Pizza: Youngstown style at Wedgewood Pizza

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From the October 20, 2011 edition

Fact: People are very attached to the pizza they ate growing up.

It’s why people in Columbus love Massey’s. And why I, as a Cincinnati native, will always be a LaRosa’s loyalist. And why folks who grew up in Youngstown were super excited when Wedgewood Pizza, an outpost of a popular Youngstown chain, opened about a year ago in Grove City.

Wedgewood has been around since the ’60s in Youngstown, where the family-owned franchise serves pies topped with their special-recipe sauce and homemade sausage.

Their slogan is “We don’t do anything fancy … we just do pizza!,” and that’s true. These straightforward pies can be described as Youngstown-style. Here’s a little primer on how that regional style differs from Columbus-style:

Crust: These pan pizzas have a medium-thick crust with a nice crunchy exterior — but soft and spongy inside — that’s more substantial than the thin, crackery Columbus-style crust.

Slices: Youngstown pizzas are cut into traditional triangles rather than our square-cut, aka tavern-cut, variety.

Toppings: Expect a thick layer of meats and veggies (including green peppers, always) melded together with lots of gooey mozzarella.

You’ll get a perfect specimen of traditional Y-Town-style pizza in the Original Everything. It’s not nearly as thick as a deep-dish pie but just as heavy, topped with a huge mound of melted cheese and green peppers, black olives, mushrooms, sausage and salami.

After devouring a few slices, I definitely get why people rave about this pizza. It’s nothing groundbreaking — it’s just good, unassuming Midwestern comfort food.

Another Wedgewood specialty is the Brier Hill, named after its birthplace, a Youngstown neighborhood that’s considered the city’s “Little Italy” district.

This homestyle pie’s most distinctive feature is a thick layer of tomatoey sauce, topped with sliced green bell peppers and grated Romano rather than mozzarella. I quite enjoyed the simplicity of this pizza, which has an interesting bitter flavor thanks to those green peppers. But subtract a few points for a crust that veers a little too close to Pizza Hut territory.

For dessert, adorable Mini Cannolis are available for a buck apiece. Pick up a few.

Photo by Alysia Burton

Shelley Mann is the editor of Crave, Columbus’ new dining magazine. Keep up with her at ColumbusCrave.com.