Wednesday, April 4, 2012

PGH Pizza Fridays: March 2012

I'm a simple girl. My favorite food is pizza. Honestly. What isn't awesome about pizza? I'm even simpler because all I need is a slice of cheese and (preferably) a Coke (NOT Pepsi). So, with those facts in mind, a sense of adventure, and something to look forward to every week at work, Allie and I have set about on a Pizza Odyssey of sorts. Every Friday we will go to a different pizza place in downtown Pittsburgh. Nice pizza, okay pizza, crappy pizza. We are gonna eat all sorts of pizza, but it will all be cheese - nothing fancy and nothing atop it.

We've come up with our own pizza rating scale - the OVERALL(ISON) scale:

pizza we probably won't ever eat again = Alyson = ONE L/ONE Y/YUCK

pizza that's good, not great, but good = Alison = ONE L

pizza that's awesome and can't be beat = Allison = !!LL!!

And now, presenting the first FIVE pies of the 2012 Downtown Pizza Odyssey:

Pizza #1: March 2, 2012
Allison: We started our Downtown Pizza Odyssey at Villa Reale Pizzeria & Restaurant, which might be the closest pizza to our office (unless you’re counting Domino’s, which we are, so nevermind...). It was a familiar place to start, and fitting as it was one of the first places Allie and I had lunch together after we started working together. The pizza is tasty, but a little sloppy. It was hard to keep the cheese to stay atop the slice. And it never fails that I ask for the garlic butter dipping sauce (their crusts are kinda perfect for that) and none is brought to the table. I hate griping, but this is a simple pleasure I’m happy to pay 75 cents for; just bring it to me!

Allie: Where better to begin our “Friday Pizza Odyssey” than Villa Reale on Smithfield. This quaint little shop will always hold a special place in my heart, especially since I dined there (alone, may I add) on my first day of work 9 months ago. The food is always tasty, the staff is always friendly, and the decor is quasi-comforting for a downtown establishment (all of those bottled peppers, come on!) I tend to frequent this joint often, therefore I basically knew what to expect in terms of pizza quality. My only complaint is that the pizza was a bit “slippery” - the cheese kept falling off. What a (delicious) mess!
Villa Reale Pizzeria & Restaurant: 628 Smithfield Street

Pizza #2: March 9, 2012
Allison: Winghart’s is one of my most favorite places in Pittsburgh. Their burgers are incredible and the staff friendly and fun. I’ve never had a dull meal or evening while sitting up at the bar. But I’d never had the pizza. Theirs is simple wood-fired pizza. We ordered the Sahanaa Margherita (closest thing to a plain cheese pizza, as is the constant in every Friday Pizza Adventure) and a basket of some of Pittsburgh’s best french fries (and this comes from a girl who loves both The O and Primanti Bros). I will probably stick to the burgers on future visits (they are just too damn good to pass up), but it’s nice knowing the pizza is tasty in the event I have already had two Wingharts meals already that week (hey - it’s happened before!) and need to ease up on the red meat intake.
Allie: Allison introduced me to Winghart’s back in August and I am now forever indebted to her. Not only does Winghart’s have the best burger in Pittsburgh, but their pizza is pretty incredible too. Unfortunately, no one offered to purchase our meal this time around ( but aside from that, two thumbs up!

Winghart’s Burger & Whiskey Bar: 5 Market Square

Pizza #3: March 16, 2012
Allison: One night, while Allie and I were scarfing down burgers at Winghart’s (I told you, I’m there a lot), a nice man chatted us up and bought us a few drinks. Turns out he was Tommy of Fat Tommy’s Pizzeria just down the brick road from Winghart’s on the edge of Market Square. He told us we had to come by and try the pizza there sometime. Well, we finally got around to it. And it was great! We went fairly late on a Friday and were served up a hot plain cheese pizza that we devoured. It’s a great place for a quick yummy pie in a small shop where you can catch whatever major sporting event is happening on a flatscreen near the bar.

Allie: Allison was most certainly reading my mind when she suggested we try out Fat Tommy’s Pizzeria in Market Square. I had been itching to go there ever since meeting Fat Tommy himself! Although I can not recall if his name was even Tommy or if he was even fat at all. Regardless, the pizza was top notch. And did I mention that that they have a fully stocked bar in that place? Woo hoo!
Fat Tommy’s Pizzeria: 115 Forbes Avenue

Pizza #4: March 23, 2012

Allison: The Wednesday before Pizza Friday of that week, a woman came into the law firm where Allie and I work and handed her a flyer for R & B’s Pizza Place. Well, all right then. It was decided. We called in an order ahead of time and ran all over downtown to pick up the pizza near the Smithfield Street Bridge, grab Mexican cokes at Prantl’s in Market Square, and finally run the food and drinks down to the Convention Center where we were meeting our friend for lunch. After doing a lap of downtown, I was ready to eat. The pizza was good, not great, but good. It’s not pizza I would run all the way down to First Avenue from my current office building to get again. But it exists, and that is a good thing for the people who work around it.

Allie: To be honest, this pizza was probably not judged with 100 percent accuracy. Both Allison and I were carrying it for approximately 10 blocks before ever taking a bite. Alas, the pizza was good, but it probably could have been better. Worthy of a “double L” rating? I think not.
R & B’s Pizza Place: 107 Smithfield Street

Pizza #5: March 30, 2012
Allison: Out first month of Pizza Fridays and we got five Fridays to start it out. Our last pizza adventure in March was (and always is every time I go) an adventure: Secret Pizza. Secret Pizza is on the mezzanine level of what appears to be an abandoned office building downtown. It looks like a college dormitory rec room: ping pong table, foosball, a older model large-screen TV (that the employees and some patrons watch Turkish programming on). I love this place for the oddness of it, but I also love it for the cheapness ($7 for a large plain cheese pizza) and the yumminess. This is just good pizza. I’m kind of hesitant to share the secret, but if you really want to know, send me an email.

Allie: One of the online reviews for Secret Pizza stated that they had great difficulty in understanding the employees there due to their thick Turkish accents. Working at an immigration law firm, I knew I had found the place for me! Do not let the decor scare you, the pizza is quite good. There are random soda machines along the back wall for your personal pickin’ and for entertainment, look no further than Turkish soap operas on the big screen!

(Oh, and no picture of Secret Pizza because a) it’s a secret and b) I left my phone at home that Friday.)
Secret Pizza: Send an email to everythingbetterpgh at to f
ind out!

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