Grotto Pizza - Wilkes-Barre, PA

Restaurant: Grotto Pizza
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Date: February 2013
Pizza Ordered: Personal Cracker Crust Pizza

Price: $5.99
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In
 
Ask most residents of Wilkes-Barre for a pizza recommendation and they will tell you "Gotta go to Grotto."  I've been to Grotto several times in my day, a few times at the Wilkes-Barre location and once or twice when I was at the beach years ago.  I know people who will put their vacation on hold on the way to Ocean City Maryland just to stop in Delaware to grab a Grotto Pizza.  I also know people who make it a priority to go to Grotto whenever they visit NEPA, so that tells you what kind of following this place has.  Specifically, this location which is next to the Wyoming Valley Mall is a massive sports bar that is wildly popular.  I arrived early on a Sunday morning and the place was already filling up.

Since I had plans to eat multiple pizzas on this Sunday, I sat down and decided to order light with a personal 8 inch pizza.  The service was excellent, and the pizza was ready within 10 minutes.  When the waitress brought the pizza to my table, I was happy to see it was cooked properly with a deep golden brown crust that included some light charring around the edges.  Now, we don't want to confuse charring with burning!  Charring occurs just a few moments right before the pizza starts to burn, and this charring adds both flavor intensity and flavor variety to the equation, which I love.  I don't think I have to define burning for you, we have all experienced that and it's not pretty!  I noticed that the pizza is cooked on a screen, and usually when a pie is cooked on a screen it typically isn't all that crispy in my experience, but this pie was as crispy as a cracker throughout, which was surprising and wonderful.  If you have never had a cracker crust, it's a very thin, crispy, and dry crust, that is pretty flavorful, and you guessed it - has the consistency of a cracker!

The sauce, which as you can see is both on top of and underneath the cheese is something thst most people will generally love.  Grotto's trademark sauce swirl is fairly sweet, but not overly sugary.  The sauce is pretty well balanced and its consistency is not pasty, but its closer to a tomato paste than it is crushed tomatoes.  Its also very smooth, so those of you who dont like chunky sauce, this pie is for you.  I'm not into sweet, pasty, and smooth sauces, but I understood and appreciated this varietal.  The type of cheese was difficult to decypher because its surrounded by sauce, but my guess is white cheddar.  The texture falls a little flat, but the pieces of cheese suspended in the sauce gave the pizza some body and separation which is an improvement.  Suddenly the sauce on top made sense to me. 
 

Overall, I can't say that I fall into the category of people that go out of their way to stop for a Grotto Pizza, but for those who grew up with this type of pie, I can see why they enjoy it.  It is certainly a unique pizza that you wouldn't find in many other areas, and I'm glad I tried it.  If I go back to Grotto, it won't be for the pizza, it will be for the really cool sports bar and some of their other great food offerings!  But I would recommend you try this pizza for yourself because it is very popular and something that everyone should try at least once.

Grotto Pizza Restaurant on UrbanspoonCrust: 4.5/5
Sauce: 3/5
Cheese: 3/5
Overall Taste: 3.75/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 5/5
Overall Value: 3/5

OVERALL RATING: 3.75/5


Similar to: Sabatini's, Tommy's Pizza Corner

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