ron rothman.ron rothman
selectively conformist

Three Fails: Old Forge Pizza, NYS Ice Cream, Wine

We just returned from a trip to the Finger Lakes with some friends. (See the complete photo set here.) Some highlights:

Thursday: The Pizza Crapital of the World

We set out in the evening, anticipating a memorable dinner. Sara had planned a fabulous itinerary, and its first attraction was dinner in Old Forge, PA, “Pizza Capital of the World.” What? You didn’t know that Old Forge was the Pizza Capital of the World?! Have you been living under a rock? Well, we must be living under one, too, since we’d never even heard of Old Forge until a month ago.

We admit, we were intrigued by this audacious claim. “What enormous cajones this Podunk little town must have,” we thought, “to claim superiority over the likes of Brooklyn, Chicago… and even Rome and Naples.” At first we thought it was a joke. But there it was, proclaimed in black and white, on several well-known internet site (TripAdvisor, Fodor’s, et al.). And it wasn’t even the casual tourists who said it was the best pizza–it was pizza enthusiasts. The kind who make their own pizzas at home. Daily. And take pictures to post online for their friends to see. These were the people who said Old Forge pizza was the best, and we trusted them.

Here’s an excerpt from one posting about Old Forge pizza:

I love Old Forge style pizza. It was always a treat to get away from the “normal” type of pizza and get a taste of NEPA pizza.

We were starving by the time we reached Old Forge. We raced to Revello’s (one of the top-rated pizza places in town) and got a table. The place didn’t look like much, but that actually impressed us–pizza joints are supposed to be kinda seedy, after all. Our skepticism almost began to fade.

We sat down and asked for menus. When they came, we saw that there were two kinds of pizza: red and white. You could order by the slice, or by the “tray.” A slice was $1.05 and a tray was $12.60. (Freakonomics indeed.) We ordered a tray of red (with half pepperoni for the carnivores and half onion for the herbivore(s)) and a single slice of white.

While we waited for the pizza, we had a little birthday celebration for Kartal. We gave him a nifty T-bone T-shirt, certifying him as a true lover of food that’s killed and grilled.

And finally, the pizza arrived. The moment of truth.

The “tray” was just that: an orange plastic cafeteria tray. The pizza sat directly on this tray; no foil, no paper. As I swallowed my first bite, my brain began working to identify the cheese I was tasting. (Old Forge pizza is apparently known for its special cheese–not mozzarella.) The cheese was nostalgically familiar, but I couldn’t place it at first. And then, it hit me. But was this possible? Could it really be? Was the best pizza in the world made with… American cheese? :-&

The sad answer, my friends, is yes. It was American cheese. No, wait. Not cheese; it’s “cheese.” Not the real kind; it was the fake crap (Kraft™ Singles) that I used to eat when I was a kid. The kind that’s not even 100% dairy, but is made with vegetable oil.

The “cheese” (and, consequently, the pizza) was disgusting. It stuck to our teeth like Elmer’s Glue. It wreaked havoc on our stomachs. We were starving; we ate it. Frozen pizza, cafeteria pizza or even airplane food would have been better.

I could go on and on about the Pizza Crapital of the World… but this post is getting too long already, and I’m only 3 hours into our weekend.

Disillusioned, disgruntled and a little nauseated, we headed for Ithaca, making a quick ice cream stop (ice cream stop #1) on the way out of town.

[Editor’s Note: In response to some of the comments this has generated (see below), I feel the need to point out my pizza judging credentials: (1) I’m a native New Yorker, (2) I went to school in Chicago, and (3) I’ve travelled (read: eaten) around Italy–including Rome and Naples, the origin of Italian pizza. If you’re going to leave a comment below, let us know your pizza background. :) ]

Friday: Ithaca is Gorges

After a yummy breakfast at the Ithaca Bakery, we visited Ithaca Falls, which is noteworthy for being both very impressive and easily accessible. We tried visiting Buttermilk Falls later in the day, but the water level was so low (due to recent droughts) that we ended up skipping it.

