Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wellsburg Edition: DiCarlo's Pizza

I've said it a few times, and I'm sure this blog post is way overdue, but DiCarlo's is the best pizza there is. Period. It may have to do with the nostalgia aspect for me - DiCarlo's was a rare, albeit delicious, treat in the Nelson household. Feeding our family and whatever friends I had over that particular day could cost you upwards of $50, which wasn't easy for us to come by. We would get a tray of pizza, which is usually four boxes - (28) pieces total with extra cheese and mushrooms. Simply amazing. Though we only got it a few times a year, I couldn't wait for DiCarlo's days. Morgantown is void of my beloved DiCarlo's, so every time I visit my hometown of Wellsburg, it's a must-visit place for me.

DiCarlo's is located in northern West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. There is a local rivalry about which DiCarlo's has the best pizza because they are all slightly, slightly different, but in my opinion, nothing can come close to Wellsburg's. Located right on Commerce Street, DiCarlo's is the classic, old-school pizza place. They're only open in the evenings (they only have to be), and they only take cash. You can call ahead to order, but it won't make a difference - they probably won't start making it until you arrive anyway.

On Saturday, Kristen and I stopped into DiCarlo's as soon as they opened, 5 p.m. The parking lot is tiny, and if you're a regular, you know you are supposed to park at an angle so more cars can fit it. But usually you'll have to find a spot along the street or an adjacent parking lot. On this day, there was one woman walking out as we walked in. I have never been to this place when it was empty before - must go as soon as they open again!

When you walk in, you aren't greeted, you aren't waved to - you just get a look of "yes?" And that adds to its charm. The man behind the counter simply greeted me with a surly stare. This wasn't my first rodeo, though. I looked at the chart on the wall, which is the only indicator of their prices. I figured out how many slices I could get for my $10. Which happened to be around 12 slices. So, I asked for 10 regular slices. He wrote it down, without a word, and looked at Kristen. Kristen then ordered, and we took a seat. DiCarlo's only has two fairly small, uncomfortable benches. On a regular day, these are taken up, and many people are found standing outside. Since it was just us, we sat down and waited. The pizza was done within five minutes - the quickest ever. And, they don't know your name, nor do they care. Instead, from behind the counter, you hear "12 regular" and I knew that was my cue.

I walked up and paid. They assume you know how much since the chart is right there (the chart includes tax), so no words are exchanged. I took my two large, steaming cardboard boxes home and let the excitement overcome me. Keep in mind, I haven't had this in months. I really like the charm of the old-school Italian pizza place. I like the surly attitudes and the unfriendly men behind the counter. You're not paying for their service. Your paying for the best pizza you'll ever have. They know if you're a local or not, and their lack of speaking is a sign of respect - you know what to do when you're in here.

When I got home, I uncovered my first box of pizza and chose a middle piece and a side piece. The pizzas are square, so there are three different types: middle pieces without any crust, side pieces with just the crust on the edge and corner pieces, which have crust on two sides. Though I usually get extra cheese, I wanted my buck to go further, so I opted out of the extras. My slice of pizza was topped with their delicious tomato sauce, slightly spicy and slightly sweet. The hot crust is then topped with cold provolone cheese, which is just melted perfectly. It doesn't get greasy like most places. Then it's topped with soft pepperoni. No crispy pepperonis here, that form into little grease cups. This pizza is perfect.

The ingredients are as fresh as you can get, and you can see the time and effort the cooks take in preparing this delicious meal. The sauce contains just the right amount of spice, and the cheese is fresh and flavorful - the good stuff isn't all fried or baked out of it. The pepperoni is quality meat.

The best thing about DiCarlo's? It tastes just as good cold for breakfast the next morning. You can't go wrong. I've been to Italy, and I'd choose DiCarlo's over that pizza. It simply can't be beat.

Grade: A
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