Thus far we’ve seen a handful of contenders in this 2014 Pittsburgh Pizza-lympics, but now we’ve got a double-feature: a neighborhood showdown between two venerated Pittsburgh ‘za institutions.
The neighborhood? Squirrel Hill. The institutions? Why, Mineo’s Pizza House and Aiello’s Pizza. We ordered a pair of slices from each place, back-to-back, and judged them using our standard eight-scale based on architectural soundness, foldability, greasiness, thinness of crust, and cheese-and-sauce generosity. Who shall reign?! Let’s find out!
We did our usual order of one plain, and one with a substantial mass of toppings. We’ll begin with the plain. It had a flavorful sauce that was generously applied — in fact, a little too generously, as it did outgun the cheese a bit. To boot, the slices were a little on the small side. The crust was just the perfect thickness, though. However…
…as we discovered with our topping-ed slice, it was too crispy to hold any weight. That slice is called “The European.” It has sausage, pepperoni, black olive, and banana pepper. And when we tried to fold it, the sucker ripped at the point of pressure and all those toppings spilled out the sides. It was still pretty tasty, but any pizza that requires its contents to be scooped with a fork must be docked a point or two.
Unfortunately, we could go no higher than a 6.1 out of 8. While the atmosphere was great, the slices were just too unbalanced flavorwise, and hard to properly fold due to the crispness of the crust. They simply left us wanting.
Granted, these slices were a little on the small side to my liking (the ideal slice should be enough to account for one’s entire lunch), but that was their only flaw. The crust’s thickness and foldability was perfect, as was the cheese-to-sauce ratio. And the cheese had a terrific creaminess to it. The slice ably supported a hefty helping of mushrooms as well. (Yes, this is only one topping compared to the four we had at Aiello’s…but look at those mushrooms. They had a serious mass and density that brought the slice into the same weight class as that of our European at the previous stop.)
Clearly Mineo’s is the victor in this intra-neighborhood showdown. But will it be enough to win the gold? We’ll know by year’s end.
Round six will be coming in November — be sure to check back!