The upstate NY region is known for its ice cream (in fact, ice cream sundaes were invented right in Ithaca), so we paid a visit to the Cornell Dairy Bar (ice cream stop #2). It didn’t really meet our expectations, but still, ice cream is ice cream.

We left Ithaca and headed to Watkins Glen State Park, with its magnificent gorge and interesting water features. After a pleasant walk through the very scenic Watkins Glen, we headed to the weekend’s destination: the town of Penn Yan, on the edge of Keuka Lake.

We stayed at the Trimmer House B&B, where we were greeted by Gary, who owns the B&B and is a professor of Hospitality Management at the local college.

  • Location: great
  • Hot tub: awesome!
  • Breakfast: adequate
  • Hot tub: awesome!
  • Hospitality: excellent
  • Hot tub: awesome!

Over all, a very good stay; definitely recommended. (Though next time we travel to that area, we decided we’d consider renting a lakefront house with direct water access.)

We had dinner at the Switzerland Inn–mostly because their menu boasted the “best ribs east of Kansas City.” The view was good; the ribs, not so much. (Though the fish fry wasn’t bad.) Penn Yan: not the BBQ Rib Capital of the World.

Back to the B&B for a quick, relaxing dip in the hot tub, and then off to bed.

Saturday: “Wine Drinkers Make Grape Lovers”

After a pancake breakfast (made with local buckwheat), we spent the morning on Lake Seneca, in a canoe and a kayak. The lake wasn’t quite as peaceful as we’d have liked, but it was still fun to be out on the water.

Spent the afternoon hitting some local wineries, some of us getting tipsier than others. The wineries we visited were Heron Hill (where a charming girl served us swill) and Dr. Frank’s (where we actually liked a couple of the wines we tasted).

Took a quick dip in Lake Keuka to sober up, and then headed back to the B&B. On the way back, we passed a go-kart track and couldn’t resist. Perhaps it was the wine in her system, but Nicole shocked us all by flooring it like there was no tomorrow. As designated picture-taker, the only photo I could manage to get of her was a blurry streak.

We decided to hit the hot tub before dinner, and we cracked open our classy bottle of “Red Cat Hot Tub Wine”

After a heavy dinner at a local Amish restaurant, we were ready for an early bedtime.

Sunday: Sundaes at the Source

Another breakfast (buckwheat waffles), and we headed out.

We stopped to pick blueberries at the loveliest blueberry patch we’d ever seen, which was behind the scariest house we’d ever seen.

Another pit stop for another disappointing ice cream cone (ice cream stop #3), followed by lunch back in Ithaca. We intended to cause some controversy by showing up at the all-vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant wearing Kartal’s T-bone shirt, but they were closed. We settled for a mediocre meal at a veg-friendly restaurant (Aladdin’s), followed by yet another disappointing ice cream experience: sundaes at Purity Ice Cream (ice cream stop #4).

We finally made it home, but not before we made a bathroom stop at McDonald’s and snacked on some McFlurry ice cream (ice cream stop #5).

Thus ended a weekend of the worst “Best-ofs” we’ve ever experienced.

99 Responses to “Three Fails: Old Forge Pizza, NYS Ice Cream, Wine” [Leave yours »]

  1. Shannon said:

    They make veggie franks!?!? Those vegetarian and vegan substitutes confound me, if you want a burger or a hot dog, don’t mess around, go for the real thing. Just like if you want pizza, don’t go to NEPA.

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  2. r said:

    Roddy,

    We live in a country where people are free to do whatever they want with their food. Just because I don’t put ketchup on my steak doesn’t mean someone else should feel bad for liking it or that it is wrong to do. I put jelly on jalapeno poppers and some people think that’s weird, but it doesn’t mean its a terrible thing to do.

    But hey, if coming on an Internet message board and bashing something that other people like makes you feel happy, go for it. But instead, perhaps you can offer your thoughts on your favorite pizza or maybe other pizzas you’ve had that you find interesting or unique.

    Remember, just because something (or someone) is different from what you are used to, it doesn’t make them wrong.

