Pizza Works – Parsons, PA
I never have to worry about having pizzerias in NEPA (Northeast PA) to review that I haven’t done already, in fact, there are so many of them that the problem that usually presents itself is indecisiveness in regards to which one I will commit myself to reviewing. During a recent trip to NEPA I was lucky enough to have some reader recommendations to choose from and make the decision making easier.
This review took me to Pizza Works on George St. in Wilkes Barre, which also seems to often be referred to as Magda’s Pizza Works. Without knowing or being able to find their menu anywhere I decided to place my order in person and wait. I ordered both a small round pizza and a tray of their Old Forge style. While I was waiting I had the opportunity to look over the Pizza Works’ menu, and I have to say that it must have been made for someone like me; aside from a nice selection of pizzas it contains a lot of sexy words like pagach, stromboli, calzone, wings, burgers, hoagies, chili dogs, nachos, etc.
I look forward to trying everything on Pizza Works’ menu in the future, but for now let’s talk about some (of Magda’s?) pizza. I took my order to my car and started working on the regular round pizza. The sauce on this pizza tasted like a good traditional pizza sauce with seasonings helping to construct its flavor. The cheese I’m guessing was mozzarella and had some appealing browning to it. I would call the cheese average/+. The crust was thin and sported a darkened bottom and crispy handle that also had bubbles around the perimeter. Overall I enjoyed this pizza because it had a good taste and will order it again, but what would a review be if I didn’t point out a couple things? First, every pizza needs a little bit of grease, but the cheese on this pizza provides that little bit as well as a little bit more. The slightly above average greasiness didn’t bother me one bit, but it might some people. Second, while the ratios between the crust, sauce, and cheese were agreeable, the placement of the cheese was concentrated to the middle of the pie which makes for a heavy tip on each slice (tip drip). Finally, the third issue is a result of combining the first two issues together; with a greasy cheese, and with a good amount of it being towards the center, the grease works itself to the undercarriage of the pizza making the crust wet and compromising its integrity.
As I haven’t had pizza from Old Forge in more years than I’d like to admit I can’t speak to how Pizza Works’ Old Forge Style compares, but I can say this.. it is good. First off, you should know that it is fried in peanut oil (like a lot of good NEPA pizzerias), and it comes with onions (it can be ordered without them or half with half without, etc.). The sauce on this pizza seemed like straight crushed tomatoes, as it should be given their prominence in the NEPA pan fried pedigree; that said, what makes this sauce good and gives this style of pizza its distinct flavor is the inclusion of finely chopped onions placed on top of the sauce before baking. The cheese was good, and as is often the case I can only guess as to what kind it is; my guess is that it is mozzarella. Other possibilities include a mix of mozzarella and cheddar, or, something else :) As noted earlier this crust is pan fried in peanut oil. It is nice and crispy on the bottom and handle yet tender in the middle. This pizza had the signature NEPA pan fried taste, but compared to its competition this pizza has two unique attributres; first, the crust is crispier and (2) the crust is a little thicker. My personal preference enjoys the crispness of the crust but it can do without it being as thick as it is.
Pizza Works’ round pizza isn’t going to win them any awards because it’s average, and average pizza can be had everywhere. The pan-fried pizza is above average, and the only thing that prevents it from being one of the greats is that it is too thick. But hey, I say that using my preferences as the measuring stick. We all have different tastes; yours might think that Magda’s is the best ever. If you like pan-fried pizza I recommend trying Magda’s Pizza Works.