Cebula’s – Dupont, PA
A few readers contacted me and recommended to me that I try Cebula’s pizza. Each of the people recommending it referred to it as “different” or “unique”. I grew up in NEPA and had never heard of Cebula’s, so I took my query to Google and found that a lot of people were calling Cebula’s pizza unique and there was more than one person who referred to Cebula’s pizza as being made with potato dough. Potato dough? What? I wrote off the potato dough stuff as conjecture, as many reviews found on websites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urbanspoon, etc. aren’t worth the time it takes to read them, but to be honest, I was hoping for something that was different, something to wow me, but I was more prepared to be disappointed than anything.
So… I arrive at Cebula’s and a sign on the side of the building informed me that pizza takeout was achieved at the rear of the building. I did an about-face and found that the screened-in back porch of someone’s house was where I needed to be. I saw the price list tacked to the bulletin board which confirmed what I already suspected; cash only. Then I tried to figure out the price list; it finally dawned on me that damn, it was $2.25 for one piece of pizza. At some of the popular places I frequent in NEPA a ‘cut’ goes for ~$1.30 – $1.50, and the high-end is considered expensive. So, instead of the twenty or thirty-ish pieces I usually get, this time I got around 14. I asked the lady (through the windowless/screenless storm door) for 7 with onion and 7 without. I was informed that they all have onion because it’s in the sauce, but it’s very small and not really noticeable. I was cool with that.
Sometimes I purposely don’t place my order ahead of time because I want to be able to hang around the place and see what I can see while I wait for my order. On this night I saw a busy pizza operation being ran out of a back room next to an actual kitchen (in someone’s house I presume). Quite frankly, I was so intrigued by the plethora of ladies involved in the operation that I didn’t allow myself to pay attention to other aspects of the operation, except for noticing a sign that proclaimed the use of peanut oil in their pizza and burgers.
My order was ready. I paid the friendly lady and almost walked away, but there was one thing I absolutely had to ask her before I did; “can you tell me if there’s any truth to the claim that you use a potato dough?” The elderly lady convincingly told me that the potato rumor is just a myth. Since she was good-natured with answering my question I decided to follow-up with “what kind of cheese do you use, if you don’t mind me asking?” I was told it was a mixture that they don’t like to reveal because they don’t want everyone copying their recipe. We exchanged mischievous smiles before I turned for my car to begin my audit.
My thoughts upon opening the box; ‘wow, tons of cheese, looks very sloppy, small pieces for $2.25 each…’. I took my first bite and I was floored! This pizza WAS unique AND it was really good! The first thing I noticed about this pizza was the cheese. Whether or not it’s a blend is a moot point because what you taste is predominately American cheese. If you don’t like American cheese then you won’t much care for this pizza but if you like American cheese you should be excited because there is a lot of it. The sauce resembles that of the popular pan-fried pizzas in NEPA (Victory Pig, Pizza Perfect, Pizza L’Oven, etc.). The sauce is straight forward crushed tomatoes from the can with the simple yet effective enhancement of diced onions added to the equation.
So, having American cheese on a pizza is a little bit unique, but what really makes this pizza unique is the crust. The body of each piece was fluffy and spongy; the undercarriage and handles were all a deep golden brown with some areas boasting a lightly blackened aesthetic that acted like a turbo boost of flavor. It wasn’t a bad characteristic, but pulling a bite away from a piece of Cebula’s was a little harder than normal, but only if you are paying attention to the act while doing it (make sense?). If you notice from the picture showing the profile of a slice you’ll see that the thin layer on the bottom is well browned and gives the impression that it is probably crunchy. The bottom isn’t crunchy but it is firm, and does an excellent job of providing a structure to hold all of the toppings with virtually no sag, thus making it easier to eat than the expectation one gets upon seeing it for the first time.
So let’s get back to that potato dough myth, shall we? The crust on Cebula’s pizza is different. Very different. The body of each slice had a sponginess to it, which is a characteristic of baked goods made with potato flour. Potato flour also absorbs and holds in moisture more so than conventional flour, which could explain the moist body and the absence of residual oil on the bottom of the pizza. And, remember I said that a bite was a little harder to pull away from the piece than a lot of other pizzas? Enter starch from the potatoes. Aaaand that $2.25 price tag per piece? Potato flour costs more than most conventional flours. Look at the picture of the side-by-side comparison of the underside; I think that the picture on the right (where the flash was used) is pretty telling. I’d call this myth CONFIRMED!
- While eating the pizza I was so enamored that I remember thinking that I’d actually pay more than $2.25 per piece (though that is a little pricey).
- This pizza is still okay if reheated properly, but it’s at its best when fresh
- When I informed the elderly lady that I had never had their pizza before, she said that I’d be back. I will definitely make her prediction come true
- There’s something about pizzerias in Dupont operating out of houses by older ladies. This was my second awesome pizza on my second trip to Dupont.
- I highly recommend trying Cebula’s pizza. Be careful though, it comes out piping hot and stays that way for a while!
You know how I feel, now see what NEPA Pizza Review thinks of Cebula’s pizza.
Cebula’s Bar & Lounge
295 Main Street
Dupont, PA 18641
Dining: dine in the bar/lounge area (or) take-out
Payment: cash only
Other: hot, stick to your teeth, ooey gooey American cheese goodness!
Bang for the buck: a little costly, but definitely worth a try