Northeastern Pennsylvania is known for many things. Being dull is not one of them.
This region of Pennsylvania, commonly referred to as NEPA, is home to Middleswarth Potato Chips, Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, and Planters Peanuts. The hit NBC comedy series The Office had a huge part in putting Scranton, PA on the rest of America’s radar. However, the most prominent thing NEPA is known for is one simple thing- pizza.
Pizza culture in NEPA is virtually unrivaled by any other region in the United States. Whether you’re a diehard pizza fanatic or casually enjoy a slice every once in a while, if you’re from NEPA, you know just how big of a deal pizza is here. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that there is a pizzeria on nearly every corner in every NEPA town. In Old Forge, the self-proclaimed Pizza Capital of the World, there are approximately 14 pizzerias, an impressive number for a small town of only about 8,000 people. Old Forge is known for their own unique style of pizza, served as “trays” and “cuts” rather than pies or slices. Old Forge pizza can best be described as rectangular cuts of pizza with a crispy bottom and a doughy center. Several other restaurants in the area have tried to recreate this style of pizza, but none seem to be as good as the original.
In NEPA, pizza is often a family affair. The Ricci family, native to NEPA, are one of the most prominent pizza families in the area. Angelo’s, Gerry’s, and Ricci’s are three pizzerias founded by the Ricci family, and all three continue to thrive in the area. On any given night, the parking lots of all three establishments are packed with cars and the phones are ringing off the hook, but it’s well worth the wait. At Gerry’s and Angelo’s, in particular, sweet sauce is one of the most coveted menu choices, and it’s safe to say that a good majority of orders feature this sauce. Locals can probably tell you their favorite of the three pizzerias, and fans of each are as passionate as they come.
Because of the amount of pizzerias in NEPA, many local shops have started thinking of ways to get their name out there and rise above the competition. Some pizzerias have begun seeking professional services, such as hiring an SEO consultant, in order to increase traffic to their restaurant’s website and gain new clientele. Newer pizzerias, like Dino’s Pizza Express in downtown Wilkes-Barre and Sabatini’s Bottle Shop & Bar (an extension of longtime NEPA staple Sabatini’s Pizza), have been working to make their mark in the area by using social media and customer promotion as advertising techniques. However, the pizzerias that have withstood the test of time are the ones that still seem to draw the biggest crowds, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
If one thing is for certain, it’s that the pizza culture in NEPA isn’t going anywhere. Just like Middleswarth chips and The Office, pizza is something that is forever ingrained in our hearts, and that is truly something special.
Tizzy Says…It takes money to make money.