    -Rick

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  3. r said:

    One more,

    I do agree with you about Buona’s. I work with one of the owners and it is very good. If you like Buffalo Chicken Pizza, give it a try there. (Unless putting buffalo chicken on your pizza is considered blasphemy, then I apologize and will report to confession immediately).

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  4. roddy said:

    i am a gourmand and have eaten many things, including but not limited to, prairie oysters, blood pudding, raw clams, head cheese, softshell crab, ostrich, snails, frogs legs, kangaroo, rabbit, alligator tail and squirrel (though not all together on the same plate.) i lived in ireland for a time, where one can get beets and corn added to pizza. i’m hardly a food snob.

    i know that people have differing taste, and that, quite often “mommy’s cooking is the bestest cooking ever”, but there’s a difference between people liking old forge cheesy bread, and people calling it the best pizza in the world.

    my aunt used to put ketchup on spaghetti. she liked it that way, and that was fine. but i’d hesitate to call it” the best spaghetti in the world”.

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  5. i love this post. i was just watching the travel channel and they did an hour on the best pizza in america. nothing about nepa style pizza.

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  6. r said:

    Roddy,

    I’m not sure of the point you are trying to convey. I don’t consider myself to have a very good opinion on these things because my travel is limited and I’m not the first one to try the weird foods (unless you consider OF pizza weird, which some of you do….), but I have eaten almost everything you named with the exception of prairie oysters and blood pudding. I do, however, know plenty of people who have been to faraway lands and who have eaten mystical and exotic foods like Tarantula in Vietnam for instance or blowfish in China. These same people also love Old Forge pizza. Friends from China, California, Mexico, and New York City to name a few all love our pizza. I once saw a guy bite into a fish right after he caught it, but that was on TV and I couldn’t get his opinion on Old Forge pizza. If you want to put stock in anything I say, we had a friend stay at our place over a holiday who was from Roma, Italy and she loved Old Forge pizza. I trust her opinion more than someone from Brooklyn… my apologies.

    Also, emanuel, if we’re going to bash something, lets call it by its proper name. ‘Old Forge style pizza’, not ‘NEPA style pizza’. Just like its not Northern Illinois deep dish pizza, its Chicago deep dish pizza. Unfortunately the analogy doesn’t work for New York pizza cause it would still be New York pizza. At least Roddy has the decency to call it Old Forge cheese bread.

    Also, if I sound hostile in anything I say, I don’t mean it that way so please don’t take offense. Sarcastic, maybe… I just think everyone in this forum needs a hug.

    -Rick

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  7. roddy said:

    the point of my food list is to show that i’m hardly afraid of tasting and enjoying unique, unusual and unfamiliar foods. so when confronted by pizza of a different ilk, i’m hardly one to shy away from a slice because it’s not familiar to me or because it doesn’t taste like “so and so’s” pizza. the reason i don’t like old forge cheesy bread isn’t because it’s an unfamiliar tasting pizza, it’s because it’s a HORRIBLE tasting pizza.

    it’s not a question of people liking or not liking old forge cheesy bread, it’s the claim that it’s “the best cheesy bread in the world” that’s being challenged.

    lots of people eat at mcdonalds. lots of people like mcdonalds hamburgers – doesn’t make them the best hamburgers in the world now, does it.

    rick, your friend from rome may have loved old forge cheesy bread, she might have liked the ‘unique’ variation on pizza, but did she proclaim it ‘the best cheesy bread in the world”? probably not. and although brooklyn is hardly rome, there are a lot of italian immigrants there who cook like they do “in the old country”, and given the various personal permutations of sauce, cheese and toppings, i can tell you that their pizza in no way resembles the bland tastelessness of old forge cheesy bread.

    as for hugging, no offense, but no thanks. i don’t know where you’ve been. ;)

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  8. Shannon said:

    Why can’t we all just get along? ;)

