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Visiting Scranton need info on Old Forge Pizza

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Need info on Pizza in Old Forge or Taylor. I understand there is a distinctive type of pizza from that area.

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  1. This gets a good treatment on the board, so a search would give some good results-but I hate when people give that answer so here goes.
    Old Forge pizza is unique and absolutely worth trying. It's square and thinner than sicilian. The cheese mixture is a puzzle, and if its sticks to the roof of your mouth you're on the right track. On the whole, the sauce contains onions, and the size and amount varies place to place-this is one of the issues that separates various restaurants devotees. The crusts are all pre-made shells form various bakeries in the area-this should not detract from the experience, but rather is part of it. There has to be more than 15 places to get pizza in a really small town so be forewarned, they are not equal. Lastly, the older and the thicker the accent from the person making the pizza, the better it is. I lived there a long time and this is true.
    Forget about Taylor. There are three pizzerias and a on-the-Old Forge-border pizzeria that are good, but go to the source. Now it gets sticky-literally.
    In my mind (and I don't wnat to start a debate, many friendships have been ruined this way) it goes like this. 1) Revello's and 2) Arcaro & Genell's. I like Revello's, my parents like Arcaro's. If you like an onion heavy sauce,Arcaro's, if not Revello's. They are right across the street from each other, so try both. From a critic's perspective, I would say Arcaro's is the finer pizza, but something about Revello's trays (oh yeah, you order trays,-not pies), and the whole atmosphere does it for me. I am not alone on this. The major debate focuses around these two with about 5 other side debates.
    Also, get some white pizza. Its like no other, and the best ever in the world period. I live in NYC now and the white pizza is a sorry excuse. It's stuffed with cheese and the rosemary sells it. (Some believe Salerno's has the best white, but Arcaro's is excellent also.)
    The first time I had Old Forge style I hated it. It was not pizza in my mind after growing up in a Neopolitan/New York pizza area, but if it hits (and it will if you eat it enough and give it its day in court) you will love it.
    If you feel more adventurous, another square style exists down the line in the Kingston/Wyoming area. This pizza has an out-there fried bottom crust that some go nuts over (its really good, but Old Forge wins.) The name of the two biggies in this style are Victory Pig (sic) and Pizza Loven. Hope this helps, enjoy.

    14 Replies
    1. re: dpw206

      While I respect Arcaro and Genell's, and admittedly am not much of a white pizza fan (though I love, like Mosca, the pasta there), REVELLO'S IS MY FAVORITE PIZZA IN THE WHOLE WORLD! We've been going there for over 30 years (I'm 35)...and it's like mother's milk to me. I often get it topped with meatballs, and long for the days when you could get shrimp and hot peppers (but no more). I've tried New Haven, Chicago deep dish...and to me...Revello's is King!!! (Even if you want to bicker about the crust).

      The best of the fried "greasy" down valley pizza is Pizza Perfect, Carverton Road in Trucksville (take 309 North from Wilkes-Barre, about 10 miles from 81---then make a right), though a trip to Victory Pig, Route 11, Wyoming Ave, Wyoming (sometimes better---sometimes worse---couldn't tell you why) on a Wed/Fri/Sat night, is a Northeast PA tradition and recommended. Great atmosphere...always crowded, especially early.

      1. re: Stan

        Could someone please! give directions off I-81 to these places?...what closest exits, etc?...thanks!

        1. re: Kirk

          & what hours/days open too!?..

          1. re: Fred

            Revello's and Arcaro's are both open Tu-Sa, from 5pm (I think). To get there...take the Davis St. exit in Moosic off I-81 (just south of Scranton), on Davis St. go west about two miles (the opposite way of the baseball stadium). You will cross a few major intersections including Route 11. Stay straight until you pass over the big concrete bridge. At the next light (Main Ave.), make a left, you'll soon enter Old Forge. Revello's and Arcaro and Genell's are about a mile or so down the road...and half a block from each other.

            1. re: Stan

              The Davis St exit (from south) has changed.

              Take the Davis St exit. At the end, go left at the light. At the next light, make another left; that puts you at the beginning of Stan's directions. that last left gets you going west on Davis St.

              Or, coming from the south, take the Rt11 exit to the left (which is the one right before Davis St, but you wouldn't know that), and follow the signs to Moosic. At the bottom of the hill, make a right (it's marked "Moosic --->", but the sign is small) and go "the way that looks like it makes sense" is the only way to say it, a road that winds through a neighborhood. At the end, you cross under a railroad trestle, make a right onto Main St. A&G's and Rev's are about a mile up the road. If you ask anyone, they'll tell you.

