Ceccoli’s Pizza – Wilkes Barre, PA
This review was on its way to becoming a novel, not once, but twice. The first time because it involved a family member; the second time because I was going to go back to 1942 and work my way through the Wyoming Valley until we arrived at 13 Woodward St, Wilkes-Barre PA in the current day. I didn’t do that; you’re welcome. But allow me to dedicate the next paragraph to an abbreviated backdrop.
Victory Pig Pizza was the original pan-fried pizza in the Wyoming Valley, and arguably the most well-known. In no particular order, both Pizza L’Oven and Pizza Perfect spawned from Victory Pig, whether it was from previous employees or relatives, I’m not sure. What I do know, or so I believe, is that a couple of the Ceccoli brothers parted ways with Victory Pig, and they didn’t leave empty-handed. Enter Pizza II (Pizza 2). Something happened, and the two locations of Pizza II disappeared, which brings us to 13 Woodward St., a.k.a. Ceccoli’s Pizza in Parsons (Wilkes-Barre) PA.
As previously noted, Ceccoli’s pizza is constructed with a pan-fried dough. The bottom of Ceccoli’s pizza is very crispy, perhaps a tad crunchy, in a good way. The underside boasts a deep bronze coloring laced with sporadic dimples and craters of paleness. Maybe I’m off my rocker, but I believe that the pale field adds a level of distraction to what otherwise might be too much of a good thing in regards to texture. The body of the pizza has an average bread-like sponginess to it. Have you ever had a near death experience where you see the bright white light off in the distance before returning to consciousness? Neither have I, but I imagine it would feel a lot like eating the handles of this pizza! I failed to get a picture showing the complete back (or sides where applicable), but you could see on the brim of each handle that there is a charred black ridgeline. That blackness is burnt cheddar cheese and it runs further down the back than my pictures show, and it’s magical! It’s a cornucopia of flavor. It’s what I daydream about. True story.
The cheese… On this style of pizza there’s usually a cheddar cheese to be found and having seen the piles of sliced brick cheese in the kitchen of Ceccoli’s I’d say that that’s what it is, however, if I didn’t see that sliced brick in the kitchen I would have guessed it was a blend of cheeses. Either way, it’s absolutely perfect on this pizza, both in terms of taste and ratio to the sauce and crust.
The sauce on this pizza seems to come from a can of straight crushed tomatoes. Its consistency is aligned with my liking; not runny, not pasty, and not overly chunky. Where other places that make this style of pizza usually used finely diced onions, Ceccolis uses chopped onions; they’re chopped small, but they were noticeably noticeable to me. I love onions and believe that they are a must on this style of pizza, but if you don’t like onions I’d be sure to order this pizza without them.
I’m not going to compare Ceccoli’s Pizza against Victory Pig or Pizza Perfect, yet, because I still need to review Pizza L’Oven to round out the competitors in the category, but I will say that it’s really, really good! If you haven’t yet had Ceccoli’s pizza then I recommend you do so ASAP. If you’ve had it before, what do you think?
Oh, those wings… they’re pretty good too!