    I guess we’ll have to just agree that the majority of NEPA residents and a minority of people who have passed through NEPA have the opinion that OFP is the best pizza in the world. And that’s all it is: an opinion. My opinion is: I don’t like OFP. People in NYC might think their pizza is better than Chicago and the reverse is also likely. I think the point that Ron was originally trying to make was that Old Forge was proclaiming itself the “pizza capital of the world”. Someone else said that really it should be “pizza per capita” (see comments 12 and 32). Either way you slice it no one is wrong. Food varies so much from culture to culture and from region to region in just this country. It would be pretty boring if we all ate the same thing. The situation here is that Ron used his blog to say that he didn’t like OFP and while a lot of people agreed, several people disagreed and both sides got a little nasty. In the grand scheme of things does any of this matter? The NEPA folks don’t need to get so hot an bothered that everyone doesn’t like their pizza, as long as they like it and the know where they can get it, then that’s all that matters.

    I could use a hug, thanks Rick. :)

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  9. Ron [author of post] said:

    Shannon, thanks–your comment really sums things up perfectly.

    May we all share your insightful perspective. :)

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  10. r said:

    Agreed, and if I ever run into you sometime and I somehow realize that you are the Shannon from the Old Forge Horrible Pizza blog, I’ll give you that hug.

    And Roddy, if you’re having a Super Bowl Party, Buona’s is running some specials with pizza, wings, garlic knots and soda from $40 all the way up to the big old $150 package and they’re delivering to Scranton on Sunday…just an FYI.

    (And that’s the Greenridge Buona’s, not the downtown one.)

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  11. Shannon said:

    Rick, I was just going for a virtual hug, but it would be funny if we ever crossed paths. I’ll keep an eye out for you the next time I’m in Peckville.

    Ron, glad to help, I think this has been chewed over pretty well.

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  12. ellen said:

    I’m from nepa – and I love old forge style pizza. Even if you don’t like the Old Forge style of cheese (which I happen to enjoy)- the area has the best sicilian style pizza I’ve ever had. Revello’s is one of my favorite restaurants and I can’t get enough of their pizza. If this pizza is a little too much for you – try Victory Pig. It’s only open on certain days of the week, so call ahead! They even offer curbside service… its a true blast from the past. When I came to Philly for college- I was horrified at the disgusting “greek” style pizza that I found everywhere. (Don’t get me wrong, there are a few good pizza restaurants in the iladel, but if you’re ordering from the neighborhood pizza places just get a cheesesteak instead.) Everytime I visit home – I can’t wait to have the pizza, even the traditional New York style pizza is much better than around here. PS- for those of you who haven’t tried Old Forge Style, give it a shot. Apparently people love it or hate it. I personally love it and bring back frozen portions for my non-Nepa friends!

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  13. Linda said:

    You’re so right, Revello’s is horrible, i never tasted such crap. I could of gotten better pizza out of the cheapest grocery store’s freeezer section. I have no clue how anyone could like that garbage. Alot of pizza in NEPA is crap, i’ve had more than i care to with American cheese. I know these people here do not know what good pizza is. I”m from Jersey so i do know. Oh well, poor them.

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  14. Shannon said:

    So much for the truce.

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  15. Linda said:

    Not being mean folks, just don’t like Old Forge pizza.

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  16. Shannon said:

    It would be one thing if you said that: “just don’t like Old Forge pizza”. But reread your post (#63).

    I’ll be the last person to defend OFP as you may or may not know from my earlier posts. But calling pizza in NEPA crap, that “these people” do not know what good pizza is and “poor them”, well, if that’s not mean, then I don’t know what is. You should read my comment #58 again or for the first time. It’s all a difference of opinion.

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  17. Linda said:

    OK, i was a little mean, sorry if i offended anyone.

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  18. Ric said:

    Old Forge Pizza Express has opened in Edwards, Colorado.

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  19. Nathan said:

    Your comments about Old Forge pizza are harsh. I was born about 30 minutes outside of Old Forge, lived in NY for 10 years and have been to Rome three times. Old Forge pizza is different from others and it is tasty, no matter what you say. Revellos often delivers to the Penn State football team , Yankee Stadium as well as other high profile spots along the East Coast. Maybe it being served on fine china would have made you think otherwise. I currently live in Philadelphia and would kill for something different than the razor thin round pizza that EVERYONE sells for three times the price.