              Rev's doesn't take credit cards or debit cards, btw. There's a MAC machine 100 yds down the road. Been there.

              Mosca

            2. re: Fred

              If that info isn't on it, their phone number(s) are. I know that they're not open on Sunday. They are open late on Friday. When my wife and I go back to visit NEPA, from NC, we often pick up some pizza before getting in.

              1. re: Ed

                Thanks for info guys! Must check out your legendary places around there!

          2. re: Stan

            ....is also a good "greasy" pizza. Norm's, in Wilkes-Barre is similar. He used to work at Tommy's, before opening his own shop.

          3. re: dpw206

            One of the things that makes Arcaro & Genell's double crusted white so good is the lightness and flakiness of the crust. It is definitely not a pre-made shell!

            As a matter of fact, while my wife was working a nurse at Duke University Medical Center, in North Carolina, she had a patient who was a truck driver. He said he always stopped in Old Forge for his A&G pizza! How they made the crust so light is what he loved about it!

            1. re: Ed

              It's ok, we can disagree. I may be wrong, but not totally. First off, I was only referring to the red. I wasn't explicit, but red is my default mental image when one says old forge pizza.
              As far as pre-made goes, many Old Forge pizza places get their shells form local bakeries. I do not know for sure if Revello's or Arcaro's and Genell's does. When I said the comment about the pre-made, I was talking about the more global Old Forge pizza exeprience. More to my point however, I wished to convey the fact that this is not artisinal style pizza. Its cheese is not fresh mozzarella, almost every tray looks the same, there is not flour on the shell, fresh basil thrown on, or the deformities that come from what many consider gourmet pizza, but that should not detract from the experience but again is part of it.
              Now, if anyone knows definitely if Revello's or A&G's makes their own crusts, please let me know. I have been told by people I thought knew what they were talking about that they get them supplied from bakeries- the same that sell par-baked old forge shells in every supermarket in the area. I have watched Revello's make their pizzas, but never saw dough making as part of the process. I have only seen shells come out on trays from a fridge - source unknown. I'll happily concede this point and still love it all the same-just as I did when I thought it was premade. If anyone has any first-hand info, please let me know.
              Lastly, Pizza Perfect is indeed fantastic, but I forgot to mention it in my first post (sorry). However, Victory Pig is still worth a trip for the overall experience.

              1. re: dpw206

                The beauty of Old Forge pizza is its simplicity.

                The carry-out window of Revello's opens to the kitchen. You can see stacks of pizza shells there. I'm not sure about the white, but if you ask them they'll tell you. I might call a bit later (I'm at work).

                All the shells are made by Augustini's Bakery, the same people as Augustini's Club 17.

                It wouldn't surprise me at all if A&G made their own dough. Love 'em or indifferent to 'em, they are distinctive.

                Also, you might want to try "Hazleton style" cold pizza. It is, in every way, as distinctly unusual as Old Forge style. Ever hear of a cheese called "scamutz"?

                1. re: Mosca

                  When I was young, I lived in an area of the Coal Region very close to Hazleton. I love that style of pizza also. I remember Senape's (sp) and Longo's- all very good esp. the "scamutz" part. I remember it was sometimes called bar pizza, and don't they spell it differently, pitsa or pitza or am I confused?

                  1. re: dpw206

                    Spelled either way.

                    Hazleton bar pizza isn't worth a special trip, but if you're in the area, maybe off I81 and getting gas, and see slices of pitza wrapped in Saran Wrap next to the cash register at the mini-mart, get a couple. It'll make you smile. Sometimes you want the crusty, edge pieces, for the texture; sometimes you want the middle pieces for the softness and the topping.

                    Mosca

                2. re: dpw206

                  A&G does not use prebaked shells. That is surely why the finished product is lighter.

            2. I was up there on Saturday, got 2 trays of white and one of red, from Revello's. I like both Revello's and A&G, but the wife prefers Revello's.

              The cheese is Monterey Jack (I asked).

              If you get red from Revello's, get it with the sausage; it's homemade.

              The "dining" is quite different between the two. Rev's OTP (other than pizza) is like what mom would serve you. Try the gnocci and meatballs, it is OUT OF THIS WORLD, but in an extremely "down home" way; it's like you brought it from home or something. A&G's OTP is more like Italian Dining. My fave is the spaghetti carbonara, but everything is really "old world good", in a restaurant way. I love both places, for what they are. I would rather eat pizza at Revello's, I'd rather dine at A&G's.

