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Pittsburgh Pizza Update - 9/2 - Spak Interview, Pizza Company & a Trip to Pizza Taglio

Pizza UpdateDan TallaricoComment
A slice of pizza from Pizza Taglio.

A slice of pizza from Pizza Taglio.

Pittsburgh! The most livable city, dripping with pizza. 

Maybe not entirely true, but man oh man is there a lot of pizza activity happening in Pizza. Each week I hear about a new mobile pizza unit, a restaurant trying some new pizza stuff or innovation happening with cooking techniques. Here's some pizza news for you to chow down on.

Spak is Back Baby

I spoke with Ryan Spak of Spak Brothers about their pizzeria, the surge of community support and their role as a pizza shop. They do their best to give back to their community. One of my favorite tidbits from the interview is that thanks to everyone spreading the word about Spak on social media, they saw their highest sales ever

The Thursday and Friday immediately following were our best sales to date which is just awe-inspiring.
— Ryan Spak

The Pizza Company Opens in Lawrenceville

The Pizza Company exudes a sense of gawdiness and luxury that is foreign to most pizza places. Most pizza shops favor the neon or plastic sign to advertise their business. They spend most of their time in the kitchen, they'll never see it.

But The Pizza Company opts for a gold-plated sign. What does this mean for their pizza? I'm not sure. I haven't eaten their pie yet, but I know they offer a myriad of slices and their website ends in a .biz. I can't tell if that's genius or what.

The Pizza Company is a franchise local to the Pittsburgh area. The founders, Ray Stahl and Larry Stahl, opened a shop in 1992 then quickly opened three other locations. Is it manifest destiny that compels them to dot western Pennsylvania with pizza franchises?

I'm worried they put an emphasis on business first and quality second, but I'll be stopping in soon for a proper review. 

A Quick Trip to Pizza Taglio

I'm trying to do a better job of chronicling pizza trips. They can get a bit crazy and a series of photos just don't do it justice.

Here's video and some thoughts on my most recent trip to Pizza Taglio. Take a look and let me know what you think. 

On the pizza innovation side of things, Tony at Pizza Taglio is working on perfecting the 2-minute pizza. He's experimenting with different flours and dough to see what works best. Stay tuned for more coverage on that process right here on Pizza Walk With Me!

Interview with Ryan Spak, an Owner of Spak Brothers Pizza in Pittsburgh

Dan TallaricoComment
This is the shirt Common Wealth press designed to aid Spak Brothers. All proceeds go to Spak, you can buy the shirt here.

This is the shirt Common Wealth press designed to aid Spak Brothers. All proceeds go to Spak, you can buy the shirt here.

As you're aware, near the middle of August, Spak Brothers had a run of bad luck that the likes of Mr. Magoo couldn't evade. No amount of charm or whimsy could sidestep a broken door, a stolen register and a deceased cooler. 

The Spak Boys were down on their luck. The cooler and the register of a pizza shop are keystone items. Without them there's no way to keep the dough chilled or make money. Their systems were crippled and faced a crossroad. Tough it our or sell their soul to the devil. Or, reach out to a Pittsburgh message board, Never Tell Me The Odds.

How did people ask for help before the Internet? Did every business have a custom spotlight? Classifieds? Either way, once Ryan Spak wrote that note Pittsburgh took immediate action. You never mess with a Pittsburgher's Pizza Shop.

A thread on Reddit, a note in Pittsburgh Magazine and a post on I Heart PGH was enough to build a Spak Milita. They opened that Thursday and Friday to record sales.

Ryan Spak says, "It's been insanely busy around here. We've had a ton of exposure and new customers. The Thursday and Friday immediately following were our best sales to date which is just awe-inspiring. Everyone here feels loved (and sweaty) and I thank everyone who came through from the bottom of my heart."

Much like how every slice of pizza is just as important as the next, every little bit of support helps a business in a pinch. This wasn't lost on Ryan and the Spak crew.

