Pizza Heaven - Luzerne

Pan Fried Sicilian Pizza So Light, You'll Feel Like You're in Heaven

I first became aware of Pizza Heaven a couple of years ago, when a reader emailed me to let me know about the place, and several more people suggested that I try the place out after the initial suggestion.  Pizza Heaven really jumped on my radar when they joined the field of 64 in the 2016 NEPA Pizza Madness tournament and won the whole tournament!  I will be writing a separate feature to tell you more about PH's victory and background, so in this article I want to give you an honest review about the pizza itself.

As I drove into Luzerne and approached Pizza Heaven, I noticed they were proudly displaying a custom banner on the side of the building thanking their customers for helping them win the NEPA Pizza Madness Championship.  I also noted a neat sign on the sidewalk which read "We don't have wifi, we talk to each other."  I thought, what a cool statement to make.  I also thought, this place must be a little different from the rest, and when I walked in I felt the difference.  The place was filled with smiling, chatting people, who were visiting other tables, catching up with friends, hugging, shaking hands, and they all offered a welcoming glance to a nerdy guy walking in with a giant 2' x 3' sign and taking in all the unfamiliar, yet comfortable surroundings.  The whole atmosphere sort of reminded me of the old Olive Garden commercials with the "when you're here, you're family" slogan, and it was pretty cool!

I placed my order for a whole pizza, half with onions, half without so I could try a little (errr...a lot) of each.  I knew the type of pizza was the pan fried sicilian that is famous in this area, so I didn't plan on having many slices because this type of pizza is usually so dense that it fills you up rapidly.  I was greeted by the friendly waitress, which seems like an unfair classification, because this girl was working the whole house and clearly not only knew what she was doing, but new every customer and could truly work the room like no other.  She took my order and got me situated.  A couple people came up to me and asked if I was the pizza guy, and I sheepishly told them I was.  I think the big poster and my live-tweeting my visit might have been a giveaway!

My pizza came out in a jiffy, and it looked gorgeous with steam rising from the vibrant and contrasting brown, red, and white color pallet.  I eagerly took some photos of the pizza for documentation to present to the NEPA Nation before digging in.  I took my first bite and burned the roof of my mouth, but didn't care one bit because the slice was so good.  I was surprised because for a pizza cooked in peanut oil, this was impossibly light and fluffy.  The crust was crispy and flavorful, cooked to a golden brown with a gorgeous dark brown handle around all parts that it made contact with the pizza pan.  I later spoke with the owner who developed the recipe to use less peanut oil and achieve a lighter crust than many of the pan fried sicilian pizzas in the region.  He also noted that peanut oil is used because it can reach a higher temperature for a longer period of time and does not burn or break down like many of the vegetable and other cooking oils available.  Moving on to the sauce, it was vibrant, simple yet flavorful and had a slightly chunky consistency and good body.  I preferred the half of the pizza with the onions which added additional zestiness and chunkiness to the equation, but that is my personal preference and the half without was excellent as well.  The cheese was perfectly melted and picturesque on top and it really contrasted and balanced out the whole pizza very well.


Overall, I have to say I really enjoyed this pizza and I found it a unique pizza within the "Pan Fried Sicilian" category because it was so light and was not greasy.  I was also able to eat roughly double the amount of slices because it wasn't soaked in oil.  I truly enjoyed the friendly, family-owned, small business atmosphere that sort of reminded me of the pizzeria version of the show "Cheers."  After meeting the owners and staff who are all truly special people, I can provide you my stamp of approval and recommendation to give Pizza Heaven a try in the very near future!  Don't forget to tell them that the NEPA Pizza Review sent you!  


Check back soon for the rest of the story of how Pizza Heaven won NEPA Pizza Madness 2016!

Restaurant: Pizza Heaven
Location: Luzerne, PA
Date: June 2016
Pizza Ordered: Full Tray
Price: $1.25 Per Cut
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In


Crust: 5/5
Sauce: 4/5
Cheese: 4/5
Overall Taste: 5/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 5/5
Overall Value: 4/5
OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5

Similar to: Shandra's, Pizza L'Oven, Pizza Perfect

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