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Pizza Dojo 3 - Pizza Boat vs Driftwood Oven. Is the World Wide Enough for Two Mobile Pizza Units?

Pizza News, Pizza VideoDan TallaricoComment

The build up to Pizza Dojo 3 was tense and uncomfortable. Witnessing two pizza artists prepare for battle is never easy. At the end of the day, can't we all just survive alongside one another? Pizza Boat and Driftwood Oven thought otherwise; two pizza makers would enter the Pizza Dojo, a parking lot conveniently located behind Spirit Lounge (Pizza Boat's HQ), and maybe only one pizza team would survive. Or both. The rules are somewhat unclear what "winning" is considered at these events.

Much like the famous duel between Burr and Hamilton, this was a battle that would change the course of the pizza stream flowing through time. Would a victory propel whomever to grow and prosper? Would defeat mean that Driftwood oven or Pizza Boat was legally obligated to never make pizza again? 

Luckily, this battle was too close to call. I think at the end it was a honest-to-goodness tie. 

Neil and Justin work the pizza oven. They hired a ninja to work the front of house. 

Neil and Justin work the pizza oven. They hired a ninja to work the front of house. 

Pizza Boat and Driftwood Oven each brought two types of pizza to the event. One from the family of Pepperoni and another filled with vegetables.  For $15 you got to have one of each - this may go down in history as the pizza deal of the year.

Driftwood Oven prettied up their pepperoni offering by topping their pie with chili flakes and Spanish chorizo. On a cold autumn evening, the extra spiciness was a welcome reprieve from the surrounding cold.

Here's the Roni from Driftwood Oven. I love how the pizza crust forms a valley of pizza. 

Here's the Roni from Driftwood Oven. I love how the pizza crust forms a valley of pizza. 

On the other end, we have Pizza Boat who kept it simple. They know what their audience wants and that's a pizza cooked to perfection, with a soft and chewy dough topped with fresh pepperoni. 

There was no decadence with this pizza. This was pizza 101 performed by a master of the craft. Unlike most pepperoni pizzas, there wasn't a pool of grease to traverse. I'm inclined to think that if you looked up "pepperoni pizza" in an encyclopedia you'd see a photo below of Pizza Boat's pizza.

Pizza Boat's Pepperoni Pizza. Textbook execution.

Pizza Boat's Pepperoni Pizza. Textbook execution.

With another Pizza Dojo in the books we close a chapter on a pizza rivalry. Was there a winner? Well, no. Choosing a winner at a Pizza Dojo isn't up to us. Only history and pizza historians will truly be able to judge the winner.  I'm sure they'll cover this event at Mozzarella University in Pizza History 201.

Pizza Dojo isn't about a single night in Pittsburgh, it's about trying something new in the Pittsburgh pizza scene. Pushing one another to innovate and make better pizza.

Instead of existing side-by-side for years on a street in Squirrel Hill and pretending that the world on the other side of the counter hasn't changed, the pizza makers that enter the Pizza Dojo emerge with a new perspective. A new definition of pizza. Confidence to try something new and push the pizza envelope to the edge of the table.

The Pizza Boat crew worked efficiently through the night. A well oiled machine that made sure you didn't wait more than five minutes for a pizza.

The Pizza Boat crew worked efficiently through the night. A well oiled machine that made sure you didn't wait more than five minutes for a pizza.

Like this pizza article? Feel free to follow me on Twitter for even more pizza updates. 

Pizza Dojo 3: Driftwood Oven vs Pizza Boat

Pizza NewsDan TallaricoComment
Pizza Dojo 3: Driftwood Oven vs Pizza Boat, a match of the millennia 

Pizza Dojo 3: Driftwood Oven vs Pizza Boat, a match of the millennia 

When last we left the Pizza Boat gang, they were serving up pies against Rick Easton's exquisite Bread + Salt pizza, hoping a loss wouldn't send them to the nether realm of pizza: Slice Island. 

That was back in July of 2014. Since then pizza empires have risen and crumbled into nothingness. The sauce that flooded the streets after Pizza Dojo 2 has dried up and crusted around the gutters. The world was quiet and peace was brought to Pittsburgh's pizza world. 

That is, until Driftwood Oven showed up. Seemingly inspired by Pizza Boat, Driftwood Oven is a mobile pizza unit that travels around the city, hangs outside of breweries and even has a semi-permanent residence at The Vandal every Sunday. Driftwood Oven has taken over the mobile pizza game. 

Neil serves up some pizzas in the heart of Greenfield. 

