Cafe Rinaldi - Old Forge

Fall Follies in the Pizza Capital of the World... I've spent a ton of time driving around Northeast Pennsylvania, including Old Forge...

Fall Follies in the Pizza Capital of the World...

I've spent a ton of time driving around Northeast Pennsylvania, including Old Forge, PA trying pizzas in the region.  One would think that along the way I would have tried every Old Forge Pizza in the Pizza Capital of the World, but for some reason I never got it done!  I checked my pizza map and noted that I had devoured trays of pizza from 7 of the current 9 pizzerias in town as well as 2 that are no longer in business.  So I made it a point to descend upon the pizza capital and try the remaining 2 pizzas - Cafe Rinaldi and Cusumano.  After taking the First Lady of NEPA Pizza for dinner and a pizza at Cusumano, we walked to our car in the parking lot, I buckled my seatbelt, and turned right out of the parking lot.  It was like a scene cut straight out of a low budget Dumb and Dumber movie - as soon as I turned right, the First Lady asked "Where are you going?"  To which I responded - "Cafe Rinaldi to grab a pizza to go!"  I quickly learned that Cusumano and Rinaldi are adjacent buildings and we actually walked farther to our car in the parking lot than we would have just walking next door to Rinaldi!  So I had a bit of a brain fart in pizza town!

After realizing I was a total idiot, and that only such an incident could occur in a tiny town with so many pizzerias, I put the car in reverse and parked curbside to take a look around.  The facade and signage were pretty modern and upscale and this looked like a neat place to eat.  I opened the door and saw that the place was absolutely mobbed with joyful people eating, drinking, and conversing to their hearts' delight.  It was a really neat atmosphere and good to see that they were very busy on a weeknight.  I walked into the bar side to pick up my order, so I didn't get a chance to check out all of the dining room, but everything looked clean, modern, and vibrant.  I was immediately helped by a friendly lady, and was on my way way with my 6 cut old forge red for $9.00.  As I exited, I made a note that I would have to bring the First Lady back to Cafe Rinaldi for dinner because some of the entrees I scouted out looked amazing and the smell was intoxicating.

The pizza was piping hot in my hands as I set it down on one of the very nice outdoor tables on the sidewalk/patio to take a look and snap a few photos.  My first impression was that this pizza had a ton of cheese on it and that is where most of the weight came from.  I couldn't help myself from filming an epic cheese stretch video for instagram!  When I realized I was standing on the side of the road with people staring at me taking photos of a pizza and my wife was waiting in the pizza mobile, I knew it was finally time to get in the car and try the pizza.

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My first bite netted a spongy and soft crust, a heavy layer of a tasty cheese blend, and some sauce which was pretty well seasoned.  A few more bites told me that the entire middle of the crust was also soft and quite chewy with the edges being crispy with perhaps a hint of oil splashed on the bottom for added flavor and crispiness.  Where the crust didn't blow me away, and in many cases this much cheese would sap away the rest of the flavors of the pizza, the zestiness of the sauce created enough punch to balance it out nicely.  I very much enjoyed the flavor contrasts and buttery profile of the cheese.  I wouldn't even venture to guess what the cheese blend was but I do know both I and the first lady enjoyed it.  I will also note that the pizza reheated quite well the next day and tasted good cold.

Overall, I was left wanting more of Cafe Rinaldi after my very quick stop.  The pizza was good to be an appetizer for the table or a tray for takeout, but I'm not sure I'd make the trip to have the pizza be the main event.  People on my social media accounts seem to prefer the white pizza here, which I haven't tried.  I want to go back for the atmosphere and a dinner though!  This place is hopping and I very much look forward to our next visit.  If you've tried the pizza at Cafe Rinaldi, please share your thoughts in the comment section!

Restaurant: Cafe Rinaldi
Location: Old Forge, PA
Date: October 2018

Pizza Ordered: 6 Cut Old Forge Red
Price: $9.00
Eat In/Take Out: Take Out

Crust: 2.75/5
Sauce: 3/5
Cheese: 3/5
Overall Taste: 3.5/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 4.25/5
Overall Value: 2/5
OVERALL RATING: 3/5

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