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  20. M-B said:

    I googled and ended up on this page while doing research for a car club rally I am planning that will culminate with lunch at one of my favorite OF cafes. My mother is from OF, and to the author, yes people from OF do actually leave the area. She met my father when she moved to New York; he was a life long resident of the Bronx. They have very different ideas of what pizza is and I grew up hearing the debate about OF and NY pizza. But I have seen my dad eat and really enjoy a slice or OF red with e glass of Dego Red and I have seen my mother bite into a big floppy triangular slice of NY pizza and enjoy it too.

    For Italians, I think food becomes part of your identity and understandably people can be defensive about their regional food. There is pride for this small town it their world renowned pizza. It was unfortunate that the author could not find a way to express their opinion without begin so condescending. It is also childish that they seem so put of the reaction they solicited.

    Love it or hate it, it is a pizza from a town that itself has survived so much and still keeps its identity full of proud Sicilians, victory gardens, and family owned pizza cafés, bravo Old Forge!

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  21. Shannon said:

    M-B, I had a hard time understanding this sentence: “It is also childish that they seem so put of the reaction they solicited.”

    It’s funny that you mention “triangular slice” in reference to NY pizza. I remember back in the day before I understood why the pizza I was eating in NEPA was not like anything I was use to being called pizza. My husband’s grandfather thought that since I was use to round pizzas that by cutting my slice into a triangle would magically make it taste like something resembling pizza to me. Sadly it did not. I wish I could remember when I had the epiphany that OFP ≠ normal pizza. Alas, my eyes have been forever opened. And I laugh to think how silly and confused I use to be.

    I was in NEPA again this past weekend for Easter, and of course Friday night pizza. I got Basillico’s again, and that was good aside from it being almost cold and that it must have been sideways in the car because the cheese was all smushed to one side. Everyone else had pizza from Larussa’s, and I don’t know what they did differently because I’ve never seen the OFP be so soupy on top. When a slice was removed from the company of the other slices, all the cheese on top of the remaining “tray” started to ooze all over the place. Maybe they just put too much cheese on top. It was scary to watch. The cheese that took over the world!

    Oh well, I have nothing new to say about OFP. I still don’t like it. I’m going to Portland, ME in 3 weeks and plan on having some Bill’s Pizza while I’m there. Too bad for my husband, he doesn’t like it. But I doubt we’ll find an OFP outpost there.

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  22. M-B said:

    “M-B, I had a hard time understanding this sentence: “It is also childish that they seem so put of the reaction they solicited.””

    Thanks Shannon… I meant “put off by”…. I type like I am missing fingers and besides typo-s I sometimes omit words all together.

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  23. AJ said:

    Hey, I grew up in NEPA, and ate this pizza all my life. Thanks for describing the cheese acuratley. While I don’t agree, I thought your article and review were entertaining. I’ve ate NY pizza on several occasions, and while I DID find it better than Old Forge Pizza, I wouldn’t call their pizza terrible. Since you’ve ate pizza from all around the globe I can’t blame you for not enjoying the “Old Forge Style”.

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  24. Shannon said:

    Ron, you need to write a blog about grammar and spelling.

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  25. Justine Jill said:

    You are wrong. Old Forge pizza uses something called Brick Cheese look it up on Wikipedia. While Revello’s is the best pizza in Old Forge, Pizza by Pappas is the best pizza in the Scranton area.

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  26. John said:

    Which pizzeria do you guys prefer in Scranton? Alfredo’s or Pizza by Alfredo?
    -John

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  27. P-Daddy said:

    I was so happy to find this site. I moved here about 10 years ago and kept hearing about how “Old Forge” pizza is the best in the world. The first time I tried it I had almost the exact same response as previously described. I had a nostalgic feeling when tasting it and then realized it tasted almost exactly like the mini pizza we made as kids (with bread or English muffins, sweat sauce and cheap American cheese. It also tastes a lot like cafeteria pizza (sweet, chewy, and often soggy).
    This is without a doubt the most overrated food I have ever eaten! Hello, anyone ever wonder why one can buy a tray for so cheap?! The ingredients! Inferior, cheap ingredients. There must be some form of hallucinogenic in the sauce for so many NEPA’ers to believe it’s great (even good) pizza. So incredibly overrated!!