Neil serves up some pizzas in the heart of Greenfield. 

Pizza Boat sensed a disturbance. They broke free of their Slice Island prison in the basement of the Spirit Lodge and warned Driftwood Oven of their trespassing.

Pizza Boat was ruthless in their criticism of Driftwood Oven. Was it jealousy? Did Pizza Boat lose faith in their craft and now resort to lashing out at their competition? No one said the pizza business was easy, but some folks think that Pizza Boat went too far. 

With one final insult, Pizza Boat hit the right button and Driftwood Oven caved into their demands. 

Then, Pizza Dojo 3 was officially announced

No one is sure what happens during a Pizza Dojo. Do the pizza gods momentarily stop their work to witness to pizzerias slice and dice to the death? Anthropologists think that the Pizza Dojo is an ancient ritual performed by pizzaiolos during 5,000 B.C. The purpose was to find who was building the best pizzas, with the winners being sent into isolation to refine their pizza technique. That's how Italy was established.

In the modern era, Pizza Dojo is used a last resort to settle pizza disputes. It's the modern day "Bring your six-shooter, kiss your kids goodbye and meet me in town center at high noon." In the Pizza Dojo, there can only be one winner.

Driftwood Oven declined to comment about the Pizza Dojo. They are masters of their craft who prefer to focus on their dough than chilidish antics. There's no doubt that Neil is tinkering with a revolutionary dough recipe that will make Pizza Boat look like fools.

Driftwood Oven taking the high road is honorable, but, this may be their undoing. The Pizza Dojo is no place for rules or honor. A sense of pride only gets in the way of victory.

Since Pizza Boat has lost their souls during the Pizza Dojo: Anticrust event (which was technically Pizza Dojo 3), I'm confident they'll pull out any tricks to emerge victorious. 

But the true winners are pizza enthusiasts like you and me. For only $15, you get a pizza from both competitors. Come by The Spirit Lodge in Lawrenceville this Saturday, November 14 at 6pm to see Pizza Boat and Driftwood Oven square off in the pizza ring. I'll be covering the event on site.

Missed what happened during the 2nd Pizza Dojo? Here's a special report from  Pizza Correspondent, Chad McMutrie.

The True Watermark of Success for a City is Pizza - Pittsburgh is Swimming in Delicious Grease

Pizza EssayDan Tallarico3 Comments

That’s not humidity clinging to your body. Those aren’t beads of sweat forming on the bridge of your sweat. Those are droplets of grease; our atmosphere is ever-changing but right now the climate is stunningly pro-pizza. Staggeringly so. There was a time where the best pizza in Pittsburgh was locked in a 50 year old pizza house that hasn’t changed their formula in years. Now, you need a Pizza Tour Guide to help you scout out and find every pizza gem in the city. You could spend an entire day eating pizza and barely scratch Pittsburgh’s doughy surface.

Pittsburgh swells with innovation, health, bike lanes and great food. Bakery Square is becoming its own personal pan pizza with every amenity and topping to keep residents from venturing outside its crusty walls.

Luxury apartments are going up in Lawrenceville, The Strip and any place where water is nearby, like a family of sea monkeys brought to life with some of earth’s water. Where once you could see a bright yellow bridge you instead see a new PNC building or a hotel. Contractors can hardly finish their Primanti’s sandwich between having to tear down old warehouses and build rows of apartments. Whatever yeast has been sitting dormant in Pittsburgh is now beginning to proof.

It’s all exciting stuff and there’s no doubt that Pittsburgh is growing fast. But to me the true testament of growth for a city is the wealth of pizza options. Whereas a few years ago answering “Best Pizza in Pittsburgh?” took a moment. It was a dry question, easy to swallow and easier to spit back up.

Just a stack of Pizza al Taglio

Just a stack of Pizza al Taglio


But answering that question today? Man, you have to narrow it down. Do you mean neapolitan pizza? Roman? New York style pizza? Wood-fired oven? Brick oven? Vegan? Gluten free? Which neighborhood? Delivery? Sit down?  The age-old pizza question is impossible to answer without specifying what pizza breed you’re talking about.

Because the secret is that the best Pizza in Pittsburgh is everywhere, and most of it didn't exist five years ago.

Some of Pittsburgh’s best pizza comes from Bread and Salt, a bread shop in Bloomfield. They’ve received nation attention for their pizza al taglio, which is the second place in Pittsburgh that is bringing that Roman delight to Pittsburgh. The second being Pizza Taglio in East Liberty, and both are thriving.

