Youngstown’s pizza roots stretch back to the turn of the last century, when Italian immigrants began to arrive in the city and settle mostly in the Brier Hill neighborhood. In fact, Brier Hill even lends its name to Youngstown’s own unique pizza – a pie with red sauce, green peppers, and romano cheese!
Since then, great pizza has become inscribed into the culinary consciousness of Youngstown, Ohio and America. When locals who have moved away are asked what they miss about Youngstown, the typical first response is, “the pizza!” Why such a response, you ask? Because, the Youngstown area is fortunate to have some of the finest pizza places in the country!
The Best Pizza and Pizzerias You Can Find!
Here’s a sampling of some of the most well-known pies! (And the list goes far beyond the area’s great Italian restaurants.)
The Elmton opened in Struthers in 1945, and has been a neighborhood staple ever since. Their pizza has a mild cheese that goes right to the edge, giving the crust an extra crispy bite. They’re old-school, which means that unless it’s a white pizza, green peppers will always be on your pie!
Southgate Pizza is a no-nonsense takeout-only pizza shop that opened in Boardman in 1974. You’ll find a sweeter sauce at Southgate Pizza, as well as a generous handful of extra cheese on your pizza after it comes out of the oven. It has a medium thickness, and the crust has a wonderfully chewy texture inside a crispy exterior.
Originally opened in Austintown in 1969 by “Patsy” Acconcia and Fernando Riccioni, Wedgewood Fernando’s Pizza now has locations in Boardman and Howland, as well as the original Austintown store. Wedgewood boasts a less sweet, more tangy sauce on its pizzas, and also offers what many believe to be the best Brier Hill-style pizza in Youngstown.
Bruno Brothers Pizza
Originally opened in the Southern Park Mall in the mid-1990s, Bruno Brothers Pizza now has locations in Boardman, Struthers, and Austintown. They offer a thin, New York style and a deep dish pan pizza. Both styles feature their rich, heavily herbed sauce.
Inner Circle Pizza
Inner Circle Pizza first opened in 1972, and now has two locations in Canfield and Poland. The pizzas, which have a crispy crust and tomato-forward sauce, are just one part of a menu filled with local favorites.
Westgate Pizza first opened in Austintown in 1970, eventually adding another location in Boardman in the 1990s. They only serve up sheet pizzas, numbering 12 or 24 slices. Perfect for a party, or just a couple of hungry pizza fans!
The Avalon started as The Avalon Gardens on the North Side of Youngstown in the 1920s. It reopened in 2012 right in downtown Youngstown, and is popularly known as “Avalon Downtown.” Popular with university students and business people alike, Avalon has a pan-style pizza with a slightly sweet sauce.
Cornersburg Pizza has three locations: the original store in the Cornersburg neighborhood, as well as locations in Boardman and Poland. It’s another classic place where you’ll find green peppers on the pizza, no matter what. Regulars also rave about the italian sausage topping!
The original Cocca’s Pizza opened in Boardman in 1982, and since then, it has expanded to eight locations throughout the Youngstown area. The pies at Cocca’s are thick but pillowy soft, with a generous covering of cheese.
Lena Bell started Belleria pizza-only shop on Albert Street in Youngstown in 1953. Their pizza quickly became a hit, and Belleria now has over a dozen locations in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, and two in Columbus. The pizza, a medium-thickness pie with plenty of sauce, is still Lena Bell’s original recipe.
Ianazone’s Pizza has five locations across the Mahoning Valley. They not only have a classic pizza but also have an extremely wide range of specialty pizzas, too.
La Rocca’s Pizza and Pasta
Anna Ficorilli and Iola Mordocco opened La Rocca’s Pizza and Pasta in 1991. It’s become a favorite in Poland not only for its pizza, but also its extensive offering of authentic Italian dishes.
In 1980, Joe Seminara opened a pizza shop in New Castle, Pennsylvania. 40 years later, Pizza Joe’s has 47 stores across Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Their menu includes subs and pepperoni rolls in addition to numerous specialty pizzas. Die-hard Pizza Joe fans would suggest the veggie pizza!
So Much Youngstown, Ohio Pizza, So Little Time!
Pizza is many things to many people. Toppings, thickness, and sauce are all a matter of fierce, passionate debate. Some like pepperoni; others prefer pineapple. But, no matter which way you slice it, Youngstown, Ohio offers some of the best options in the nation.
Your best friend may have a different point of view on your favorite pizzeria, citing THEIR favorite pizza as the best…but that’s just a great excuse to try all the pizza you can! Remember, these are just some of the MANY pizza establishments in the Youngstown area. Take some time to taste them all!