When I was growing up in the Ohio Valley, the pizza at our school wasn't your typical cafeteria food. It was made by DiCarlo's -- a Wheeling, W.Va., pizza shop with franchises along the Ohio River. And for 30 years, I've remembered loving it, even if I couldn't remember why.
So when I learned there was not one, but two DiCarlo's shops in the area -- one at 2080 Saw Mill Run Boulevard and one in Cranberry Township -- I had to get a slice.
The South Hills DiCarlo's "opened in 1954; we're one of the original franchises," says Jonathan Curley, who along with Jason Jackson bought the store this past January. "We've been around so long because we offer a unique pizza experience."
The dough is made fresh daily, stretched on a pan and sauced. Curley says it's then "flash baked" for five minutes, pulled from the oven, re-sauced and returned to the oven with a small amount of cheese. After it's pulled from the oven again -- just before it's served -- the rest of the cheese is added, cold.
The first bites are the best. Your teeth hit hot, crisp crust and cold cheese at the same time, then meet at the tomato sauce in the piping-hot center.
Biting into a DiCarlo's slice again, I'd willingly go back to fourth grade to eat it every week. Luckily, I don't have to.
DiCarlo's Pizza, 2080 Saw Mill Run Blvd., Overbrook. 412-886-1949.