Buona Pizza - Scranton (Green Ridge)
Buona Pizza - Authentic Chicago PizzaOn the pizza trail, it's never difficult to find new pizzerias to review, but I do end up reviewing multiple places with the same name and usually the same owner. For me, that's not an issue, because every pizzeria is different, and I enjoy comparing the different locations. It was a little over a year ago that I reviewed Buona Pizza on Lackawanna Avenue. That review was a success, so I hoped for similar luck at Buona Pizza in Green Ridge (in the shopping plaza). Since I' like to give a little local flavor, just know that although the name is spelled bu-O-na pizza, many locals from SCRAN'IN refer to Buona as bu-A-na, pronounced just like "iguana." So while you're reading this review, see which way you pronounce it!
This Buona location is part of the strip-mall in Green Ridge, which is similar to it's downtown location. The configuration of the building sort of reminds me of a restaurant in a hallway, but this place is a little more comfortable than the downtown location, with a bar, display case, and padded booths. I thought the place could use a little TLC in some areas (ripped booths, broken table), but it was clean and sanitary so it wasn't a concern to me). I also got the feeling that there was a lot of space, but somehow I felt crowded if that makes sense. Our service was decent, but I'm really here to talk about the pizza!
I brought my wonderful girlfriend along for this review yet again, and since I already had the New York Style pizza at Buona downtown, I elected to order the Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza for us to try. Authentic Chicago pizza is difficult to come by in NEPA, and so far I've only had it at Uno Chicago Grill in Dickson City and by mail from Lou Malnati's. I'm hearing that Samario's also has a good Chicago pie, but I haven't tried that one yet. One thing that I get a lot of when I order a Chicago pizza in NEPA is essentially a round, thick-crust, Sicilian pizza - that's not authentic! To me, a Chicago style pizza must be baked in a oiled pan, layered first with cheese (before the sauce) to protect the crust from getting extra soggy. Why does it get extra soggy? Because you usually load it up with sauce and toppings and the juice runs down into the crust. So as we waited for the pizza to come out, I was not sure what to expect, but the longer we waited, the more encouraged I was because Chicago pizza does take longer to cook as it is so thick and dense.
After about 20 minutes, the pizza was ready, and I was impressed! What we got was a real, true Chicago style pizza! It was a cheesy, saucy, wonderful looking pan pizza right here in NEPA. I eagerly grabbed for my first slice and quickly found out that I was not going to pick this up and eat it. This pizza was to be eaten with a knife and fork! I carefully slid a slice onto my place and the cheese and sauce flowed outward. It was time to chow down. I took my first bite and was impressed with the amount of flavor and crispiness that the crust had. It was well formed, pretty thin, and cooked nicely. The protective layer of cheese was intact and I must say that the quality of the cheese was above average, although there's no real reason to get top of the line cheese for a pizza like this as it's essentially a heap of cheese and sauce - as it should be! The sauce was also very nice, and provided an excellent contrast to the cheese. This is important because with such a high quantity of each ingredient, it's easy for one to overpower the other and knock the pizza out of balance. Ever have a pizza where the cheese just gets monotonous to eat? This was NOT the case here. I thoroughly enjoyed the pizza, although it is not easy to eat a whole bunch of it even though I wanted to. The pie is not that large in diameter, but it's huge on content, so one pizza can easily feed 3 people.
Overall, I was thrilled to find a quality, authentic Chicago Style Pizza here in NEPA. I would highly recommend this pizza to everyone, especially if you like cheese, or if you're in the mood for a little grease. It's generally accepted in NEPA that Buona's New York Style Pizza is very good, so this pizza provides another option for the Buona faithful! Please share your thoughts on Buona in the comment section below!
Restaurant: Buona Pizza
Date: November 2013
Pizza Ordered: Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In
Overall Taste: 4.25/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 4.25/5
Overall Value: 3.5/5
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
Similar to: Uno Chicago Grill