It's hard to put words to the emotions but the outreach was humbling to put it lightly. From Dan and the crew at Commonwealth Press going way above and beyond to all the people that wrote articles and blog posts on the fly to everyone who took the time to share a Facebook status or grab a slice I just want to say that there were times that I got misty eyed just waking up to all the support.

A very, very special shoutout to all of the incredible employees/friends at the shop who worked themselves ragged to pull everything together. Without all of them we are nothing and every single person here went way above and beyond what they needed to do.

I've heard comments and rumbling questioning this initiative. "Why should we help out Spak? My car died, can I get some help?" Hey, that'd be great, but Spak never asked for handouts. They have spent the years they've been open giving back to the community. Because they know without a neighborhood to eat their pizza, their pizza may as well not exist.

"We see owning a business as more than just making money," Ryan Spak says. "I guess a good way of saying it is that on a grander scope every donation to a cause that promotes equality, compassion, empowerment and education is an investment in the future. Things take a long time to change in our world and the fruits of our efforts may not even be apparent in our lifetimes. I'm ok with that and think often of the countless people who came before that had the presence of mind to plant the seeds of rights and opportunities that we tend to take for granted now."

So what's next for a pizza shop thriving in the heart of Garfield?

"We have outgrown our current location and are planning big things for the future but all that takes time (or lots of cash flow ha) but stay tuned for amazing things to come."

And it wouldn't be an interview with a pizza shop owner without a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reference. As a thanks, Ryan told me to tell you all:

Cowabunga dudes and dudettes, we love you all xo
— Ryan Spak

 

 

Pizza Sleuthing - Clue’s to a “Hip” Vocelli’s Spin-Off?

Dan TallaricoComment

Today I got a hot pizza tip from my pizza pal, Chad. He sent me this photo from a storefront in Downtown Pittsburgh:

V3 Pizza

Okay. Cool. We got a new pizza place opening up in Downtown Pittsburgh that’s eager to hire team members. Nothing wrong with supplying jobs! I love it. 

Nothing encourages a pizza culture like a new, original pizza entrepreneur opening up a restaurant service slices to the city.

But what is “V3 Pizza”? I did some Googling and found absolutely nothing.

Something was odd. There was no Facebook page, no social media, no website. Surely even an amateur pizza shop would have some web presence. Then I stumbled upon this trademark page for V3 Pizza

V3 Pizza Trademark

There wasn’t much information here, except for some lawyers, the fact that it’ll sell pizzas and the address of a holding company. The owner of the trademark is Ablak Holdings, LLC, located on South Bee street in Pittsburgh. 

And you know what else Ablak Holdings has trademarked? Vocelli’s. That’s how they got their start, actually. They do “brand management with style” which is something I can’t begin to comprehend.

But how is V3 and Vocelli’s connected? 

Vocelli’s Pizza Franchise support center is located on South Bee Street, the same place as the holding company and the same place that V3 is supposedly HQd according to the trademark page.

Other franchises owned by Ablak Holdings: Rock N’ Joe (which “Vocelli’s” purchased back in 2014) and Zafer Solutions, which doesn’t seem to have a web presence. 

All signs point to this being an experimental pizza brand for Vocelli’s.

So what is V3?

Outside of a pizza place, I don’t know what V3 Pizza is. It’s not unusual for a traditional pizza place to spinoff a brand as an experiment. Aiello’s did this with Pizza Sola before selling it off. 

So, heres my guess V3 Pizza:

  • Will sell slices.
  • May sell six packs as pizza places tend to do.
  • Takeout & delivery
  • Some artisan elements such as prosciutto. Really cashing in on the rise of decadents pizza.

I’ve reached out to Vocelli’s for a comment on this. Hopefully I’ll hear back from them soon.

Best Places to Stop for Pizza Along Open Streets PGH

Dan TallaricoComment

Today is a day where cars are banned from a contiguous street in Pittsburgh. This frees the citizens to explore streets and role-play as someone who has survived an apocalypse. An era where cars have rusted into extinction, people barter by using hoagies, and everyone sleeps in the park. 

But as we take back the streets, today is a great day to enjoy some pizza. You can even enjoy the luxury of sitting in the street, cross legged, with a pizza box and a circle of friends in the middle of Penne Avenue!

