One of the best things about pizza is that it is very versatile.
There are a lot of variations that you can make or buy as well as unique versions so what is Ohio Valley-style Pizza?
Ohio is not the most popular place for pizzas but they certainly have something that you cannot find anywhere else.
The Ohio Valley-style pizza is a unique type of pizza for you to try.
You can make your homemade pizza following the recipe of this style or better yet, find the best restaurant that produces it. There are a lot of choices so you will not run out of options.
There are restaurants and personal blogs that post the recipe for this type of pizza so you can take advantage of those.
This pizza style from the Midwest is so unique that other people hate it.
Some people argue that this pizza from the Midwest is not how pizzas are truly made.
They might be right but that does not mean the pizza is not good or very different from others.
The flavors you get from this style of pizza are still familiar.
The Ohio River is a great body of water that allows the locals to plant fresh ingredients they can use for pizzas.
What Is Ohio Valley-style Pizza?
There is nothing that different with the ingredients used on this style of pizza. The pizza dough is almost the same and the toppings used are pretty common like pepperoni, mozzarella, and more.
What makes this pizza unique is the fact that it cooks the pizza dough first before putting the toppings. The pizza dough is cooked with the pizza sauce in the oven before adding the toppings.
The Ohio Valley-style pizza has a thick crust but variations like the Altoona-style pizza has thin crust. The Altoona-style pizza is served like a Sicilian pizza with a thin crust at the bottom.
Ohio Valley-style pizza in simple terms is a pizza that is served cold. That does not mean that you have to wait for the pizza to get cold before putting it on your table.
It simply means that the pizza itself is crispy and still hot, but the toppings are served cold on top. This means that the cheese on the pizza is not that melted and the flavors are fresh.
Like the Columbus-style pizza and the Dayton pizza, the Ohio Valley-style pizza is cooked the same way as the round pizzas, and the difference is that the Columbus, Dayton, and Ohio pizzas are cut in square slices.
That is why the Ohio Valley-style pizza is often compared to the Sicilian pizza. The thin crust that is almost like crackers on the Columbus and Dayton pizza differentiates them.
How Was Ohio Valley-style Pizza Founded?
The Ohio Valley-style pizza has a really interesting history. It was founded when Primo DiCarlo, a U.S. Army, returned home and remembered the amazing pizza he tried in Italy.
This was right after WWII, so pizza was invented in 1945. DiCarlo’s pizza is now one of the most popular places along the Ohio River that sell this type of pizza.
According to the current DiCarlo’s staff, the reason behind the very unique style of cooking is that the pizza toppings and cheese are cooked far later than the pizza dough to prevent the cheese from burning too much.
See, the pizza pans used back then are quite thick so the cheese and the toppings usually cook faster and burn. The pizza pans today like the ones used with Altoona pizzas are thinner.
These thinner pans can cook the pizzas quicker and balance heat distribution.
That means that the pie cooks evenly, but the toppings served cold to continue with the recipe.
You can find DiCarlo’s Original Pizza restaurant in Steubenville, Ohio.
Steubenville is where the pizza was invented so do not confuse it with the Pittsburgh claims on where it was invented.
Yes, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania also has a lot of pizza places now, especially in the Beaver Falls area that sells Ohio Valley-style pizza but unlike some people believe in, this pizza did not originate from Pittsburgh or Beaver Falls.
If you are closer to that area, there is also a branch of DiCarlo’s pizza in Wheeling, Ohio.
Other pizza places like Giannamore’s, Ray’s pizza, Mo’s pizza, and Jax have this pizza.
Where Can I Buy My Ohio Valley-style Pizza Pie?
If you are in the Midwest, you would not have any trouble finding restaurants that sell Ohio Valley-style pizza. Whether in Pennsylvania or Ohio, the river did not stop this pizza.
I mean that you do not have to stay around the Ohio River part to find this type of pizza. There are a lot of places in Pennsylvania and Ohio that sell the best versions of this pie.
The best option, of course, is to order from DiCarlo’s as they have the original recipe. There is a branch in Wheeling so you are lucky if you live near the Wheeling area.
If you think that the restaurant is too far from you or the area around you does not have any branch of DiCarlo’s like in Beaver Falls, you can look for these other pizza places:
1. Giannamore’s Pizza
Giannamore’s Pizza is one of my favorite places to order Ohio Valley-style pizza from. It allows me to get the toppings that I love by simply specifying the toppings I want to the cashier.
I usually love adding more pepperonis to the pizza. Since you are used to cooked and even crispy pepperoni, you will love this version as you get to taste the original flavor of the meat.
The thin crust on the pizza is perfect for the toppings that come along with the pizza. The toppings are packed at room temperature instead of them being chilled.
The toppings are covered in provolone when you order them and then you can just simply put them on top of hot and thin crust. This is perhaps the closest you can get to the original version.
2. Ray’s Pizza
Another pizza palace that sells amazing Ohio Valley-style pizza is Ray’s Pizza. This pizza place is found around the Wintersville area, so you are in luck if you leave near there.
There is a possibility that you have not heard of this pizza place before since it is a really small pizzeria. So small that they only accept takeout orders so people line up for it.
The pizzeria starts cooking the pizzas at 4 in the afternoon so if you are lucky and get there early, you will be getting the first fresh batch and be on time for dinner once you get home.
There is just enough thickness to the crust so it can fill you up pretty well. It is also crispy so the square cuts are great with all the flavors from the toppings and the texture from the base.
You can choose the toppings that you want from a handwritten list. This gives you more versatility and the fact that it can change from day to day makes this pizza exciting.
3. Jax Pizza
Jax Pizza is another popular choice that is found in the Richmond area. They sell amazing pizzas and the Ohio Valley-style pizza is one of the best options you can get.
There are also other types of food that you can get from this restaurant. If you think the cold pizza they sell is weird, wait until you taste the lasagna soup they have.
They are great at making weird combinations of food good. The pizza is amazing and you can choose the toppings you like and arrange them yourself at home.
You can also order the common toppings if you do not want dirty work. Either way, I am sure you will enjoy this pizzeria’s unique pizza.
4. Mo’s Pizza
Mo’s Pizza is one of the best pizza places where you can order your Ohio Valley-style pizza. You can also choose other foods on the menu like taco pizzas and heart-shaped pies.
From there, you can choose the toppings that you like and you can choose from a wide range. The toppings available are mushrooms, onions, anchovies, peppers, black olives, sausage, and more.
You also get a discount on the toppings if you buy the whole pie instead of a slice. So it is better if you buy a whole pizza and then choose the toppings that you like most.
So now that you know where you can get your Ohio Valley-style pizza, it is time for you to try the combination of hot base and cold toppings to get the real experience.
You can also lookup recipes to make homemade versions of this pizza. It is easy to do and is a good practice for beginners!
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