee’s Tavern, Staten Island
#51 Louie and Ernie’s, NYC
#50 Paulie Gee’s, NYC
#49 J&V Pizzeria, NYC
#48 Juliana’s Pizza, NYC
#47 Emmy Squared, NYC
#46 Razza, Jersey City, NJ
#45 Delorenzo Tomato Pies, Robbinsville, NJ
#44 Bru Room at BAR, New Haven, CT
#43 Una Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco
#42 Pizza Rock, Las Vegas
#41 Cane Rosso, Dallas, TX
#40 Home Slice Pizza, Austin, TX
#39 Pizza Domenica, New Orleans, LA
#38 Denino’s, Staten Island
#37 Al Forno, Providence, RI
#36 New Park Pizza, Queens, NY
#35 Co., NYC
#34 Star Tavern Pizza, West Orange, NJ
#33 Zuppardi, West Haven, CT
#32 Ernie’s Pizza, New Haven, CT
#31 Santarpio, Boston, MA
#30 Flour + Water, San Fransisco
#29 Varasano’s, Atlanta, GA
#28 Umberto’s Pizzeria, New Hyde Park, NY
#27 Coalfire Pizza, Chicago
#26 Spacca Napoli, Chicago
#25 Grimaldi’s, NYC
#24 Piece, Chicago
#23 Lombardi’s NYC
#22 Rubirosa, NYC
#21 Buddy’s Pizza, Detroit, MI
#20 Prince Street Pizza, NYC
#19 Joe’s, NYC
#18 Apizza Scholl’s, Portland, OR
#17 Roberta’s NYC
#16 Pequod’s, Chicago
#15 Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco
#14 Gino’s East, Chicago
#13 Totonno’s NYC
#12 Patsy’s, NYC
#11 Motorino, NYC
#10 Lucali, NYC
#9 Joe & Pat’s, Staten Island
#8 Sally’s Apizza, New Haven, CT
#7 Lou Malnati’s, Chicago
#6 Di Fara, NYC
#5 Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix, AZ
#4 Keste, NYC
#3 Modern Apizza, New Haven, CT
#2 John’s of Bleecker, NYC
#1 Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, CT

Like last year’s list, the majority of the places that made the list are the same as the previous year. There are a few newcomers to this year’s list – 19 to be exact. It looks like we’ll have some fun travel ahead of us, although I’m not sure we will make it out to Alaska. A Chicago trip definitely needs to happen because we still have a handful (Pizano’s, Giordano’s, Vito & Nicks) that are repeats from last year’s list that we haven’t yet made it to, and 2017 just added three more Chicago pizzerias! We also never would have thought that Buffalo was such a good pizza city, but two pizzerias from Buffalo have made it on to the list this year.

It is nice to have a new pizzeria from NJ make the list, but we were a bit disappointed when we went to Razza and actually didn’t vote for it. That post will go up later this week. We assumed that it would make the list, though, after hearing all the hype about it. Also glad to see Juliana’s and Sofia Pizza Shoppe make it on to this list – both of those spots are well deserved.

So how are we feeling about the rest of the list? Well, first of all, we are thrilled to see Frank Pepe’s back in the #1 seat. We also are happy with John’s of Bleecker at #2, but we miss Di Fara in the top 5.  Overall, we’re happy with the top 10, and Eric is thrilled to see Kesté at #4. We still personally prefer Sally’s over Modern, but that’s really just being picky. Lou Malnati’s and Gino’s East beating out Pequod’s…we aren’t sure how we feel about that. Also, Joe & Pat’s is a newbie to the list and came in at #9. We’ve been there and it was decent, but maybe not quite top 10 material (and not better than Totonno’s!).

Marg (my sister) will be glad to see Umberto’s still doing strong, and we’re happy to see our local spot Star Tavern also hanging in there. The biggest drops this year were Louie & Ernie’s up in the Bronx, which went from #11 last year to #51, and Pizzeria Beddia, which dropped from #12 back down to #84. We still think Beddia deserves top 10, but I think that the fact that it is so difficult to get to eat has really hurt it. We’re also happy to see Co. back on the list!

What did you guys think of this year’s list? Any places that you’d like to see on it? We’re still rooting for Da Legna in New Haven to break on to the list, and also we’d like to see Pizza Moto in Brooklyn come back.

And let us know if you want to take a trip up to Buffalo or out to Alaska?? We’ve got 14 new places to visit this year, and still have 9 from last year’s list!

Bruno, Bruno’s, and Mr. Bruno’s

September 5th and September 21st, 2017

Manhattan and New Jersey

Bruno’s is apparently a popular pizzeria name. This month, we’ve been to three pizzerias named Bruno’s (ok, one is actually named “Mr. Bruno’s”). So I’ve decided to post about all three together to find the Best Bruno’s Pizza in the NY/NJ area.