Here’s some of the best places to stop along the Open Street PGH route to grab some pizza.

Bella Notte



Located in the Strip between 19th and 20th street, this is a grand place to get a pie. It’s a classic kind of pizza that will bring back memories of long summer days and late nights running recklessly through streets as a kid.

Pizza Parma


This is a bit greasier, sloppy pizza. But if you’ve made the trek downtown to 9th street from 40th street, this could be the kind of pizza to perk you up and restore those lost nutrients.

Stone Neapolitan Pizzeria



A bit beyond the end / start of Open Streets PGH is Stone. It’s an extraordinary pizzeria that sits on the cusp of Point Park. They can whip you up an authentic Italian pizza (with the fluffy dough and buffalo mozzarella) in just a few minutes. 



Have any suggestions? unfortunately many of these places don’t open until around noon. And who knows, maybe there will be other pizza surprises along the route! Enjoy your day on the streets!

Pittsburgh Pizza Update 5-12-2015: Mobile Pizzeria, Pizza Fest, and Pizza Meets Baseball

Dan TallaricoComment

What a week it’s been in Pittsburgh Pizza news! As Pittsburgh begins to turn the heat up, pizza season is in full swing. Well, it’s less of a “swing” and more of “pizza season continues per usual.” 

Let’s get to the pizza news for this week.


Mobile Pizza Downtown


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I was interviewing a fellow pizza lover the other day and he expressed his sadness for the lack of mobile pizza units. He wondered where Pizza Boat had sailed off to (they’re at the Spirit Lodge, fyi) and why there was no other pizza unit to fill their void.

Well, as it turns out there’s the Wood Fired Flatbreads truck. They pop-up in downtown Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill, and a few other places around the city. They seem a bit less cool than the Pizza Boat, but it looks like they do a great job of making you a pizza on a city sidewalk. 


PNC Park & Pizza


Last week I wrote up a list of the best pizza places to eat pizza if you’re going to a Pittsburgh Pirate’s game at PNC park. It’s a great list and I hope it’s of great use to you as you enjoy baseball in the city.

Well, I have more news on the PNC Pizza front. Have you heard of Pizza Logs? It’s not a combination of pizza and Lincoln Logs. It’s a rolled up pizza. That you can build a pizza house out of, I guess?

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There they are! They’re a new addition to the pizza landscape at PNC Park. Next time you’re at PNC Park, try out a Pizza Log and let me know what you think. They seem like something you’d want to eat at a baseball game.

Pizza Fest Fills Lawrenceville


I conducted a ton of interviews at Pizza Fest; I spoke with the owners of Spak and Pizza Parma. I interviewed pizza enthusiasts. I even spoke to the folks behind the Pizza Pinup competition! I’ll have videos and interviews with those folks coming this week, but I wanted to share some photos from the event.

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It was legit crazy. So glad it’s an event that exist in Pittsburgh.


Alright! That’s a wrap for this week’s Pittsburgh Pizza Update. I was going to talk about how Andrew W.K. added a new show/pizza party in Pittsburgh, but that’s already sold out. Rats. 

I’m working on some interviews, videos, and more which I’ll sprinkle into the website in the coming days. Tell your favorite message board! Tell a pizza shop! Or sign up for my pizza newsletter!

Best Pizza Places to Eat Pizza Before a Pittsburgh Pirate’s Game

Dan TallaricoComment

Hi. Pizza is a food that can strike at any moment. During a party, during sad times and during the times of your life that you’ll remember for ages to come. To ensure you’re always near a pizza shop I’m going to do my best to educate you about the best pizza you can digest in nearly any scenario. Today, we’ll talk about pizza strategy for a Pittsburgh Pirate’s game.

Summer is approaching and with the heat, humidity and moderate amount of quality Pittsburgh sunshine comes baseball. To cheer on the Buccos you’re going to need some good pizza. 

Here’s some pizza places to eat at when you go to a Pittburgh Pirate’s Game.

