heaven in a cardboard box.

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As I mentioned before, Mrs. Crappy and I both have been suffering from The Plague this week. Fortunately, the affliction that has clogged our heads and chests has not done much to hinder our appetites ­– and that has led us to the discovery of a Pittsburgh institution we had managed to miss for years.

As we ate our chicken noodle soup for lunch on Monday, Mrs. Crappy mentioned that what she really wanted for dinner — instead of leftovers or more soup — was pizza. That sounded good to me, as it always does, but we didn’t continue the discussion.

And then there was no point in having a discussion.

Later that afternoon, while she was upstairs asleep, I stumbled upon a food episode of WQED’s Dave and Dave’s Excellent Adventures. The one where they visit the original Mineo’s Pizza House, in Squirrel Hill. By the time I had listened to Dominic Mineo talk at some length of the fresh dough and homemade sauce — and got look at the finished product — I knew what we were having for dinner. I ordered a large with our favorite combination of toppings, pepperoni and onions, and immediately got in the car to go pick it up.

Side note: When I lived in Butler, I avoided the Parkway East at all costs. Now that I live in town, I’m finding that it can indeed be your friend, especially when you need to get from Brighton Heights to Murray Avenue in 15 minutes.

I was struck by two things upon walking into the shop: 1) Sweet jesus, it smelled fantastic in there, and 2) a large Mineo’s pizza is freaking heavy.

I didn’t peek until I got it home and thudded that box down on our coffee table. Beautiful: a thick layer of dripping white cheese, revealing pepperoni, onions and a layer of sauce underneath, all ringed by a substantial crust. And yeah, it was as good as it looked.

At some point last year, my friend LadyD took exception to my preference for Donatos, and said the reason she moved from Cleveland back to Pittsburgh was have regular access to Mineo’s.

D? I’m always going to be a thin-crust guy at heart, but it’s safe to say we’ve found our favorite Pittsburgh pizza. Thanks for the recommendation.

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7 thoughts on “heaven in a cardboard box.”

  1. Well, I must admit I’m a Donatos fan too, now that we get it when we visit my inlaws in Columbus. But Mineos will always be the best in
    My book, no matter where I live or travel.

    Next time you’re sick venture across Murray Ave. to Kazanskys. The make the best chicken matzo ball soup. Plus you can get GLBC spacks to go.

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  2. You’re a Donatos convert? Hah!

    Funny thing about Kazanskys. We’ve already eaten there, and I agree the chicken soup is spectacular. In fact, that’s what I was thinking about getting for dinner on Monday until I saw the thing about Mineo’s on TV.

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  3. One of the things I miss most about Pittsburgh is all of the local pizza shops. Living outside of Houston, Texas they are very few and far between. In fact, I had pizza hut tonight. You don’t even have to say it. I already know. Every six months or so, I order it. I guess to remind myself how much I hate it. BLEH!

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  4. If you’re not feeling well, and near Murray Ave, the best thing is hot & sour soup from Zaw’s. If I call and that’s all I order, Sonny inevitably asks, “Who is sick?” I think he pumps up the crushed red pepper. And it’s even hotter the next day. Just the thing for clogged sinuses.

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  5. OK, now I’m gonna help you out a little. The key to quality pizza in Pixburgh lies in a few variables, all of which Mineo’s has mastered. They damn near got the contract for Pizza at PNC Park, but that probably would have diluted the original product the same way it did the Primanti’s cheese steak. Ingredients are key and the majority must come from Penn Mac, with a supplement of the large (3″) italian sausage from Parma Sausage, oven baked and then slit and removed from the casing. Mineo’s and Fiore’s on West Liberty and Capitol are close and onions are an excellent way to bring out the flavor, when feeling cocky extra cheese really makes both brands heavy and delectable. Thin crust is best from Campiti’s on Potomac in Dormont, but a large may not be enough…no boxes here if getting takeout they are wrapped in paper, I usually dine in as they have cans of Cherokee Red. Minutello’s does okay on Penn & Shady and for a great square, but not sicilian or chicago, just square pie DeMino’s in Brookline can be seen off loading supplies from the wonderful Sunseri (Penn Mac) truck and sports some mean Hoagies as well (we don’t have subs here). Did you hit a nerve….absolutely. The absolute best Hoagie shop in the Burgh is on Liberty Ave in Bloomfield..Angelo’s and make sure you ax for mayo, it’s not really mayo but closer to a peppercorn garlic mayo. Right down the street Pizza I (Pizza Italia) has a decent pie that is slamming with those little thick peperonies…see ya

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