  1. Bruno, Manhattan

The first Bruno can be found in the East Village of Manhattan.  We first noticed the pizza here on Instagram because all of the pizzas posted by the chef look amazing. It has been on our list to visit ever since. While being based in Manhattan, Bruno has a “Brooklyn” feel to it. The chef grinds his own flour in the basement using wheat imported from farms in New York. The ingredients are all locally sourced, and the menu changes seasonally. The restaurant itself has interesting artwork and whitewashed walls, with farmhouse style tables. We loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ordered two pizzas here, the roasted corn seasonal pizza and the ‘nduja, although it was a really tough choice. We had a great talk with Demian, the owner, who told us the story of the pizzeria and how he comes to create such unique pies. We were the only ones in the restaurant (early dinner) and he recognized us from our Instagram! We finished this meal with some of the homemade gelato. We would never have thought that sourdough gelato would be good, but we highly recommend it!

2. Mr. Bruno’s, Lyndhurst, NJ

We’ve been meaning to try out some more pizza found in our home state of New Jersey, so we stopped at two pizza places not too far off of our commute home for dinner one evening.

We ended up testing out Mr. Bruno’s, which was in a strip mall in Lyndhurst, NJ as our first stop. We ordered two Sicilian slices and sat and ate them quickly at the bar.

The plain cheese slices didn’t look so appetizing, but these Sicilian slices were surprisingly good. The sauce was excellent and we liked the more tomato pie-like slice without the heavy dose of mozzarella. The grated cheese on top was just enough cheese for us. We were also pretty excited to see that they sell the sauce there in jars!

3. Bruno’s Pizza, Clifton, NJ

Our second stop after Mr. Bruno’s was Bruno’s Pizza, not too far away in Clifton, NJ. It was similar to Mr. Bruno’s in that it was also located in a strip mall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like at Mr. Bruno’s, we also ordered the Sicilian tomato slice here. It was also a pretty decent tomato slice. They only have two types of slices here, round and square, and that is all that they serve, so you expect that the slices are good.

When we come down to the comparison of the two, we have to give the slight edge to Mr. Bruno’s, because the sauce there was better. On a tomato pie, it is really the sauce that counts. The slice at Bruno’s had more oregano on the top, which did give it a little something extra though. If we had to pick, Mr. Bruno’s would also win out in the crust category, although that would be a close call.

Overall, our favorite Bruno’s was Bruno, in Manhattan. But we were very happy that our Bruno quest helped us find some solid tomato Sicilian slices on our way home in NJ!

#69 Caserta Pizzeria

September 23rd, 2017

Providence, RI

This weekend we went to another pizza place from the 101 list from 2016. I know, it has been a while since we’ve crossed another pizza off of the list! Now that the 2017 list is due out any day now, we thought that we should try to go to some of the remaining ones from 2016. We took the opportunity of a free weekend to drive out to Rhode Island and go to Caserta Pizzeria in Providence.

We parked in Federal Hill in Providence, and spent a little time walking around Little Italy. Caserta Pizzeria is tucked back from the main street, where it has been for the last 60+ years.

The pizza is Sicilian style, but you can’t get slices here. You can order a small pizza (which is what we did), which comes in a circular shape cut into 6 slices. Or, you can go for the large pizza, which has 12 traditional rectangular slices. We really wanted to order one of the large pizzas, but we knew that we wouldn’t have been able to eat it all, even with our big pizza appetites.

We ended up ordering the small pizza with cheese. They have some toppings here too, but we wanted to go with the traditional. The crust on the pizza is doughy, but sturdy. It holds up to the massive amount of cheese that was loaded on top of the pie. There was a decent amount of sauce, too, but the ratio was heavy on the cheese. The cheese also left a crispy crust around the outside of the pie, similar to the deep dish pizza at Pequod’s.

If you come here, don’t be expecting a lot from this pizza place. The pizza itself is good, but nothing spectacular. It does have a serious following of locals, though. In our opinion, it was heavy on the cheese and grease. They don’t serve many toppings and prefer to stick with the classics: pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, and anchovies.

Caserta’s is also famous for their “Wimpy Skippy”, which is a pie (more like a calzone) loaded with spinach, mozzarella, and pepperoni. We didn’t think that this qualified exactly  as pizza, so we went with the traditional pizza instead. “Wimpy” and “Skippy” were actually real people who used to make this in their free time at the restaurant, and one day the owner made it a special and it stuck.

There are a lot of Italian restaurants in Federal Hill, many that are newer looking and have fun happy hour menus. Some look like they also serve pizza. We think this one made it to the list because it is one of the originals. If we were to come back, we’d probably skip this one in favor of Providence Coal Fired Pizza. But if a good, thick, cheesy, Sicilian is your favorite slice, you should make a trip up to Providence.

To visit:

Caserta Pizzeria
121 Spruce Street
Providence, RI 02903