Giovanni’s


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Giovanni’s employees a clumsy italian man who’s only job is to drop his biscotti and, when he bends over to pick it up, use his rotund rump to knock a canister of sugar into a vat of their sauce.

With that in mind, this is the kind of pizza place you go to if you have kids tagging along for a hot day at the park. The sweetness of the pizza will cut though any attitude and perk up toddlers and teens alike. Their palates won’t mind the sweetness and you’ll happily choke this down.

Eat this pizza when: The Pirates play the Atlanta Braves. It’s the pizza version of sweet tea and will really get you into the southern spirit.

Diamond Pizza in PNC Park


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Image credit: Pizza Pizazz

When I was a child and my dad took me to baseball games at Three Rivers Stadium I would cry in my seat until he returned with pizza. I was a pouty kid, the kind of kid who would throw a vacuum cleaner down the steps for no reason. So, when the pizza finally arrived I’d take a sabbatical from crying from nothing and instead cry that the pizza tasted too much like wine.

My dad never gave me wine so I had no frame of reference, but it was gross enough that I would choke down half the pizza and call it quits. I think that pizza was Pizza Hut pizza.

Anyways, Diamond Pizza Place does not taste like wine. It’s a solid place to get pizza inside the ballpark.

Eat this pizza when: The Pirates play the New York Yankees. They’ll sell you a big ol’ NY slice of pizza. Then, when AJ Burnett walks a guy you can shout (in a sloppy New York accent) “Hey, I’m walking here!”

Stone Neapolitan Pizzeria


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Stone pizza combines the Chipotle / Henry Ford assembly line mentality with the frugality and practicalness of an Italian grandmother who follows her heart to make a warm, gooey pizza. You pick the toppings, sauce and oil and the pizzaiolo behind the counter will fix you up a pizza faster than Marte can run the bases.

Eat this pizza when: The Pirates play the Cubs. You can eat authentic, fancy pizza and brag that the pizza was made faster than it takes to cut a single slice of their thick Chicago Pizza.

Monte Cello’s


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Monte Cello’s is the pizzeria you went with your high school sweetheart after a high school football game. After your ninth refill of Pepsi, six slices of pizza and a win for the home team you were filled with the feeling invincibility and enough gas to float a hot air balloon over the Grand Canyon.

There’s a Monte Cello’s downtown that exists to pay homage to your childhood. Every slice that comes out of that oven is sprinkled with a proprietary blend of parmesan, pepper and nostalgia.

Eat this pizza when: The Pirates play the team from the hometown you moved from so you could go to CMU / work for Google.

Pizza Parma


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On the other end of the Rachel Carson bridge is Pizza Parma. It’s a pizza shop that exists on an ever-changing corner, except it is untouched by time. Pizza Parma adheres to no rules but their own and they’re not rules you’ll ever be familiar with.

Their slices are large, cheesy and capable of absorbing any poisons that linger in your stomach. It is both a panacea and a hinderance to your health. Choose from the Barnyard Special, the Taco Pizza, or the BBQ Chicken pizza.

Eat this pizza when: The Pirates are playing an unimportant game and you’re mostly there to tailgate, roll into the stadium in the fourth inning and boo Ryan Braun

Special Shoutout to the Beer Market

The Beer Market, located right next to PNC Park, turns the BYOB formula on its head. They have hundreds of beers to choose from and they welcome you to bring in any food. But really, you’re going to bring pizza.

You can grab pizza from any of the places above, bring it to the Beer Market and enjoy a number of beers. Getting a seat can be a strategic undertaking, but if you’re cunning and persistent you’ll have no problem. 


Now you’re prepared to eat pizza next time you go to a Pirate’s game. If you enjoyed this, go ahead and tell a bud or two! You can even sign up for my pizza newsletter to get great stuff like this delivered directly to your inbox.

Pittsburgh Pizza Update 5-5: Pinup-Pizza Calendar, Pizza Photo Journal, and Another “Best Pizza in Pittsburgh” List

Dan TallaricoComment

Another week in Pittsburgh, another week of pizza news that you have got to be devouring. So much news, in fact, that Bill Peduto mentioned to me during the half marathon that he’s thinking of turning The Point into a slice of pizza. 

The fountain would of course erupt with tomato sauce and cheese to alert citizens of any important pizza news.

Crazy but totally true. But hey, let’s talk Pittsburgh Pizza News & Happenings.


Pittsburgh Pizza Pinup Contest

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On May 9, Pittsburg Pizza Fest kicks off in Arsenal Park, as part of Spring it On. It’s a pizza event I wrote about last week because there will be a really great pizza competition where you’re the pizza judge. And if you think you can look super cute while eating pizza you may have a future in a pizza calendar!. 

As part of the Pittsburgh Pizza Fest there will be a Pittsburgh Pizza Pinup Contest. Here’s a quote from the Facebook page for the event:

We’ll be offering a chance to be part of our Pizza Pinup calendar for 2016 that will be in pizza shops all over Pittsburgh!

Bring your best pizza outfit and pose with a greasy slice for a chance to win. 

A Pizza Photojournal

If I had a motorcycle I’d pop wheelies 24/7 and peel out on my way from pizza place to pizza place. I’d ride into the sunset, launch off a ramp and land on a cushion of cheese.

I’d wear a jacket made out of uneaten pizza crust and my helmet would be a greasy pizza box. 

Some motorcycle owners drive their motorcycles to every pizza place in Western Pennsylvania. Some motorcycle owners start a pizza journal.

Meet The Pizza Journal. It’s an Instagram account manned by two dudes with motorcycles who eat pizza. It’s a smart use of the medium and a great way to distribute bite-sized pizza thoughts.

They are really keen on discovering the flaves.

The Best Pizza in Pittsburgh in Thrillist

I’ve never met a “Best Pizza” list I’ve agreed with. Which is probably a good thing—if we all had the same opinions on pizza then every pizza shop in Pittsburgh would just be a replica of Spak Brothers.

There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to this list of on the Thrillist. It’s a smattering of interesting pizza places in Pittsburgh that would show up in any Reddit comment thread about pizza.

Most pizza list adheres to an ancient architecture. Which usually contains:

  • The classic pizza tossed by an old guy.
  • The classic pizza tossed by a younger person.
  • The weird pizza that “you have to try trust me.”
  • The vegan/gluten friendly pizza,
  • The artisan pizza using local ingredients.
  • The pizza you eat when black-out drunk/hungover

You can read Rossilynne’s list on the Thrillist here and see how many archetypes show up on the list!


Alright! That’s a wrap for this week’s Pittsburgh Pizza Update. I’m working on some interviews, videos, and more which I’ll sprinkle into the website in the coming days. Tell your favorite message board! Tell a pizza shop! Or sign up for my pizza newsletter!

Pittsburgh Pizza Update 4-28: Andrew W.K. Pizza Party, Pizza Festival, and a Pizza Taglio Writeup

Dan TallaricoComment

Welcome to week of Pizza Walk With Me’s Pittsburgh Pizza Update! That’s a heck of a title! Because the pizza scene is flourishing in Pittsburgh, a title with gravitas is more than necessary. 

Before we begin I really want to thank the folks over at /r/Pittsburgh! I posted my pizza update there (and I’ll continue to post them there!) which resulted in over 200 comments and some great discussions. While most people just listed a number of great pizza places, there was one point I wanted to dwell on for a moment. 

Sybertron writes:

I think some of it is the morbid overrating of some very popular places. Leading to “Lets get Mineos! It is the best Pizza in town!”
And then the out of towner tries it, is rightfully “that’s the best?” and then disdains all pizza here by default.

And this is something I’ve experienced more often than I care to admit. I’ve had pals in from all sorts of cities. Invevitably, when they land they say, “Hey Dan, you have a pizza blog, how about we get some great pizza?” Then, like a chump, I babble on and on about how the Pittsburgh pizza foundation is thick and rich with history and oozing with greatness. Then we go to Mineo’s and they nearly choke on the cheese and grease and they leave non-plussed, never to visit again.

There’s an epidemic in Pittsburgh where we are swelling with pride that we hyperbolize a lot of our traditions. To outsiders it makes us look crazy and delusional. 

In the future, as a Pittsburgh pizza ambassador, try taking a visitor to a new pizza place that’s pushing the pizza envelope. Not a pizza place that hasn’t changed in forty years.  If you want to impress people you don’t show them that old antique pizza you have, you show them that you’re on the cutting edge and capable of evolving the pizza craft.

Pittsburgh Pizza News!

Pizza Taglio Write Up

I visited Pizza Taglio in East Liberty and was inspired to write about my experience. It was magical and I think you all need to go there immediately and do not leave until you’re filled to the brim. 

It combines artisan with comfort in a unique way—it’ll reward the adventurous and satisfy the careful.

The Steel City PizzaFest Puts on a Pittsburgh Pizza Festival

On May 9th, in Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville, Second Shift Crafters and The Steel City PizzaFest are partnering to put on a music/pizza festival called “Spring it On!”. According to the press release, this is the first free music and pizza festival—not that I know of any music and pizza festivals that cost money.

It sounds like the place to be as there will be a Ms. PizzaBurgh competition, dough throwers, and a people’s choice for best pizza. You’ll be able to vote and sample pizza from the following vendors:

Spak Bros, Pizza Parma, Calente, Angelo’s, Grazziano’s, Pessaro’s, Hambones, and Cattivo.

The dark horse in this list is Cattivo. I’ve had the pizza there many times and I’m confident it’ll blow you away.  

Leading this initiative is none other is Michael Devine, aka DJ Zombo. Pretty rad. There’s more information about the pizza festival right here!

Andrew W.K Throwing a Pizza-Party Concert

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Andrew W.K. (who is a huge Spak Brothers fan and has sent them a number of certificates for being awesome) is performing at the Roboto Project in Lawrenceville on June 7th,  where he will also be throwing a pizza party. 

Andrew W.K. is not shy about his opinions on pizza or parties, unfortunately the show is sold out. Maybe you can wait out back and eat some of the crusts that Andrew W.K. didn’t eat? Which is crazy to type, because he is definitely eating every inch of pizza. 

Just read his advice column where he counsels a young, pizza-addled individual.

Please Cheer for Pizza Dan at the Pittsburgh Marathon

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I’ll be running the half-marathon this Sunday! This is my bib from 2013 where I ran the entire marathon. I was quite tired, but the one thing that kept me going was the entire city cheering “Come on Pizza Dan!” 

Make a difference this weekend - get out of your house and cheer on some runners. 

Here’s a Dog Holding a Slice of Pizza


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Alright! That’s a wrap for this week’s Pittsburgh Pizza Update. I’m working on some interviews, videos, and more which I’ll sprinkle into the website in the coming days. A company in Chicago sent me some pizzas to review, so you can expect that soon. If you like what you read tell your friend! Tell your favorite message board! Tell a pizza shop! Or sign up for my pizza newsletter!

Pizza Taglio: Bringing Roman Style Pizza to Pittsburgh

Dan TallaricoComment

Tony is the guy that brought his pizza to Espresso a Mano. It was a caffeinated testing ground to see if Pittsburgh was ready for an evolution in the pizza species. 

He’d deliver the pizzas around noon. Then, the pillowy soft pizza, that was perfect for bravely dipping into espresso or resting your weary head, would vanish. Look at that thing!

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The patrons couldn’t resist it. Tony took it as a sign to open a pizza shop in East Liberty. And that’s how we get to Pizza Taglio.

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Now this is a pizza place. It’s a long area, simple and open so Tony can greet every single person as he makes pizza. Tony is stationed in the middle of the restaurant surrounded by stacks of dough, ingredients within an arms reach and ovens to his back. 

If there was a pizza purgatory where you were sentenced to make pizzas for eternity, I imagine it would looks like this. For Tony this is heaven.  At least, I’m assuming Tony, who quit his life as a lawyer to make pizzas full-time, would consider this heaven. 

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This was my view all night. I took a seat nearest to Tony so I could keep a close eye on him. I wanted to study this guy who dared bring an evolution of pizza to Pittsburgh. And in return he yelled pizza facts at me all night.

I’m reading the menu when he shouts over the glass “I finally found a cheese for the margherita pizza that I like.” Two things here before we move on.

1. I wasn’t aware Tony was on this journey. Why not just use buffalo mozzarella from Italy like everyone else?

2. That is his ice breaker? He must kill at parties because who doesn’t love to talk about exotic cheeses.

Tony continued,“Yeah, you’ll never guess the country.”

“Hmmm…not Italy?”

“Colombia!! Can you believe it? They ship the buffaloes over there and raise them in Colombia. It’s incredible!”

Tony was incredibly excited. I think he actually couldn’t stop talking about this cheese. He was thrilled beyond belief and had to tell someone. I doubt I’m the first to hear about Tony’s secret Colombian-Buffalo Cheese. 

But that’s the passion and attention to detail Tony brings to his craft. Every pizza, every topping, every piece of flour has a story.  There’s only eight pizzas on the menu and each one is carefully constructed. You can pay for extras, but why would you? That’d be like paying an artist to draw over the hair on the Mona Lisa with a half-empty highlighter that happened to be sitting in the gallery.

I chose the Greenpointer. This pizza is inspired by a pizza place in Brooklyn and, I think, built for those that crazy artistry paired with comfort. This pizza is covered in honey and soppresota.

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I ordered the Greenpointer and Tony shouted over the glass if I wanted it round or square - what a question! 

I asked Tony what he thought and he paused, then said, “Round would be great.” But I must have subconsciously reacted, or Tony saw something on my face that only a lawyer would be trained to see. 

He stammered, his hands flopping dough back and forth into a pie, “Well the square would be great, too. It would work with the sauce and the cheese. Either way, I guess you could do it either way.”

I went with round. Did it make a huge difference? Did he serve me an illegal pizza? I was puzzled, but incredibly delighted.

Halfway through my Greenpointer Tony brought out a square cauliflower pizza. Before the plate could touch the table, Tony started to confess to me. He confessed how the dough is going to rise longer. And how he didn’t get a chance to check the bubble structure. I told him I’d be more than happy to check the bubble structure and that the pizza looked amazing. Should I have told him I wasn’t wearing a pizza wire?

So here’s the cauliflower pizza.

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Check out that bubble structure!

This cauliflower pizza was oddly decadent. There was nothing sweet on it, but it was creamy and savory and a blast to eat. Each bite unleashed a hint of smokiness, like it was cooked atop some hickory wood chips. It had an after taste of summer camp, like you were eating a creamy, slightly charred marshmallow that your summer crush roasted for you. 

Delightful and comforting.

But here’s a kicker. On the table before me I had what most people would consider two pizzas. They have a lot in common (cheese, sauce, bread), yet these two beings could not taste anymore different. Side-by-side they seemed alien. Like one was the missing link from pizza history and the other a modern, nimble, evolution of pizza.

Bouncing between the two pizzas was like skipping back and forth between planets or traveling across time. They in no way had a single flavor in common yet they share similar DNA. 

It’s simply pizza wizardry. That’s the only explanation.

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I’m about to leave when he looks up and asks me if I’ll try his pizza carbonara. I’m meeting my fiancé up the street, I’m already incredibly late. “You have to try it,” he says. It sounds like Willie Wonka convincing Charlie to get inside his glass elevator. 

Do I turn down the opportunity for a pizza with an egg cracked on it? Or do I…well no, there is no alternative. When Tony offers you pizza you always say yes. It’s basically a pizza commandment.  

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Here’s the end result of the pizza carbonara. It’s a white pizzas with a wiggly egg in the middle. It sits there like a king sitting on its throne, surrounded by its kingdom of cooked meats and cheese.

Tony cracked the egg on top of the pizza immediately after it came out of the oven. “The egg will be cooked enough in about 15 seconds.”

And by the time he brought it to my table it looked like your normal sunny-side up egg. 

The pizza was breakfast. The kind of breakfast you make on a sleepy Saturday morning, complete with bacon and eggs. 