Then of course you have your utility pizza. This is the kind of pizza crave after a night of drinking, after a hard day of work, and when it’s too hot or too cold outside. It’s pizza you convince yourself you need when life is tossing a few sucker punches your way. These days, every neighborhood has easy access to one or two of these shops. I can actually walk outside my door in Lawrenceville be outside The Pizza Company, Fazio’s or Graziano’s in two minutes.

Slice on Broadway keeps Beechview flowing with pizza.

Grab your dead cat and swing it around your head. I’m confident your cat corpse will graze against a building that contains bags of cheese, a dough mixer and pumps out pizzas frantically on Sunday and feeds the masses Friday and Saturday night.

The delicious grease can be found in any neighborhood no matter the price of real estate. Can you believe the author of The Pizza Bible, Tony Gemignani, chose Caliente (Yeah, Caliente in Bloomfield) spent his one day making pizza in Pittsburgh. Caliente doesn’t have a steep legacy of feeding the Steelers. They aren’t written about in the New York Times. But the folks at Caliente care and they put their heart into the pies they make. And every pizza that they make perks Bloomfield up just a little bit more.

Beyond pizzerias there is a wave of mobile pizza units sprouting around Pittsburgh. Like the seeds of a dandelion plant blowing through town, you never quite know when you’ll stumble into a mobile pizza unit. A cart, a truck, a table with a quaint tent and an oven is all anyone needs. Pow - you got pizza in your zipcode.

Pizza Boat, one of the first Pittsburgh mobile units, served up some of the best pizza in Pittsburgh. They're now at home at Slice Island at Spirit Lodge in Lawrenceville.

I try to eat at as many mobile units that I can, mostly because the reaction from natives is always new. “Where did yinz come from?” they’ll ask, their tattered Polamalu jersey flowing in the wind. With each question they come to terms with the idea that there’s pizza available a block from their house today, but tomorrow they’ll be gone. Those that give in are rewarded with fresh ingredients, most are sourced locally, and an investment in a unit that could become a weekly staple in their neighborhood.

Between Driftwood Oven, Flatbread Pizza, and The Brownstone, you have a Ringling Bros. Pizza Circus forming.

Spak Brothers organized a pizza eating contest at this year's Pizza Fest.

Spak Brothers organized a pizza eating contest at this year's Pizza Fest.

Most of the pizzerias I listed here didn’t exist five years ago. And no one is showing signs of slowing down. Pittsburgh never got too fancy with their pizza. It was a Friday night thing for a long time. Slowly and surely, Pizza is evolving in Pittsburgh. Its tentacles are finding its way into all aspects of the city, integrating itself with the steel core.

Pizza is so personal to every citizen because it’s introduced to us at such a young age and so often. Fridays after school you’d get pizza. Sleepovers you’d have pizza. If you read a book you got pizza. Kid’s love it and it’s affordable. As we develop pizza binds itself to our DNA. Whether we realize it or not pizza is a dish that has made a tremendous impact on us all. It’s a food for everyone.

When I delivered pizzas it wasn’t uncommon to take two pies out for delivery, one to a house that looked like could have been a half-way house and the other being a tiny mansion in the city. The only difference being the amount of 2-Litre Pepsi bottles I had to carry up their steps.

Before long Pittsburgh won’t be heralded for its medical advancements or sports teams. Or its education institutions or livability. Or whatever criteria someone decides to use to rank cities. Pittsburgh will be known far and wide for its illustrious pizza eco-system. And the fact that this basic food is thriving in Pizza is all you need to see to see that Pittsburgh is doing better than ever. 

Pizza is a food of the people. As Pittsburgh grows and thrives it only makes sense that more pizza shops open up to meet the demand of every Pittsburgher.



Pizza Pitruco Mobilizes Wood-Fired Pizza

Pizza VideoDan TallaricoComment

A while back I was lucky enough to attend my pal Scott's wedding. It was a great time full of poignant moments, dancing, and a sea of friends. Stellar stuff.

After all the festivities, everyone shuttled back to the hotel to find food truck waiting for us. In the thick of the night, the Pitruco food truck glistened and we fluttered over to them like moths to a flame. They served dozens of wood-fired pizzas from their truck, each one more complex and delicious than the previous pizza. 

I was lucky enough to make my way on the truck and interview one of the owners, Jonah. Enjoy the video and if you're ever in the Philadelphia area be sure to track down the Pitruco food truck!


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


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?


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.


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 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!