Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Dig In: The Next Wave of Pizza in Pittsburgh

Now is the time to be eating pizza in Pittsburgh. Pizza makers are crafting pies in a variety of styles from New York to Old World. We round up our nine favorite destinations.



(page 2 of 3)

Dave Anoia was between kitchen positions in 2005, so he picked up a job making pizza at Three Brothers Italian Restaurant in Ocean City, Md., to pass the time. He found a lot of joy in making pizza but dropped it from his professional repertoire when moved to Pittsburgh in 2007 to work for chef/mentor Brian Pekarcik at Steelhead Grill and later at Spoon. He never lost his passion for the craft, though, and when he and his wife, Aimee DiAndrea, opened DiAnoia’s Eatery in the Strip in 2016, he added old-world style pies to the menu. The all-day restaurant offers pizza until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with additional takeout hours Tuesday through Thursday as well as brunch pizza on Sunday. They will open an attached pizza shop later this year. 

Anoia’s pizza begins with detailed attention to dough work. Antimo Caputo 00 pizza flour is mixed with dry yeast, olive oil, salt and a pinch of sugar and left to bulk ferment for 24 hours. It then is formed into balls and fermented again for an additional 24 hours. It’s baked in 18-inch rounds on the third day directly on the surface of the restaurant’s four-deck Peerless baking oven. The crust is crisp, with a little chewy give in the center, and a warm, breadstick-like rind. Anoia’s sauce is an uncomplicated blend of whole San Marzano tomatoes, salt and a pinch of sugar — it’s layered on thicker than other styles of pizza. Unless you order a margarita, which is topped with fresh mozzarella, provolone is the cheese of choice here. Anoia prefers classic Italian toppings such as prosciutto and arugula or hot soppressata and mushrooms but says he’s happy to use anything he has in the restaurant’s deli case. 

A perfect pizza: “The number one thing is the crust. If you don’t have a good, crispy crust on the style that you’re making, you have a flimsy pizza. Slow fermentation and cooked properly in the oven.”
 


 

Pete Tolman is making the buzziest pizza in Pittsburgh right now, yet he’s a relative newcomer to the art of the pie. A visit to Brown Dog Pizza in Telluride in 2015 inspired Tolman, then executive chef of Giant Eagle Market District, to start experimenting with Detroit-style pizza. He felt confident enough in his ability to craft a lofty, cheese-ringed crust that he entered the competition to become one the second cohort of restaurants at Smallman Galley. Not only did he land a stall in 2017, Iron Born draws huge crowds and now is the preeminent space at the Strip District restaurant incubator.

Tolman’s pizza hews close to Detroit-style, though he’s augmented his dough to make a crust that is fluffier than what’s typical of the style. He builds the airy base of the Iron Born rectangle with a two-day fermentation of Central Milling high-gluten flour. Tolman breaks from tradition by adding cheddar to the brick cheese most associated with Detroit-style’s addictive baked ring of cheese that lines the outside of the rind. He cooks his pies in a convection oven lined with additional steel plates for faster heat recovery time, but he feels like he still could get the bottom crisper in a different oven. Most pizzaiolos strive for purity over complexity, but Tolman isn’t afraid to get wild with his topping builds, using his culinary background to think about complementary flavors and textures, as well as whimsical builds such as deconstructed Buffalo chicken.

A perfect pizza: “Perfectly cooked, with a crispy bottom and topped with thought. Not over heavy, not too many ingredients.”
 

Josh Sickels had two career goals as a teenager in the 1990s: make a living as a touring musician or, if that didn’t work out, open a pizza shop. Well, he did make a living in music, touring with bands such as The Takeover UK and 1,2,3. But his infatuation with NYC-style slices, particularly the cheese-heavy variety served in Queens, was intense. Plus, he felt western Pennsylvania was lacking in this style of pizza, and, even in New York City, it was a dying art. With no formal training, he plunged into obsessive research, relying heavily on sense memory, advice from members on the respected message board pizzamaking.com and even YouTube videos to develop an NYC pie he felt proud to serve. One year later, and 20 pounds heavier, he opened Rockaway Pizza in White Oak at the start of 2017.