At this point I was bursting with pizza. 

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Then Tony brought out a cannoli. 

“So does this cannoli have a backstory too?” I asked.

Tony had retreated behind the glass and tossed some pizza, thinking. He said “Well, I’m Sicilian. I had to have something like that on my menu.”


Pizza Taglio is something special. Tony is a force to be reckoned with—he finds inspiration for pizza, ingredients, and recipes in the deepest darkest depths of the world. What he’s doing is turning experiences into pizza, like it’s a prized form of alchemy. 

When you visit Pizza Taglio in East Liberty, you’ll walk away with a unique pizza memory. Be daring and try a pizza slightly outside your comfort zone. It could be the closest thing to knowing what another dimension taste like.  

For Tony, his next adventure is taking him to the heart of Cuba. I’m not sure what he’ll find there, but I know it’ll be great. Could it be a specially seasoned pork? Or pizza wrapped up like cigars? 

Hopefully we’ll find out soon. 

Pittsburgh Pizza Update - 4/23 - Be a Pizza Hipster

Dan TallaricoComment

Hey! You’re reading the second week of the Pittsburgh Pizza Update! This is great news because it means Pittsburgh is bursting with pizza news. The Pittsburgh Pizza scene is rising faster than dough overloaded with yeast and set in a humid, warm room. 

I think we owe a lot of this growth to the recent changes in Pittsburgh and influx of adventurous young people. I don’t know the best way to describe it, but Tony from Pizza Taglio does. He believes the reason we have such  an insurgence in great pizzerias is due to the idea of “the hipster.” Which is in no way derogatory here. It’s a way to say people care about trying new things.

Which is why Tony can serve a pizza drizzled with honey, or a square pizza fused with cauliflower. Or why Bread & Salt can open up blocks back from Liberty Ave—Pittsburgh folks are seeking out new experiences which means these rad new places can thrive. 

Just thinking about it gets me really hyped up. Let’s get to some updates.



One of Many “Best Pizza in Pittsburgh” Discussions

I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff. And I found a Pittsburgh Podcast called “Is That Your Kid?” where they discuss pizza. I don’t think they always discuss pizza (or it’d be called “Is That Your Pizza?”), but in this episode the cast eats and argues about Fiori’s, Pizza Milano, Bet’s, Slice on Broadway and Giovanni’s. 

You can listen to that here. Being able to hear these discussions is important. It’s such a hot topic and there is no right answer, but being able to discuss the pros and cons for something as “simple” and “basic” as pizza helps you appreciate pizza on a whole other level. You’ll begin to notice the crust in unusual ways. And the cheese will seem different. And soon you’ll understand that sometimes it’s not about the quantity of pizza, but love and passion poured into each and every slice.


Portable Pizza Sure is All the Rage


This summer the concrete seas of Pittsburgh may be without our precious Pizza Boat, but it looks like there will be other portable pizzas around town.

Urban Pie is the newest addition to the fleet. They may be setting sail this May and they’re available for all your events that are in desperate needs of a pizza oven (which are all events).

Will they hit some choppy seas? Either way, it’s awesome to have more mobile pizza in the city. I’ll keep an eye on Urban Pie and update the site with any updates.


Slice on Broadway Recognized by the Pittsburgh City Council


Last week, Slice on Broadway was given their own day in Pittsburgh. For now on, every April 14 will be “Slice on Broadway Day” in Pittsburgh. And they deserve this and every award they receive. I spoke with Rico a few months back and he cares so deeply for his community. Plus, his pizza is out of this world.

Here’s a video I put together on Slice on Broadway.

Some Pizza Photos


I visited Pizza Taglio and Carhop’s pizza last week. Expect a full write-up later this week. In the mean time, here’s some photos to tide you over.

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Alright! That’s the second Pittsburgh Pizza Update. I’m working on some interviews, videos, and more which I’ll sprinkle into the website in the coming days. If you like what you read tell your friend! Tell your favorite message board! Tell a pizza shop! Or sign up for my pizza newsletter!