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The Elusive Pizza Strip

I have been hearing about the non-cheesy Pizza Strips of Rhode Island forever but have never tried them. I sampled my first PIzza Strips today at Superior Bakery in Cranston which was recommended by an Ocean Stater. Is Crugnale, Palmieri or DeFusco much different? So far I am a bit underwhelmed in an english muffin, jar sauce kind've way. What am I missing?

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      1. re: invinotheresverde


        turn in you Rhode Islander card immediately

        whats next - you dont like dels?

          1. re: joe777cool

            Hey, more strips for the rest of us! I can definitely see how they'd be an acquired taste (or a never acquired taste), like many oddball RI specialties.

            1. re: joe777cool

              Ok, I'm from CT but I've gotta say I've had Del's twice. Once at a fair (it was ok but I guess I'm used to Paul Newman's lemonade) and again in the Narragansett Shandy and it was just completely awful. It had an oily texture to it and the lemon flavor/scent was reminiscent of lemon Pledge.
              Do you really like Del's?

            2. re: invinotheresverde

              Live and work in RI, and I also detest pizza strips.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    I will say that we get Superior pizza strips delivered to the store and people LOVE them. I can't figure it out.

                    1. re: invinotheresasister

                      Superior are by far the worst too! oh well. When you get then hot and freash from the bakery they arent half bad, but in the stores they are dry and tasteless.

            3. CCG is right. Pizza strips suck. I think the only way you can appreciate them is if you were born in RI and remember having them at your sixth birthday party.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Gin n Tonic

                I grew up with them when they first beCAME a Rhode Island thing...early 50s...Rhode Islanders eat them, but, I think we do not know WHY we eat them. They are 100 per cent "what you see is what you get."

                1. re: Gin n Tonic

                  I think there's a lot to this. I like them, but then again I live in Virginia and might eat a couple once a year. My first memory of them is of a box of pizza strips on the counter at Dutchland Farms -- I think they cost $0.07/strip.

                  Good for the lactose intolerant, too!

                  1. re: Bob W

                    And my first memory is Norwood Bakery(PostRoad-Warwick)...circa 1954-1955--.10 cents a strip

                2. The best pizza strips are at Calvitos and DePetrillos. Crugnale really arent that good, Superior are even worse, and DeFusco's.....well they have been closed down. It is pizza dough with sauce, however, so I would temper your expectations. A box of "party pizza" never last very long at my house though!

                  1. I like the pizza strips from Buono's Bakery.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RIRN2008

                      A bad pizza strip is truly nasty. If they're not fresh they can get really soggy, and obviously since they're only sauce and dough you need to have great versions of both to succeed.

                      A good pizza strip (I can only vouch for Calvito's in Wakefield and Narragansett) with a nice bite to the crust and a tangy sauce can be pretty darn satisfying!

                      1. re: RIRN2008

                        The pizza strips from Buono's (formerly Monda's) on Hartford Ave in Providence are my favorite, too. They have a really toothy crust -- nothing like those soggy, pillowy strips from other bakeries -- and they have a nice tangy sauce. I love that you can specify 'ends' or 'middles' when purchasing them. (I love ends!) Buono's spinach pies are top-notch, too. I also love the white pizza strips from Albertino's on Park Ave in Cranston (formerly DePetrillo's). They have oregano, crushed red pepper, and salt on them with no sauce or cheese. Delicious!

                      2. my favorite strips (and i am a reluctant fan) are from pauly penta's. the tomato topping is thick, sweet, and olive-oily. i usually go for a corner.

                        1. Many years ago pizza strips were not that bad. They used Black Heavy Pizza Sheet Pans which conducted the heat and force a nice crispy bottom. Most sheet pans are lighter aluminium pans which will not give the crispy bottom. RI is only state who made pizza in sheet pans this is one reason the strip was presented. I make them a lot at home when I get bored and look for a 1/2" thick dough.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Frank Terranova

                            You are better off getting the big brother (small round) of the Pizza Strip at
                            Zaccagnini's Pastries Inc
                            701 Oaklawn Avenue
                            Cranston, RI 02920-2814
                            (401) 943-4567

                            They also have pizza strips that are much better than any others as well.

                            1. re: FjmArch

                              I dont eat them much anymore. I prefer the paper thin NY type. Like I said If I get bored I will make a rectangle sheet and cut it into strips.

                              1. re: Frank Terranova

                                I second RIRN's opinion of Buono's. Since pizza strips consist of basically two ingredients(dough and sauce) they both have to shine. The bread at this bakery is my favorite in RI. Many times when out to eat if the bread is great I'll ask where it's from, 9 times out of ten it's Buono's.

                          2. Ahh, Rhode Island, a food wonderland! Pizza strips, coffee milk, cabinets, stuffies, clam cakes, chowda, and best of all, NEW YORK WEINERS!!

