I’ve been pizza mad as of late. The search continues here in Northeast Ohio for some straight up, out of this world pizza. Cleveland on the whole has very middling pizza parlors. While I think it’s fairly safe to say they aren’t as bad as Columbus (I don’t know anything about Cincinnati), it doesn’t hold a candle to what you find in New England and New York.
There are three hallmark signs that you are onto a good pizzeria:
- They’ve been in business for over 30 years.
- The original owner or their relatives still run the place (preferably making the pizzas; thus progeny of the pizza making genius).
- They’re cash only. (I don’t like this third hallmark sign, but it’s a theme that occurs over and over again in my pizza quest.)
Luigi’s (meets criteria 1 + 3, and probably 2 but I’m not sure)
105 N Main St
Akron, OH 44308
The Jack Johnson concert had us heading out to the greater Akron area so we figured we’d go to Luigi’s beforehand. Whenever I hear about Akron and food, Luigi’s always seems to come up.
Luigi’s has been serving up pies for over fifty years. After all this time, all the accolades, and the lines out the door, everything is still very inexpensive. While waiting for our pizza I began to suspect that affordability is a very large allure for Luigi’s customers. I thought the serving sizes were huge for the price. I found that the quality of the ingredients looked very “out-of-the-can”. My guess is that Mama isn’t busy slaving in the back making sauce.
I’m not going to hammer the pizza too hard because it’s a very doughy Sicilian style-esque pizza which does not appeal to me in the least. Me judging Sicilian pizza is like a vegan judging a best hamburger contest. There was just so damn much dough. I don’t care for it. The sauce, cheese, and pepperoni were things you’ve tasted a hundred times. If you into dough (lots of it) give it a try, otherwise I’d skip it.
Wedgewood Fernando’s Pizza (meet criteria 1)
6200 South Ave
Youngstown, OH 44512
Last week I happened to be coming back from a business trip and decided to stop and try Wedgewood Fernando’s Pizza for the hour trip home. This place had a long ass wall of pizza ovens. All together they totaled ten all together; cranking out tons of pizza.
The crust is completely devoid of any taste, and the sauce has some sort of spice in it that made me continually thirsty. Belleria Pizza (a Youngstown powerhouse) is miles (nautical) ahead of this place. I think it’s safe to say that if efficient production was the sign of a good pizza – Wedgewood would win. I suspect that the high production is more than likely its downfall.
Guido’s Pizza Haven (cash only,
12775 Chillicothe Rd
Chesterland, OH 44026
This little pizzeria is highly touted by those in the West Geauga area. With the bride working late, I was on my own for dinner. I took the drive out to Chesterland to see what all of the talk was about.
Did I mention I hate Sicilian style pizza? Well, as I walked toward the back of the store to pick up my pie all I saw were stacks and stacks of well seasoned, deep, square pans. Not happy. I paid $11 for a small pepperoni and sausage. It actually ends up being more like a medium when you figure in the “dough factor”.
As I got in the car I opened the box and ate a piece. These small pieces –it’s cut into 9 squares – are very filling. This pizza actually seems fairly airy for Sicilian style. The fact that they put the toppings under the cheese seems to lock everything in place while you bit into it. Typically when they put too much cheese on it, everything wants to pull off as you bite into it. Their sausage was like ground beef which really seemed to spread out the flavor, rather than being confined to one bite of sausage here and there. This is the best Sicilian I’ve ever had. The one caveat is that I try to avoid this kind of pizza so I haven’t eaten a lot of it.