Sickels’ 18- to 21-inch pies cook for about nine minutes in a Bakers Pride Y600 deck oven and hew close to the prototypical Queens ideal. However, Sickels breaks from the local custom of same-day, room temperature fermentation by cold-proofing his General Mills All Trumps unbleached, unbromated flour overnight; he feels this best-of-both-worlds approach builds extra flavor while still retaining the desirable, slightly leathery chew of an NYC slice. His thin sauce — Stanislaus 7/11 tomatoes and salt — is simple, tangy and a little sweet. Sickels goes all in with cheese, a base of full-fat whole milk mozzarella that’s blended with pecorino and 18-month Parmigiano Reggiano. Therein lies some controversy — studious pizza lovers will notice screen marks on the pizza base. Although many consider cooking on mesh screens a no-no, Sickles says that, after a significant amount of experimentation, cooking on heavily sanded screens for the first 30 percent of the bake, what he called “The Queen’s Melt,” gives the cheese fat a chance to melt and unlock the flavor of its butterfat, and that cooking directly on stone for the rest of the time still gives it a classic finish. 

A Perfect Pizza: “I like so many different styles of pizza. I love Detroit style. I love Chicago deep dish. I love pizza when it’s done well. But, that New York slice that’s thin, but not too thin, and has a good chew and a crispy end crust.”
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Hungry for Something Good, Pittsburgh? Where We're Eating in July

Lidia Bastianich Shares Her American Dream in a New Memoir

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein talks to the celebrated chef, restauranteur, television host and author about grandparents, foraging and the plight of refugees seeking a better life in the United States.

They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

Two local priests –– riding the Phantom's Revenge to promote Catholic Day at Kennywood –– create a viral video. Along the way they deliver a most unusual sermon.

The Homestead Artist with a Worldwide Reputation

Jesse Best maintains a presence in New York and Tokyo. But, he says, Pittsburgh has been 10 times better to him than any other place.

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Sprout Fund Passes the Torch

50 Pittsburghers to receive $1,000 Legacy Award to carry on the nonprofit’s vision.

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Pirates Pitcher Steven Brault has Pretty Good Pipes Too

The Pirates reliever sang the national anthem Tuesday night before the Bucs hosted the Brewers at PNC Park. It's worth watching, especially for his teammates' reaction at the end.

Crime in the South Side Has Fallen Dramatically

Illegal activity plunged along East Carson Street following several new security measures.

Fired by City Paper — Charlie Deitch Won’t Be Silenced

The former editor of the Pittsburgh alt-weekly is creating his own "more inclusive" publication.

Czechoslovakia was Forged in Pittsburgh

Rick Sebak details how the establishment of the European nation began with a meeting Downtown.

Brick by Brick: Legos Go High Art

Made entirely out of Legos, the sculptures on the display at the Carnegie Science Center’s new Scaife Exhibit Gallery range from the whimsical to the otherworldly.

Mike Chen, Dean of the Chinese Kitchen

The owner of Everyday Noodles looks to encourage more regionally specific Chinese food in Pittsburgh restaurants.

MultiStories: Real Estate – The Machesney Building

Visitors can still ogle the lavish marble and bronze interior crafted to appeal to the original owner's banker and stockbroker tenants.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

Two local priests –– riding the Phantom's Revenge to promote Catholic Day at Kennywood –– create a viral video. Along the way they deliver a most unusual sermon.

Comments

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.

Comments

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Chef You Shan Pei comes to Pittsburgh after cooking in Flushing, N.Y. restaurants for 18 years.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

When you're craving the real deal, these local spots consistently churn out the very best.

Comments


The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Comments

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

The relaunched entertainment complex in Harmarville is casting a wide net, with some success.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Fred Rogers' work and philosophy inspires even more wonder about the television legend who called Pittsburgh home.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Toppers That Take the Cake

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Comments

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

This Pittsburgh couple is using their engagement photos to raise awareness about one of their most passionate causes.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Comments

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

From furniture to wall art and beyond, these local makers created one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or office.

Comments