              As far as other restaurants in OF, honestly I've lived in NEPA since 1987, and in that time I keep meaning to try other places, but we keep going to these two. Once we went to Augustini's Club 17. I liked it OK, but the girls didn't care for it.

              Old Forge is very friendly; it's small town, neighborly urban. Let's put it this way: I live 20 minutes away, and that's "out of town" for Old Forge.

              Aside: On the way home I stopped at the mini-mart at the entrance ramp to I-81 to get gas; it was about 6 o'clock. Getting gas next to me was a Ford Explorer, Georgia plates, with suitcases in the luggage rack on the roof and a tired- and hungry-looking woman in the driver's seat. Inside the mini-mart, a man and a teenage boy were picking out garbage snacks. I wondered what would happen if they knew they were so close to what many considered to be an area of chowing wonderment? Would they take advice from a friendly stranger, or would they smile, agree, and then do what they pleased after I left? Could I give decent enough instructions to MainSt in Old Forge from where we were? We'll never know, I decided to keep the secret.

              Mosca

              1 Reply
              1. re: Mosca

                Revello's pizza is my all-time fav. When we go to see my in-laws in suburban Wilkes Barre, I always hope that a tray of Revello's will be waiting (and it usually is). Mosca is right about the gnocchi - it is the best I've had since my Italian grandmother passed away.

              2. ....the double crusted white with spinach, topped with rosemary, at Arcaro & Genell's. It truly does qualify as a religious experience.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ed

                  ...is Vince the Pizza Prince on Pittston Ave., in South Scranton. It's not Old Forge style, but it is definitely unique and delicious! It's a very tangy cheese that sticks to the roof of your mouth, like some Old Forge pizza. It's a round pie, with a thin, crispy crust. I think they opens at 4PM, and closes when he runs out of dough for the day, usually around midnight.

                  If you search "Vince the Pizza Prince", you'll find their website, including information about having pizza FedExed to you.

                2. My wife used to take me to Sizzle Pie in Kingston. Very tasty pizza in rectangular shapes! S'been so long ago I can't give details now.

                  Link: http://www.kennethconner.com

                  1. Although its not exactly "Old Fordge" pizza, I really like Perh's Pizza in west scranton. They use a fresh made dough, and their Old fashioned and Fresh Tomato Basil pizzas are great. They also have the best Hot Wing Pizza anywhere that i know of. They are located on Main ave in west scranton, accross from Catalano.

                    1. Reviving this old thread......

                      I'm a huge pizza fan.......NYC, Brooklyn, New Haven, Chicago, East Boston......I love it all.

                      I have one night (this Friday) in Scranton and want to get the best representation of Old Forge pizza.

                      Where should I go? What's the one place that will give me the best Old Forge pizza? Price, atmosphere, location are secondary considerations.....the pizza is the important thing.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MSCS

                        Ghigiarelli's in Old Forge. Doesn't even look like a restaurant, just some bare walls and tables and they only serve pizza and maybe a sub or two. Hardly anyone will be there.

                        Of this style of pizza, I've had it at three places and two have been the worst pizzas of my life. Wherever you go, make sure they do not put on their version of American cheese.

                        Just so there is no complete surprise: Old Forge pizza is served by the tray. It is very thick yet light, with some oiliness on the bottom that fries the crust a little. It is very plain tasting unless it has that horrible cheese goo on it, in which case it is obnoxious.

                        I have not been to the 'famous' Arcaro and Genell - it has been closed or was being used for a private party each time I pass by.

                        One thing to add: this is a really cheap pizza. A half tray of plain might be $3. You could go to one place, eat one slice (get the rest to go) and then go to another and compare. It won't set you back much.

                        1. re: MSCS

                          Revello's for Red - first solid food my kids had was their crust

                          Arcaro and Genell's for white although their Red is good

                          Collaruso's (in Avoca) - Fresh Tomato and their Red is my second favorite Red

                          Maybe because I grew up in NE PA that Old Forge style is my favorite despite the cheese that sticks to the roof of your mouth. But I am like you in that I crave all styles whether California, Chicago, NY, Philly Tomato Pie, Connecticut, Wood Fired, coal fired, Brick Oven, plain, meat, veggie, egg.