As downtown Pittsburgh begins to revitalize, one of the driving forces behind its resurgence is pizza. In the past few years there have been a suspicious amount of restaurants serving "authentic" pizza in the area. Places like Winghart’s, Il Pizzaiolo, and Stone. It’s nice that in a half-mile radius you can grab a dozen different types of pizza. If you collect them all I can guarantee no two will be the same, but you’ll probably be barfing into one of the rivers. Maybe that’s why we have so many rivers? In case of our sudden gluttony.
The newest addition to Pittsburgh’s Pizza Club is Proper. Proper Brick Over and Tap Room, to be long-winded.
Proper promises a proper dining experience that any human should be proud of—a draft list that encompasses an entire alphabet of beer; a finely-tuned menu focused on pizza, pasta and sandwiches; and the option for incidental bacon. The latter surprised me. For sure I thought we were over the “bacon makes everything” better culinary phase?
Let’s talk pizza. When I visited I had the Margherita. It’s the most basic of pizzas and if you can’t make a margherita right you’re in trouble. And take a look! It looks like a pizza, but what are those charred bits on top?
Bacon. I made an executive decision to put bacon on this pizza. A type of pizza that, for so long, has survived in the wild without the use of bacon. It’d be like putting a spoiler onto your Dodge Neon. Completely unnecessary.
The bacon isn’t just any bacon it’s house-cured black pepper bacon. And when you put it on the pizza-stage it only takes away from the experience. It’s a blemish on an otherwise ideal pizza. I resorted to picking off some of the bacon halfway through the pie, but the damage was done. Pools of grease dotted the pizza like boils on a victim of a plague. The melted mozzarella lakes were just a tad darker. The bacon had left its mark and it was a sad state of affairs.
Despite the bacon carnage, a mistake I hope you don’t make, the pizza was high-quality. The crust had a crispy edge, but pillowy-soft inside. It’s easy to shovel slice after slice into your mouth because it’s just so soft. It’s like eating rectangular bliss.
While the outside of the pizza was perfect, the middle was a bit undercooked. Resulting in a thin, floppy pizza. Great for folding, but I was hoping for a bit more of a crunch when my teeth penetrated the basil, sauce, and cheese. Pizza just taste better when it at least sounds like it’s putting up a fight.
The Margherita I devoured was prepared right on the premises in this wood-fired oven. The oven rests right in the middle of the restaurant. Pizza smell radiates from within, filling your nostrils with succulent scents. There are other things on the menu, but I’m not sure how you can not order a pizza in a place like this.
When the pizza had vanished I was in a pretty great mood. The Margherita was great, it has some character, but stays safely within the definition of what a Margherita pizza is. If you’re in downtown Pittsburgh looking for pizza from Italy, it’s a nice place to stop into. Chances are they’ll have a perfect beer to pair with it.