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  28. celo said:

    Dude Ghigerelli The best! Old Forge pa right across from rivellos

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  29. tom said:

    Oh.. to be able to write so many words with such a limited brain. The same drugs which destroyed your brain cells have clearly blunted your taste buds. Old Froge pizza ranks tops in styles, tastes, and quality for Italians the world over. You, my fair skinned Anglo, have little abilty to judge. Your opinion is like so many hairs on a dog’s backside grounded in a history of tastless meals. Enjoy your Pizza hut!

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  30. Linda said:

    P-Daddy, that is what i keep saying, Old Forge pizza is the worst stuff, how anyone can think that is pizza i’ll never know. Has me stumped.

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  31. Dave Zinovenko said:

    My parents grew up in Old Forge and every year in the late 40’s or 50’s we would spend a week or two there during the summer. I have not tasted OF pizza for at least 55 years but I can still remember it …and the clambakes too. I’d like to try it again but I’m sure that it won’t be the same. Something about childhood and nostalgia. I understand the strip mines are all closed down and most areas filled in. I think they finally put out the underground fire in the coal dump alongside Lackawanna Ave. And I’m sure the family house on Hickory St has been renovated several times over. A lot changes in 50 years but the experience of eating OF pizza comfort food will remain. I’m in south central Connecticut right now and close to Pepe’s of New Haven, the undisputed champion of gourmet napo-style pizza. Call it heresy or what but I’m actually thinking of getting an OF pie and a Pepe’s pie and comparing them side by side. I’ll let you all know if I do.

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  32. Mosca said:

    I got my information about the cheese being Monterey Jack by asking the question directly to the waitress at Revello’s. But sure, brick cheese makes sense, too.

    You gotta love it… not the pizza, but the passion it evokes, y’know? As long as people love to eat distinctive food, there is hope for the world. I don’t care who likes or doesn’t like OFP, really; just stay out of Olive Garden and Pizza Hut and I’m happy.

    BTW, for OFP lovers; the quality of Arcaro & Genell’s pizza has declined precipitously over the last year or so. They seem to have decided that their signature twist is going to be stale, mealy, flavorless crust (I know, I left you haters a hanging curve ball there). The sit-down meals are still great, but the pizza is now a “must skip” for me.

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  33. Marilyn said:

    Happened upon this website-too cool-life time resident of NE PA-family travels all over and to be perfectly honest tend to order food or frequent restaurants that are unique and have survived the test of time.(Not necessarily pizza places… Example-the Penguin in Charlotte, N.C., local flavor is a must).Old forge has been the place to take your family and sit down during holiday breaks enjoying beer, pizza, and nostalgia. Great cuisine it’s not, but a slice of ethnicity that is hard to find outside of the area. Miss the local pizza places that were traditional round(Luna Rosa) with real cheese that would minutely break apart and trap a sweet oil that would allow the cheese to slide off gently atop it’s sweet perfectly Italian seasoned sauce. If anyone knows pizza that still exists in Pa let us know! Great unusual pizza at Pizza Perfect in Dallas Pa. Rectangle,bottom gently but crispy fried, excellent onion flavor with flavor filled sauce and non-Kraft like cheese. Paired with their crispy wings and their ice cold Yeungling Lager and you’re set. Just bring cash. They don’t take plastic. Mouth watering alert-peace-out.

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  34. Diane said:

    Some of the white pizza in that area of NEPA is fantastic. I am from NYC and I never tasted anything like it. Not all the pizza places make it the same, though. I agree with the author on the red. Only the White Pizza in NEPA rates on a global scale.

