Maroni's Pizza House - West Scranton, PA
Location: West Scranton, PA
Date: August 2012
Pizzas Ordered: 6 Cut Red
Eat In/Take Out: Take Out
It has been about a week and a half since the NEPA Nation voted Maroni's Pizza in Scranton as the pizza they would like to be reviewed next, so I thought it would be wise to give the people what they want and get my butt to Saint Anne's Street in West Side! Driving to the place, I had a slight problem finding it because it's in the middle of a very residential area, and I was looking on the wrong side of the road, but 2 passes by Maroni's and I easily found it! OK, now that the logistical issues are out of the way, on to the review!
I called about 30 minutes prior to my arrival and was told 20 minutes on the phone, and this is pertinent because I was told by several people that if they tell you 30 minutes, they really mean 60. I was hoping that wasn't the case here because I was in a bit of a rush, but took my time entering for a chance to appreciate the scenery. Immediately upon entering, I ran into a mountain of pizza boxes which were ready to be filled with trays of Maroni's famous pizza and sent home to anxious customers. There must have been 1,000 boxes piled up, and judging by the stacks of pizzas that customers were carrying out, I don't doubt that they would have filled every one of those boxes on this Friday night. Beyond the mountain of boxes was a small army of diligently working pizza makers who were methodically making pizzas, baking them, cutting them, and shipping them off. It was a cool site to see, and would be an environment I would like to work in.
It was evident to me that the customers who were visiting today were one first timers like myself, because the people behind the counter greeted the customers by name with a friendly smile. The restaurant itself wasn't all that updated or nice, but there was something magical about the whole atmosphere. Perhaps it was the cheesy, peppery smell that lingered in the air which gave me visions of Guy Fiery doing a Food Network visit for Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. I'm not sure what it was, but at one point I was wishing I had a camera, a microphone, and a face for TV so I could do a pseudo-episode of my own! Unfortunately, I'm not all that lucky so after I received my pizza, which coincidentally WAS RIGHT ON TIME, I paid and eagerly retreated to try this pizza I've heard so much about.
As you can see in the picture, the pizza is not all that pleasant to look at, but as I'm told the true test in in the taste. After the first bite, there were a ton of really rich and intense flavors coming through - the most prevalent being the black pepper in the sauce. The pepper is the most unique thing about Maroni's, and I believe it's kind of a love/hate thing with people. Personally, I loved it. If you like a sweeter sauce or a more bland pizza, you may need to try somewhere else. The next most distinct flavor was the layer of Parmesan cheese under the cheddar and American blend. Where this added a lot of flavor and texture, I noticed it really soaked up the sauce and made the pizza seem a bit dry. Given, the flavor of the sauce was still present, and was very good, I could have used a little more sauce or a little less Parmesan.
The cheese was quite flavorful, but I didn't like how the Parmesan kind of pulled the top layer of cheese down into the sauce, making the whole pizza kind of one mass. I prefer when there are several distinct layers that you can savor and pick apart. When they cook down into one another it kind of takes away from the experience for me. Finally, I could really appreciate the crust, as it was clearly freshly made in-house. It had a nice firm, bread-like consistency throughout with a very slight crispiness on the bottom. It was cooked all the way through and wasn't doughy in the middle. The edge of the crust had a really nice flavor and crunch to it. Overall the pizza flavors came together nicely, although I would change the amounts of Parmesan and sauce to make my perfect Maroni's pizza. This pie is definitely something different, and is what I look for and enjoy reviewing. The peppery sauce is a real stand-out, and the establishment is clearly a community staple in West Scranton. Hopefully next time Guy Fieri is in the neighborhood, he will stop by Maroni's and do a segment on his next episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. What do you think? Please comment below on your most recent Maroni's experience.
Overall Taste: 3.5/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 3.5/5
Overall Value: 2/5
OVERALL RATING: 3.5/5
Similar To: Nina's Pizza in Dunmore
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Maroni's is known for their peppery sauce, and they delivered the goods in this pie. From what I've heard, it's very consistent but sometimes you have to wait a little longer for this fine pie. I look forward to trying a pie with extra sauce and light Parmesan in the future!