A while ago this whole “pizza cone” madness blew up. Pittsburghers were foaming at the mouths to get their jaws around this strange contraption. Was it more than pizza? Or closer to an ice cream cone? Can you fill this with chocolate? Can you use a straw to slurp out the cheese, sauce, and meats?
I was lucky enough to get in touch with the owner of Pizza Cono, Mike. Mike has spent a large majority of his life in Pittsburgh. He worked his way through Pitt University by, you guessed it, working at pizza places. He’s no stranger to the concept of pizza, but he is responsible for bringing this strange concept to Pittsburgh.
Mike was inspired during a trip in Europe. He was always on the lookout for “zany things” when he saw some folks strolling through the streets of Italy holding a pizza cone in one hand, happier than ever. He thought he should bring that cone-shaped happiness to the United States.
Look how happy I am.
To his knowledge, you won’t find a pizza cone shop anywhere in the United States. I’ve yet to do my research, but this is the first i’ve heard of a building where you can walk in, hand someone $3.75 and leave with a pizza cone.
“Pizza cone is meant to be an on-the-go experience,” Mike told me. He wants people to stop into his shop, get a shot of espresso from his espresso machine, grab a pizza cone, and continue on their way. This isn’t a pizzeria, but a quick place to stop for lunch on the go. Or the perfect cafe to visit en route to work. Ideal for the student on the way home from class, or the young lover who wants to surprise their significant other with a bouquet of pizza.
Mike invited me into his pizza cono shop to show me how a pizza cone is made. The process is mostly the same–they make dough, they let the dough rise, and they even keep it in the same white, plastic dough trays I’ve used in my pizza making days. But then that’s where your traditional pizza making experience ends.
The pizza cone process is more mechanical. A side-effect of machinery rising up? Probably. The only part of pizza cone creation that involves a human is the stuffing of the dough into a hole (which is filled with a cone to achieve that cone shape), and filling the pizza cone with toppings. The cooking of the cone is done with a carousel that rotates in-and-out of heated sections until the cheese is melted and the cone is a tad crispy.
Seven minutes later you’re presented with a pizza cone.
He’s still working on perfecting the pizza cone. The ingredients aren’t the warmest at the bottom, so he’s warming up the sauce before layering the ingredients.
The top of the cone is crispy, but further down, the dough has a lot more give. Which results in a mushy cone. In this way, it mimics a slice of pizza almost perfectly. The cone was much less messier than I thought it would be.
And for those of you that dab the grease off your pizza, you’ll sleep easy knowing there’s almost no grease to be found here. It’s a tidy cone that somehow stays contained within the funnel. No flakiness and a thin layer of aluminum foil keeps your hands clean.
Pizza Cono has limited day-time hours at the time I clicked publish. You can find it on the corner of Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hill. By all those other pizza places.
I’ll have more info about pizza cone in the coming days. Stay tuned for videos of a pizza cone being created, interviews, photos, and a more detailed review!
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