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  35. Julie said:

    I think you all have no idea what you are talking about and are complete morons! Old Forge pizza is the best around and I would like you to find a pizza better! First of all you aren’t a very good critic if you go in thinking that the pizza is going to be awful anyway. Seriously, idiots! If you know anything about NEPA is that we are very proud of our food and heritage and for people like you to come in and put it down is just pathetic…where do you live so I can come and make fun of your family and friends??????

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  36. Milly said:

    I don’t know about Old Forge beig the pizza capital but NEPA is basically the pizza region of the country based on the number of pizzerias there are per population #. NEPA has the most pizzerias in all of the USA. And actually, I was brought up in a pizzeria my whole life and have found that NY pizza is not quite the scale that I like to use to judge GOOD pizza. Yes, good pizza is most often made by italians. That’s not so much the case in NY where a majority of the pizzerias are run by hispanics, greeks, and arabs. (not that its bad, but lets just say if i want a good fajita, i go to a mexican) Most of the pizzerias in NEPA are old school and run by yes you guessed ITALIAN people. Sorry, i just hate that people think they know pizza just because they’re from NY. a little annoying. :)

    -but- i will give you this. anything other than mozzerella on a pizza is just wrong.

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  37. dave said:

    Hey, I was born and raised here in NEPA and let me tell you about the pizza here. It is loust anymore. The best pizza I have had in the last ten years was one I made myself in my kitchen. Talk about outstanding. So phooey on all the pizza made in NEPA.

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  38. John K said:

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy Revello’s but you probably picked the worst of all of the Old Forge style pizza places to evaluate. You should have gone to Arcaro & Genell’s or Ghigiarelli’s (or even Victory Pig about 5 miles south on US Rt 11. I grew up in NEPA and view myself as somewhat of a pizza expert. I’ve eaten it all over the US and all over the world. Europe in general undoubtedly has the best thin pizza’s I’ve ever eaten. But in general, the quality and variety of pizza in NEPA has spoiled me for pizza anywhere else and made me a bit of a snob.

    What is different about NEPA in general when it comes to pizza is that you’ll find styles of pizza there that you cannot find anywhere else. These are grandma & grandpa’s recipes brought over from the old country & made with love. Old Forge bills itself as the pizza capital of the world because not only do they have more pizza restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the US, but the Old Forge/ Scranton area has proportionally speaking the highest population of sicilians anywhere in the US. The variety of pizza available in the area is nothing short of phenomenal.

    You should do your homework beyond trying pizza from one place and dissing the region because of it. Revello’s just isn’t very good. I bake all types of pizza and have even managed to virtually perfect the area’s famous Victory Pig Style pizza. I bake with various levels of hydration, sauces, and blends of cheese, both neapolitan & sicilian styles and I can tell you, you’ve sold the area short by judging the area based up Revello’s.

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  39. Kitty said:

    Old Forge is so called the “Pizza Capital of the World” not because of the type of pizza it produces, but rather because of the plenitude that abounds (pizza places per capita).

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  40. roddy said:

    to refer to old forge cheesy bread as “pizza” is a horrid culinary crime against humanity.

    as for the “cheesy-bread per capita”, i think chicago or new york might better fit that description…

    40
  41. David said:

    OK, I lived in Scranton for 2 years after having lived in and around Chicago for 25. (2224 Boulevard Ave Scranton, PA to be exact)

    Old Forge Pizza is NOT pizza. It just isn’t. It’s what lunchrooms across America try to pass off as pizza. Those rectangle tasteless crappy things are just open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches with some tomato paste inside.

    If you want good pizza in Scranton, Get onto Boulevard Ave and find “A little Pizza Heaven.” Best pizza in the area. Get the rosemary & Onion white pizza!

    Chicago Deep-dish is my first love, but I like a good cracker-thin crust here and there.

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  42. bill said:

    It seems to me that the author of this post is someone who likes to pass judgement. I own one of those old forge pizzerias and I have made more money selling this stuff than you’ve ever dreamed of. I know your a little jealous and you’ll probably have some type of childish rebuttle about how it sucks or how I mispellledd a wurd. And yes I was born and raised in old forge and I know a good percentage of the population and most people have been all over the world and I personally have a house in naples italy (which I bought with the money I made from my restaurant) and I’ve tried most pizza in naples and mine is better. Yeah I am an enthusiast of this pizza and I have every restaurants menu memorized…they either have red or white pizza…not that hard. Now get on with your boring life of visiting small towns across the country just to criticize what put them on the map.

