But you would be wrong. The (self-proclaimed) Pizza Capital of the World is nestled between mining-scarred hillsides and defunct blast furnaces just outside of Scranton in Old Forge, Pennsylvania.
(courtesy of passion-4-pizza)
As far as I understand, the only credential Old Forge has for this outlandish claim to fame is that they arguably have the largest pizzeria : inhabitant ratio... hm, okay. I'm not quite sure that's a qualifier for the title, but it adds to the small town's allure regardless. I decided to check out Revello's, Old Forge's most popular pizzeria.
Revello's most recent claim to fame is an appearance from Hillary Clinton while on her campaign trail in 2008-
(Courtesy of Daily Telegraph)
That face just screams, "gross, can I have your vote already?" So here's a brief glossary for Old Forge-style pizza:
"Cut" - n. a portion of an Old Forge pizza; a slice
"Tray" - n. an Old Forge pizza; red pies consist of 12 cuts, white trays consist of 8 cuts.
"Red" - adj. a style of Old Forge pizza employing a marinara-like red sauce.
"White" - adj. a style of Old Forge pizza with no red sauce; simply dough and cheese and occasionally broccoli.
When I got to Revello's, the place was a bit dead (8pm on a Sunday after Christmas, no wonder). I ordered one tray of red and asked for a cut of white, but they were out of the latter. Instead I ordered a cut of white with broccoli...
Here's the red. No, it doesn't come with missing cuts, I just forgot to take a picture before digging in. Looks just like a typical Sicilian pie, right? Wrong. Revello's (and as far as I can tell, all Old Forge joints) uses what looks like a par-baked white doughy crust that just barely seems to brown in the oven. Barely.
Sorry for the red-saturated photos, but it gives you an accurate feeling for the ambiance of the place. The "marinara" red sauce has a bland, ketchup-like taste and consistency. Not disgusting, just not impressive.
The cheese- here's where things get especially curious. Old Forge cheese is a blend of (if not completely) American white cheddar and some mozzarella they call "brick cheese" (sound appetizing?). It's thick and gooey and every bite sticks to the roof of your mouth behind your teeth. It's very... uncharacteristic, and definitely regionally unique.
Now that you understand the basics of a red pie, let's subtract the sauce:
And that's "a cut of white." It's basically grilled cheese. The bottom layer is crust, followed by the aforementioned cheese, then the crust is folded back on top of the cheese and sprinkled with black pepper and rosemary.
Like I said, grilled cheese. These cuts are bigger, and how anyone could eat a tray of this my stomach is unsure of (I couldn't even finish my cut). It felt like it needed to be served with a side of marinara. Woof.
The best way to sum up this still of pie is regional comfort food. I have friends who look like junkies in withdrawl at the first mention of Old Forge pizza- people love it, just look at Hillary's face!