Wedgewood Pizza Comes to Columbus
For those who haven’t heard, a Wedgewood Pizza shop recently opened in Grove City. Now, I must disclose before even beginning this review that I have a certain bias. I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, home of Wedgewood Pizza, and consider myself to be a huge fan of this hometown favorite. Wedgewood was a Friday night tradition with my family, and I have many fond memories of enjoying a slice while watching Sunday afternoon football. My hope is not only that this pizzeria thrives in Grove City, but that it is so successful that it expands to other metro areas – including downtown Columbus.
Wedgewood Pizza is truly a Mahoning Valley legend that is consistently voted the number one place to enjoy a slice of pizza in Youngstown polls. The first location was opened in Austintown (a suburb of Youngstown) in 1968 by Italian immigrant Fernando Riccioni and his partner Pasquate “Patsy” Acconcia. Fernando still owns and operates the original location where a whopping 6,500 pies are sold each week. Yes, that’s right, 6,500 pies!
The Grove City operation does a nice job of capturing the down-home charm the Youngstown shops. The atmosphere would be best described as comfortable and unpretentious. Plenty of seating is available, and a widescreen TV is mounted on one of the walls for those who choose to eat in the restaurant. The baking area is open, so diners can watch pizzas being shuffled in and out of five large speciality ovens from a front row seat.
Make no mistake about it, Wedgewood Pizza is all about the pizza. They specialize in making pies to the near exclusion of all else. And what they do, they do very well. The crust, which is of medium thickness, is slightly crispy on the outside with a soft “melt-in-your-mouth” quality on the inside. The dough is made in-house and many ingredients, such as the sauce and sausage, are proprietary, special recipes. A large number of toppings are available that, overall, are of very good quality. The sauce, which is full-flavored and slightly sweet, wonderfully compliments the blend of cheeses that generously layer the top of each pie. Biting into a slice of freshly baked Wedgewood Pizza is a delectable experience indeed!
Several specialty pizzas are available such as the Original Everything (tomato sauce, peppers, olives, mushrooms, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzerella cheese, and salami), the House Special (tomato sauce, green peppers, mozzerella cheese, and pepperoni), and the Brier Hill (tomato sauce, green peppers, and romano cheese). For me, though, the fun has always been in creating unique combinations. Some personal favorites include extra cheese and pepperoni (decadent, but oh so good) or salami and black olive (awesome). Wedgewood also serves up a delicious white pizza that features oil and garlic instead of tomato sauce. The white pizza with broccoli is excellent.
Wedgewood Pizza offers outstanding value. I was very surprised to see prices almost inline with those of its Austintown counterpart. For example, A 12-inch pizza costs 7.50 and is enough to serve two people. The bottom line is that you really do get a lot for your dollar.
Perhaps the greatest asset to the Grove City location of Wedgewood Pizza is Dominic Cercone. Dominic, who recently retired from his job in Youngstown, owns and operates the shop along with his daughter Alicia. He clearly enjoys interacting with customers and is about as friendly and down-to-earth as they come. If you patronize Wedgewood Pizza with any regularity, it won’t be long before Dominic knows your name and makes a point of stopping by your table to say hello and chat. The other members of the restaurant staff have always been friendly and receptive as well.
I hope you enjoy the Wedgewood Pizza experience as much as I have through the years. It’s restaurants like this that are the reason we all love dining at local establishments: unique, deliciously prepared food and the opportunity to get to know the owners on a personal basis. My guess is that it will be an offer you can’t refuse. ; )
For more information visit the Wedgewood Pizza Columbus website.
Also, below is a video featuring Wedgewood Pizza founder Fernando Riccioni at his Austintown, Ohio shop: