Google the phrase “pizza capital of the world” and the result may surprise you. The debate around the best pizza in the U.S. is typically between Chicago’s deep dish and New York style pizza–but e Google’s top result is actually Old Forge, Pennsylvania. The unexpected contender is a small town town about 2 hours from New York City and Philadelphia, and they do their pizza in a different way. Last November we decided to make a weekend trip out of it and see for ourselves.
We stayed at the nearby Four Points hotel in Scranton, PA for 3,000 SPG points. Normally the hotel’s rates are $100-$200 for a Saturday night which makes the points redemption a great value. My aim is to get > 3 cents of value per point.
When I found out about the town’s unique way of doing pizza I had to go and taste it for myself. Before you go, know that they’re not referred to as “pies” here but “trays.” They’re also sold in “cuts” and not “slices.”
Our first stop Saturday evening was at Cafe Rinaldi where we had the red tray with shrimp and hot peppers.
The pizza isn’t much to look at and reminds me of a Sicilian style pizza. However the experience was novel and different. The thick crust serves to hold on a healthy amount of cheese and toppings. I am still skeptical about the pizza capital title but will admit this is good pizza!
In hindsight, part of the poor planning on our part was assuming that most of the pizza places we wanted to visit would be open on Sunday. Arcaro & Genell and Ghigiarelli’s were both closed Sunday so we didn’t get a chance to try them. However, we did get a sampling of pizza from Revello’s.
Revello’s wasn’t as good as Cafe Rinaldi’s pizza but choices were very limited on Sundays in Old Forge. We also found out a local favorite Elio G’s had change owners, changed to Lou’s and then subsequently closed for good.
Update: Good news according to their Yelp! page is that the original owner had bought the establishment back and re-opened as Elio G’s.
Right next door is is Scranton, “the electric city”, which I’m interested in seeing solely because it was on one of my favorite T.V. shows – The Office.
Scranton is located in Lackawanna county and in the past century was known for the anthracite coal mining done in the area. In between meals we toured an actual retired coal mine which gives you a sense of appreciation for how the stuff gets from the ground to your barbecue grill.