I have to drive up to my hometown this morning for family business with my family. My sister and I don’t get along, so I’m really not looking forward to sitting across from her discussing stuff. I do get to see my brother, and that is always nice. Anyways, the drive is about two hours and all I can think about is DiCarlo’s pizza.
DiCarlo’s pizza is famous in the Ohio Valley. My bff Ramaine got me to try it the first time as my parents were anti-pizza, I think. They rarely brought home pizza. When I was young, I was quite picky. I would never try pizza because it had stuff mixed together and round pieces of mystery meat dropped all over the top. It took me a while of listening to my friends Ooooh and Ahhhhh over its goodness before I tried a piece. Ramaine’s dad brought home a few boxes and I was going to get the chance to experience DiCarlo’s pizza for the very first time. I think I may have been ten or eleven. Oooh…….Ahhhhhhh. A slice of heaven, I tell ya.
My husband wasn’t fond of it when he first tried it. He wasn’t from the Ohio Valley, so that was his first mistake. His second mistake was not liking DiCarlo’s Pizza. I couldn’t wait for him to taste this wonderful thing in a cardboard box. I stared at him, waiting as he bit into its square slice for the very first time. He was quick to judge.
“This is just fair.” He set the slice down and reached for his Coke. What? This couldn’t be. This is part of my culture. This is part of who I am. I wished that I had never married him. Ok, not really, but that should have sent up red flags. I took away his piece.
“You’re retarded. This is the best pizza in the world. It’s like….a stairway to Heaven.”
“Not even close. It’s just ok.
“You’re just ok.”
Why did you take that away?”
“You are not worthy.”
And then we divorced 25 years later. Never trust a man who doesn’t like DiCarlo’s pizza. Really.
DiCarlo’s is unlike any other pizza. It is sold by the piece or by the tray. The pizza dough is first baked in several different ovens,of varying degrees, the result being a very crisp bottom with a tender top . (I love the corner pieces. Before the last baking, the sauce is applied and heated. It does not soak the crust and remains just a layer. The crust and sauce is then removed and put in the red and white DiCarlo’s box. Cheese and slices of pepperoni are added. The lid is slammed shut and the intense heat inside steams the cheese and pepperoni, causing it to become the stringy cheese that most desire, with the pepperoni tender and not hard baked.
It is to die for. To. die. for.
Here are some of the reviews I found on yelp. I really think the bad reviews are people from other pizza establishments trying to tarnish the good name that is DiCarlo’s. Yeah, that’s it.
“ADDICTING. Call wayy ahead because you will have to wait forever. No delivery.” (Philadelphia, PA)
“The pizza is a standard crust cut into a 18″ by 24″ pan regular oven. The sauce is good, a little pepperoni, but the cheese is put on cold after the pizza leaves the oven.. This is a local thing in the ohio river valley. I was in the mood for a calazone but not available at this Elm Grove location. Nice folks, but I didnt get into this type of pizza. $ by the slice.” (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
“Anyone who tries this pizza is freaked out, at first. Mostly because they don’t melt the cheese, they throw it on after the fact. After they try it, a few days later they are begging me to get it for them again. I like it when you get a batch where the crust is really thin, it’s always crispy, the sauce is amazing. The wait can be long for your pizza so call ahead. I love it.” (Pittsburgh, PA)
“The locals rave about this pizza. I’m not so impressed. It is very thick crust and greasy. No delivery or seating to speak of. I think the locals like it because they grew up with it. It must be an acquired taste that I’ve not acquired after 7-years in the Ohio Valley.” (Mosier, Oregon)
“The pizza of my childhood. Every time I come to visit my family, it’s a stop on my very first night in. Tonight, my dad called an hour and a half in advance to snag some sweet deliciousness; patrons waiting in the shop who presumably hadn’t called ahead gave us the evil eye since we were in and out in less than two minutes.
When I was feeling really depressed a while ago, my dad sent me some cross-country. (They do that, hooray!) Needless to say, it cheered me up. (Austin, Texas)
Make no mistake: There is only ONE DiCarlo’s. You may see other places in the area with the NAME DiCarlo’s, but they’re just posin’. It’s a completely different quality of pizza.
This spot – known affectionately by locals as EGD (Elm Grove DiCarlos) has some of the best pizza around. Its appeal lies not in a wide variety of toppings or intricate crust or fancy sauce. No, its appeal is in the perfection of simple, square slices coated with sauce, cheese and pepperoni. (They have a few other toppings, too, but it’s not what they are loved for.)
There is no better place to get pizza in the Ohio Valley. And there is nothing better when you are drunk, or hungover, or on a Tuesday, or in a box, or with a fox, or in a house, or with a mouse… (Columbus, Ohio)
“I couldn’t have said it better myself! (See review below) It’s the best Pizza EVER! I live in Chicago where their pizza is “world famous” But I have to say, its doesn’t even come close to EGD (Elm Grove Dicarlos). In fact, I still keep their number in my cell phone as I always order a tray on my way in from the airport! Yum! ” (Chicago, Illinois)
“Best pizza ever! I grew up in the valley and there is no where here in south florida to get pizza like that.” (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
“I just went there over the holday weekend. Still unparalleled. Absolutely the best. Awesome. I grew up on this pizza. I live in VA now. The pizza near DC is fairly unimpressive. Everytime I come home it’s let’s get some DiCarlos Pizza. I haven’t tasted any pizza anywhere that comes close.” (Sterling, VA)
(Pittsburgh loser)- “This pizza is definitely an acquired taste… and one I have not acquired. I cannot stand it. We have two members of the extended family who can’t get enough of it, but the rest of us would rather eat anything but. I’ve tried several times over the years to appreciate it… but my opinion hasn’t changed. It’s awful. The unmelted cheese is particularly unappealing. I know there are a lot of people that love it, I’m sorry but it’s definitely not for everyone and certainly not for me.”
“When I came to Wheeling, everybody raved about this place. Then I saw how basic it was (crust, sauce, cheese), I had my doubts. Silly me. This is probably the best pizza ever created.” (St. Luis Opispo, California)
“Best pizza ever. Grew up in the valley and no longer live there but I crave it all the time. A must stop for anyone in the valley or just visiting.” (Cleveland, Ohio)
9 HOURS LATER-
PS. On Sunday, March 11, Parade Magazine listed DiCarlo’s pizza #10 best pizza in the United States. Do I know my pizza or what?