                            1. If you want crispy strips, D. Palmieri's in Johnston is THE place to go! A slice of heaven. For a non-crunchy strip, Original Palmieri's on Grove Street in Providence. When the strips are freshly made, they are fantastic - loaded with tomato sauce. Take lots of napkins.

                              1. What you see is what you get...they ARE what they ARE...they are as Rhode Island as Narragansett beer, coffee syrup, clam cakes, etc. They have been around since I was a kid coming up in the early 50s. So, you are not really MISSING ANYthing. For me, they are pure Rhode Island. Fortunately, for the pizza strips, they do not really claim to BE anything other than what you see.

                                1. I've never heard the term Pizza Strip but I'm guessing you're talking about RI sheet pizza? Cold, plain with sauce and some sprinked on powder cheese? My inlaws LOVE that stuff and always have it certain events. I'm from CT and my experience with Italian Bakery sheet pizza was similar but better. It's softer, has mozzarella on it and often broccoli. Either way....I prefer real pizza over the RI or CT sheet ones. Give me a nice Greek style pizza any day.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: masha bousha

                                    I've never heard anyone in RI call it sheet pizza. Either pizza strips or party pizza but not sheet pizza. Sounds like the Connecticut version is completely different, apples and oranges.

                                    And what do you mean by "Greek style pizza"? In RI, "Greek pizza" is commonly known as "House of Pizza" pizza, often made by people of Greek descent but not anything you'd find in Greece or even anything identifiably Greek. Widely reviled by pizza snobs but beloved by many people.

                                    1. re: Bob W

                                      To me Greek Pizza has a buttery, crispy crust. It's cut funky (not like a pie) with some crustless pieces in the middle. Most of the townie pizza joints in CT are of this ilk. The photo I'm attaching is of a small (which IS cut like a pie).
                                      It's pizza like this that I know I would greatly miss if I ever moved to a place which was a pizza wasteland. I feel for people who only know stuff like pizza hut and other chains. They're missing out.

                                      I googled RI Pizza Strips and yes, that's what my inlaws (just over the RI border in CT) call "RI Sheet Pizza".

                                      1. re: masha bousha

                                        Yeah that looks pretty good, and the buttery crispy crust sounds familar. So maybe a cousin to what we call Greek Pizza in RI. I figured your CT version might have feta, which I love on pizza, but you don't get on standard Greek Pizza in RI.

                                        I'm down in Northern Virginia. There is one place called Anthony's House of Pizza in Falls Church and Manassas that serves RI-style Greek pizza, but the best pizza down here is Neapolitan style. Google places like Pupatella, Pizzeria Orso, and Ciao Osteria. So luckily I'm not in a pizza wasteland either.

                                    2. re: masha bousha

                                      Thing is: Yes, you CAN buy what you refer to as sheet pizza...it is sold at many bakeries and also at Dave's markets. THAT being said ( a phrase that REALLY REALLY has to go and take with it "at the end of the day," "RObust conversation, response, or what ever, and a few others...): In just about EVERY supermarket from Dave's to Venda to Whole Foods, you will find pizza strips...rectanglar with pizza sauce. You CAN buy them with cheese at Whole Foods. Again, it is not like pizza from Providence Coal Fired, or something like that. The strips know what they are and do not try to be different. It is just a Rhode Island thing, and, for me, their main purpose is to remind you you are a Rhode Islander from the time you are a kid until you are much older. For me, it is a bit like Velveeta cheese...once every now and again, you need to taste it again as a memory of how it was when you were 8.

                                      1. re: AikiLou

                                        Well said, AikiLou! I can still remember the greasy, soggy pizza strips we'd get from a box on the counter at Dutchland Farms for a dime. When you're 8, 9 years old, that's manna from heaven.

                                        I always bring a box home when I visit RI, and my wife and kids who have no connection to RI at all really like them.

                                    3. I am not a native Rhode Islander. I didn't grow up here. But I love party pizza. I was introduced to it when I moved here as an adult.

                                      Just as "There are doughnuts and there are doughnuts" well, "There are party pizzas and there are party pizzas" They are an entirely different species than the typical Italian/Greek pizza and cannot be compared to them. Party pizzas, pizza strips, are to be enjoyed for what they are.

                                      And, I would no more buy a strip of party pizza at a supermarket than a doughnut.

                                      The gold standard for me, and I've tried a lot, is D. Palmieri on 624 Killingly Street in Johnston, just off Route 6, where they make it fresh daily.
                                      It is their sauce and just the right amount of oil that makes them so delicious. Unless you have tried a D. Palmeiri party pizza you don't know how tasty a strip of cold pizza can be.


                                      I bring a box or two to my family in Boston for birthdays and holidays and have trained them to eat the strips cold, not heated up in the microwave. It was a struggle.

