Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spring Break, Part III: Pizza in the Heart of It All

University Pizzeria & Italian Eatery
133 Lincoln Avenue
Youngstown, OH 44503
(330) 743-9244

FINDING GOOD PIZZA in Ohio is nearly impossible. Everywhere you go is seemingly overrun with chain after chain serving up cheep, terrible pies. And most small Italian joints don't even bother making the attempt or they just pass off the same, sad imitation that's become standard. There are few exceptions to this rule.

Which doesn't mean that you can't find incredible Italian food in Ohio or the occasional bastion off great pizza hope, you just have to look really, really hard. It's a a bit easier here, up in the northeast corner of the state, where many Italian immigrants settled at the turn of the last century, and where their families are still to be found.

I have to admit, still, I didn't even believe my own brother when he started working at University Pizza (or U-Pie to locals) a few years back, claiming they made a great pie. But they do. It might not quite live up to expectations in New York or Chicago, but sitting right on the edge of Youngstown State University's campus it's far and away the most solid option you've got in Youngstown.

Everything is fresh and creative. We had the spinach and tomato pie with garlic,
Romano cheese and olive oil, and Brooklyn Brewery lagers from the bar (Brooklyn beers at any bar outside of NY state is always a good sign). But I should also recommend the Spinchoni pizza too--garlicky, spicy hot and everything you want in life. When you're looking for pizza in Youngstown.



Anonymous said...

If you want really good pizza in Ohio take a trip to Steubenville, the home of Dean Martin. It's about an hour southwest of Youngstown right on the Ohio River. There are a couple places there that will blow away University Pizza, but I will only talk about my favorite, Giannamore's Pizza. The pizza, a square thin crust style, is cooked by the tray and sold by the slice. You won’t find fancy toppings like spinach, artichokes or pineapple, but what you will find is one of the best slices of pizza you have ever eaten. Giannamore's keeps it simple and they do it extremely well. They bake the pizza with the cheese to get it to melt then pull it from the oven. When they pull it out of the oven they again add more cheese. The taste of the hot and cold cheese at the same time is indescribable. It’s so good my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I moved from Steubenville to Florida and have not been able to find anything like it. It's so good I have thought of opening my own shop up so people can taste what they have been missing. I promise once you have Steubenville pizza you will never want anything else but the best.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't eat a burger or one of the specials, especially the Tank Wrap, you missed out. The pizza is good, but their burgers and daily specials are superb.