In America, pizza styles are as diverse and varied as Americans themselves. Among the thick-crust, thin-crust, pan and deep-dish options is the wood-fired, brick-oven pizza which produces a perfectly crisp, slightly chewy crust that lends itself perfectly to an array of toppings. Here are five restaurants in Pittsburgh that are doing brick-oven pizza right.
Frankstown Wood Fired Pizza
12911 Frankstown Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Located in Penn Hills, Frankstown Wood Fired Pizza is a small and unassuming pizza shop that happens to make some of the most authentic, Old World-style pizza in Pittsburgh. Frankstown Wood Fired Pizza uses genuine wood-fired ovens to create its three styles of pizza: Margherita, Bianco and Marinara. The Margherita pizza is traditional with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella. The Bianco pizza is a “white” pizza with olive oil, garlic, spinach and feta cheese. The Marinara pizza is simple with tomato sauce and mozzarella. In addition, there are other toppings that can be added to the basic pizzas such as pepperoni, mushrooms, hot or sweet peppers, olives, sausage, spinach and anchovies. The pizzas come in one size, 12 inches in diameter, but are a bargain at only $6.50 each with extra toppings for $1 each. Frankstown Wood Fired Pizza also serves freshly-made hoagies, salads and Italian ice.
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3525 Liberty Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Famous for its hand-crafted beers and unique atmosphere, Church Brew Works also has an excellent selection of wood-fired brick oven pizzas on its pub menu. Church Brew Works is housed in the Old St. John the Baptist church in Lawrenceville. In the early 1990s when the Pittsburgh Diocese underwent reorganization, the church was put under an act of suppression and was dormant for some years until the Church Brew Works purchased it, painstakingly restored it to its original glory and created one of the most unique and beautiful breweries and restaurants in Pittsburgh. Guests can sit in the historic church sanctuary to enjoy a meal or in the enclosed garden patio if the weather is right. Church Brew Works has many tempting dishes, but the wood-fired pizza on its pub menu is sure to be a palate pleaser. There is a wide variety of pizzas to choose from like traditional cheese or pepperoni to The Southwestern with blackened tomato cilantro sauce, chipotle peppers, corn, red onions and jack cheese. True to its Pittsburgh roots, there is even a Pittsburgh Pierogie pizza on the menu with potato puree, sauteed onions, garlic and cheddar cheese. Wood Fired Brick Oven pizzas range from $13 to $15 for a 12-inch pizza.
4578 Gibsonia Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044
Nestled in the beautiful wooded acres of Gibsonia, La Casa Narcisi Winery houses La Vite, a quaint and quiet Italian restaurant that features homemade pastas and brick-oven pizzas. Guests can sit in a lovely, yet casual atmosphere within the winery or on the outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard. All of the brick-oven pizzas feature hand-crafted dough and fresh ingredients. There are traditional pizzas such as Cheese, Pepperoni and Banana Pepper or Margherita. However, the pizza menu also extends to a Salsiccia Pizza with hot Italian sausage, caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese and a spicy marinara sauce. Pizza prices range from $11.99 to $13.99 for dinner and $8.99 to $12.99 for lunch which is served Wednesday through Friday until 4 p.m. The brick-oven pizzas are perfectly accompanied by a bottle of La Casa Narcisi wine, available in the restaurant.
Pi Coal Fired Pizza
1707 E Carson St
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Located in the South Side, Pi Coal Fired Pizza uses coal-fired ovens rather than wood for its pizzas. The use of clean burning coal adds great flavor and perfect crispness to the pizza crust. Pi’s pizza menu includes traditional options of Marinara, Margherita and Pepperoni pizzas as well as some specialty pizzas. The spicy Diavola pizza includes San Marzano tomato sauce, basil, fresh mozzarella, spicy Italian salami and red pepper flakes. The Quattro Stagioni pizza has San Marzano tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella, but then the pizza is quartered and topped with roasted red peppers, prosciutto, fresh mushrooms and artichokes so that each topping is highlighted on its own slices. Pizza prices range from $7 to $11.50. Pi Coal Fired pizza is also known for its salads and coal-fired wings which make a great accompaniment to any meal.
201 S Main St
Washington, PA 15301
Located in Washington, Upper Crust occupies the corner of South Main and East Maiden Streets. Upper Crust specializes in wood-fired pizzas with authentic Italian recipes, soups, salads, sandwiches and rich, Italian desserts. Upper Crust has a menu of basic and specialty pizzas which include the Carne Pizza with pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon. Eat up meat lovers. Each day, Upper Crust has a different specialty pizza with a unique blend of meats, cheeses and vegetables that result in a delightful pie. Upper Crust offers pizzas in a 12-inch and 14-inch size and prices range from $9 to $14. Customers can bring their favorite wine or beer to this BYOB establishment. Upper Crust is currently working to open a specialty deli with Italian and gourmet meats and cheeses adjacent to its restaurant.
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Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.