Here at 101 Achievements, we’re big on serialized efforts. We’ve got our Jelly of the Month Club, Bacon of the Month Club, Cheese of the Month Club, our monthly cocktail appointment at Tender, and now…we begin our citywide pizza tournament…
This year, we’ll be traveling around town to try out pizza-by-the-slice from eight different eateries, pitting them against one another for Pittsburgh Pizza Supremacy. Why only eight places and not a monthly-friendly twelve? We chose the number eight in honor of the 8-cut pizza, which is the Platonic Form for all pizza cuts, no matter the size of the pie. Twelve-cut? Sixteen-cut? Why not just puree the pizza and serve it in a mason jar?
Sorry, I get a little emotional. Anyhow, so that’s “Why eight?”
Fox and I will be sharing two slices at each stop: one plain with red sauce, and one fancier slice with any variety of toppings. We’ll be judging these pies on the New York Standard — thin crust, solid architecture, good foldability, moderate greasiness, and plentiful sauce and cheese. We use this standard because, well, it’s a simple fact: New York-style, by-the-slice pizza is objectively better than any other pizza in the world. Sorry, Chicago; I love your city, but where your pizza is concerned…you can Chica-go straight to hell.
Our first Pizza-lympics stop was at a little stand-up joint on the South Side called Pizza Sola. Originally known as Pizza Vesuvio, this storied spot is now the hub of a small local pizza chain.
A couple minutes after we ordered at the counter, Fox and I retrieved our oven-heated slices and grabbed a spot to eat. I stood and Fox took a stool at the window-bar, and then we got started with lunch.
So, how’d Pizza Sola do? In short, they scored damn high. The crust was thin and crispy, but didn’t snap when you folded it. The crust got a little thicker at the edges, like you might expect, but it didn’t go so far as to become ‘doughy’.
The oiliness was indeed moderate — you might want to dab at the surface a little with a napkin, but one will be all you need. The quantity of the cheese was excellent, though I could have used a little more of the red sauce underneath it. The white-sauce, while not my favorite kind of sauce in general, was of a good quantity and quality.
The overall architecture of both slices was great, with all the toppings holding well, and each slice managing to remain a slice throughout the consumption process (eg, no sloshing of the cheese onto your plate). Also, as you might have noticed from the pictures, Sola’s slices are huge. One is likely enough for lunch, though I wouldn’t begrudge your wanting a second slice on account of the deliciousness of the first. I know I certainly did, even as full as I felt.
On our Pizza-lympics 8-point grading scale, we give Pizza Sola a 7.2.
* Note on the post title: In case you’re somehow reading, Mr. Putin, when I wrote “Screw Sochi,” I meant no offense. What I truly meant was, with affection, “Look Sochi up on Grindr, take Sochi to a dark club corner, and have your way with Sochi in the absolute gayest manner imaginable.”