                                      As with other Rhode Island favorites, in order to really appreciate them, it is knowing where to go to get the best.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: shutterbugRI

                                        Actually, I FORgot the part about eating it cold or at room temperature...it would never cross my mind to eat a pizza strip heated.

                                      2. How difficult is it to make a pan pizza and cut strips . Once a pizza goes cold 50% of the quality is lost.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Frank Terranova

                                          TBH, I don't even really think of pizza strips AS pizza. It's more like bread with a sauce coating on top. I think they might be more in the focaccia family, and as such, definitely don't need to be served warm.

                                          I grew up with pizza strips from the venerable Vienna Bakery. They were present at every major party and event growing up--I don't think people even know how or why they appeared, they were just omnipresent. Personally, I never get a hankering for pizza strips, but if I see them on a buffet table, one almost always ends up on my plate.

                                          1. re: RhodyRedHen


                                            Careful what you say! Do you want shops to stop calling them pizza strips and start calling them Focaccia and triple the price?

                                            1. re: RhodyRedHen

                                              That's the thing. When you say, "Let's go for pizza," that never means pizza strips. Pizza strips is a noun.

                                              Just like a famous legal quote, "Interestingly, 'bread crumbs' are not crumbs that flake off bread," pizza strips are not simply pizza cut into strips.

                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                Only thing is Pizza Strips are very acid. Too much Citric acid in the perparation of the tomato's Thats why It stays Red for Days after.

                                          2. What you're missing is simply a taste of Rhode Island pride and heritage! All you haters can keep your bougie 00 and wood fired. Give me the soggiest, oiliest, oldest strip you've got. My go to is Batista Bakery in Bristol. Wrap it in wax paper, eat it a couple hours later, have a stale biscoitos for dessert. Best/worst is a non-sequitur. It's more about history; the bakery you've been frequenting for years or where your parents ordered them year after year for your duckpin birthday parties.

                                            You don't get it? It's okay, you didn't grow up here. You can buy all the property you want, but you'll never be one of us. Go ahead and treat yourself to some clam strips.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: focallood

                                              I love Clam strips I order them all the time then take all of them home. They are really good fish bait.

                                              1. re: Frank Terranova

                                                The just posted reply is for focallfood, not Frank Terranova

                                              2. re: focallood

                                                I agree with you totally. One more take: Although when I come to Providence every couple weeks, I generally come on Friday and go back to the Berkshires on Monday, every once in a while, I have reason to drive home on Sunday...well, another itch the pizza strip satisfies is that on Sunday afternoons, the Mass Pike is a PARKING LOT between exits 10A and 9...that pizza strip you might have bought just before heading out of town really really assuages the boredom of the 5 mile an hour progress....

                                                1. re: focallood

                                                  The original Italian Bakery in Cranston does make some pretty good strips plus the pizza disks. Now I do have a wood oven actually 2 of them. One in my class at school which will hit about 750 degrees and my new toy at home will reach 1000 degrees easily. I had it built because I love to make pizza when not in attendance I usually hit Coal Fire or Venda. I did grow up here my family had a bakery in Westerly with an original wood oven and made pizza strips but not actually in strip form but square pieces. I have not a clue where the property buying comes from and for the record Clam Strips are nothing more than sea clams sliced into strips which is also used for Bluefish bait.

                                                  1. re: Frank Terranova

                                                    Hey Frankie, where's that Swamp Yankee sense of sarcasm?

                                                    1. re: focallood

                                                      I am the only Swamp Yankee I-Talian on here lol.

                                                2. The best pizza strips (in my hungry opinion) are sold at DeLuise Bakery in Providence (Mt. Pleasant and Chalkstone, down the street from RIC). I've been eating their strips since I was a kid in school across the street from the bakery (1970s) and they are still as good today as they were 40+ years ago. I still grab a couple for lunch every now and then. They also make them in small 'round' shapes as well. Delicious!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: OOliver

                                                    It is a RI thing, like spaghetti sauce made with tomato soup is a middle America thing. I have attended countless birthday and anniversary parties, showers and holiday celebrations. It's not a "time" without pizza strips and without someone asking where they came from. The best, ever and always, will be the ones my Aunt Gilda made! That being said, I stand by D. Palmieri's as my "go to" but i am heading to Buono's today!

                                                  2. I just got back from RI yesterday after being gone for 37 yrs! We grew up on Solitro's pizza strips (went to school across the street so it was an easy lunch for my mom). I went back last week...and they are just as awesome. I'm not a melted cheese lover, so while I like some good hot pizza, I really miss the pizza strips. It's basically a focaccia w/a heavy pizza sauce.
                                                    I really enjoyed my stay and enjoyed all the food that I've missed, stuffies, clam cakes and chowder, clam strips. I had some really great memories from RI and I'll certainly be back before another 37 years!