Welcome to the top 9 pizza moments in the Pittsburgh Steel City, Baby. I was looking back at this year through the lens of a pizza journalist and thought to myself, “Wow, this has been an incredibly wonderful year for everyone involved in Pittsburgh pizza.” That’s right! That means you, the pizza consumer, and even you, the pizza maker!
Pizza is glorious. I could stop typing after that and you’d nod your head in agreement. But for real—there is no food that inspires passion and community like pizza does. We gather around it, we sing its praises and it’s something we eat a few times a week no questions asked.
The last line Frank Sinatra sings in the song It’s Nice to go Traveling (a song about seeing the very best sights in the world) is “make a pizza.” The dude travels the world and when he comes back all he wants is to kick his shoes off and make a pizza.
That’s the power of pizza.
So. Pittsburgh is a place you can’t go to a bar more than twice without becoming best friends with the bartender. It’s friendly and has more pockets of communities than the roads have potholes. So it goes without saying that Pittsburgh has a strong pizza presence. Especially so in 2015.
I wanted to run down my nine favorite pizza events that happened in Pittsburgh in 2015. So here's 9-7
9: Andrew W.K. Threw a Pizza Party in Pittsburgh
If you’ve eaten at Spak Brothers you’ve seen this photo of Andrew W.K. with a pizza guitar they have hanging by the register. The dude loves to party and he knows the number one ingredient for a party: pizza. In a recent advice column he says, “Pizza is a state of mind. Pizza is way of looking at the world. Pizza is part of a true belief that we as humans can create our own sources of true joy. And the joy that pizza brings is real and tangible. “
On June 7th this year Andrew W.K. threw a pizza party / concert down at Roberto Project in Garfield. The event sold out so hard that they had to add a second night!
Andrew W.K. could easily be the poster child for pizza and the fact that he made it to Pittsburgh to throw a pizza party is incredible. Of all the cities! Wondering how enamored with pizza he is? Read his advice column where he counsels a pizza addled youth.
8: Slice on Broadway gets their own day! April 14
I Love what Rico has done with Slice on Broadway. He went from one shop serving up pizzas with prosciutto and soppressata to multiple shops. He’s passionate, overly friendly and a pizza entrepreneur.
His pizza shops bubble with life and I’ll bet my pizza license that after you have one slice of Rico’s pizza you’ll be a lifetime convert. It’s fresh, exciting and delicious. It takes something classic and adds a modern spin. Something that is very Pittsburgh.
Well, let me just quote the official document stating that April 14th is Slice on Broadway Day in Pittsburgh.
“Whereas, Slice on Broadway, owned and operated by Rico Lunardi, has become a beloved Beechview neighborhood institution, and;
Whereas, Slice’s success has helped contribute to the ongoing renaissance and redevelopment of Broadway Avenue, which has in recent years become a dining destination for people from all over the city, and;
Whereas, Rico and his employees have never deviated from day one from their mission to deliver the “best darn pizza, sandwiches and salads money can buy,” and;
Whereas, Slice makes it a priority to make everything by scratch using the highest quality ingredients and pizza-making methods, including whole tomatoes and dough made fresh daily, and;"
You can read the whole thing on the Slice on Broadway Facebook page. Don't forget to celebrate next April accordingly.
7: Pizza Taglio & Slice Island & Bread & Salt Open
It was on a cold January night that a bright star shined above Pittsburgh. It was the start of 2015 and all was well in Pittsburgh. Things were popping along and the city was poised to grace many a top-10 list.
Like the three kings of legend wandering towards a bright light—three Pittsburgh pizza makers were inspired to set up pizza shops underneath the Pittsburgh umbrella. Yes, in 2015 we saw the opening of three of the most innovative, progressive, delicious and outstanding pizza shops.
Bread & Salt was first, opening on January 30th. I stopped in February after they opened hoping to get some pizza. Unfortunately, their system wasn’t what it was now and they didn’t have any! They've come a long way since then (which we'll get to later!). They are one of the first places to serve pizza al taglio in Pittsburgh.
Pizza Taglio is headed up by Tony, who I think might sacrifice his own life in order to get the finest / freshest ingredients into his shop. When I first met him he talked to me for 15 minutes about the nuance of the cheese he purchased.
Slice Island, a pizzeria in the Spirit Lodge, is run by the folks behind the fan-favorite Pizza Boat. They docked their ship to open up a traditional shop. They serve boxes of pizza that are so simple and complex it’s like eating a paradox.
These three pizza makers are cutting edge. They’re making pizza that you could only get in the depths of New York years ago. It’s some of the best pizza Pittsburgh will ever see and it all happened in 2015.
Alright! That's part one of my three part review of Pittsburgh pizza. I'll be posting parts 2 & 3 tomorrow. Honestly, there was a lot of pizza happenings and it took some strategy to get the list down to 9. There has never been a better time to be eating pizza in Pittsburgh.