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  43. Ron [author of post] said:

    @bill: I’ll ignore your personal attacks. I’ll also ignore your poor grammar. (But shame on those Old Forge public schools!)

    The fact is, I don’t see how your wealth is relevant here. McDonald’s makes more money than any other burger joint in the world, and certainly more money than you. Does that mean they’re the best–or even decent? Nope.

    The only relevant part of your post was the sharing of your personal opinion. Yes, we get it: you’re from Old Forge, you’ve been to Italy, and you think Old Forge pizza is the best in the world.

    People from Old Forge tend to think Old Forge pizza is actually good. We folks from the rest of the world scratch our heads and wonder what’s in your water. As stated earlier in this thread: only a person from Old Forge could love Old Forge pizza. To anyone outside your little corner of Pennsylvania, OFP tastes like a cheap imitation of Elio’s frozen pizza–at least in my (admittedly limited) experience.

    You’re welcome to share your opinion here, as I’ve shared mine. You’re not welcome to make insults–especially not at me. Thanks for understanding that the next time you post.

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  44. Bob said:

    I had someone trick me into trying old forge pizza when I first moved to scranton and I had the same reaction. I just don’t get it, I guess. My favorite old forge pizza memory is when the convention for the show “the office” came to town and a bunch of places set up stands in the square. The reactions from the tourists were about the same, from “oh, they mentioned this pizza on the show!” to “wait a minute, why does this taste like saran wrap?” to “oh god get this out of my mouth where’s the garbage?” with the lines to the stands being about as long as the ones to toss it out. You also may have noticed from your reactions that insulting the stuff is liable to get you into a fist fight if you’re an out of towner.

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  45. Shannon said:

    I love that people are still commenting on this post. Well done, Ron!

    Recently, parents of a friend of mine drove cross country and had the misfortune of stopping in Scranton on their way through PA. They got duped into eating the nasty “pizza” of the area. I quote: “We got snagged into the “Award Winning” pizza. Who in their right mind puts American cheese on pizza. It WAS bogus.”

    Just another unsatisfied customer from “away”. Maybe NEPA should advertise that their “pizza” is only palatable to the locals. That way people passing through won’t waste their time or money on the garbage.

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  46. Shannon said:

    Too bad Bill didn’t say which “pizzeria” he owns, I could ask my local in-laws about it. Of course they just love that kind of “pizza”.

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  47. Rachel said:

    Hello in response to Shannon you may like La Trattoria. I’m from the area, and when I was pregnant with my son they would actually go off the menu and make me a pizza I requested. They use a wood burning hearth.

    No comment on Old Forge Pizza from me! :)

    522 Moosic St.
    Scranton, PA

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  48. Arealitalian said:

    Ok I found your blog because I googled “old forge pizza sucks”. Growing up in this area, I never understood why any of these people think that pizza is good. This pizza is sold so cheap because they, in fact, use cheap ingredients!! It’s gross! The people around here like this pizza because they are inbred and forced to eat it as children from parents who never knew better. I’m a real Italian and go there every year. There is no way this place is the pizza capital of the world. The sauce tastes canned and the cheese is american cheese. It’s greasy as hell too! It’s gross!

    If you want real pizza, like the real pizza from Naples, go to King’s in Mountain Top. I had their margherita brick oven pizza a few days ago and it was delicious!

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  49. Shelly said:

    It’s unfortunate you chose to skip Buttermilk Falls State Park. I was there this fall (along with Watkin’s Glen, Taughannock & Treman) and the gorge hike is breathtaking. Due to limited waterfall, it was barely flowing but the autumn colours and rock formations were amazing sights to see! Also, because of the limited flow, we were able to climb onto one of the ledges of a massive upper fall for a fantastic photo!

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