Magda's Pizza and Deli - Wilkes-Barre

Magda's Small Pizzeria Packs BIG Flavor

Magda's Pizza and Deli in Wilkes-Barre first came across my radar when they joined and competed in the NEPA Pizza Madness tournament.  I learned that they were a small pizzeria that served pan fried Sicilian and round pizzas.  Those who have followed my blog for a while know that I am a NY Style pizza at heart, but I am both fascinated and obsessed with this style of rectangular pizza cooked in generous amounts of oil in the pan, covered with a simple, usually chunky tomato sauce, a default of onions under the cheese, and a neutral cheese blend containing cheeses like mild cheddar and mozzarella.  

Before I get into the review, I have to clarify a point that comes up EVERY TIME I review a pan fried Sicilian pizza.  That point is that pan fried Sicilian IS NOT Old Forge Pizza.  Yes, both pizzas are rectangular and have a crust, sauce, and cheese, but the similarities really end there.  The dough ingredients and preparation processes are different, yielding 2 drastically different crusts.  There may be oil, lard, or shortening in an old forge pan, but a pan fried Sicilian is cooked in copious amounts of oil to give the bottom and edges a deep fried appearance and texture.  The sauces are different, with old forge sauce frequently precooked with onions simmered in the sauce and the pan fried Sicilian having a much simpler flavor profile and the onions added raw on top of the sauce as the pizza is being made.  Finally, the cheese blends are quite different with Old Forge pizzas favoring more processed cheeses like American, brick, sharp cheddar, and cooper while a pan fried Sicilian uses more mild cheeses as mentioned above.  As you can see, these pizzas are very different despite the inevitable comments which will call Magda's Pizza "old forge pizza" which it is not!

With that out of the way, Magda's is a tiny little pizza shop in a residential area of Wilkes-Barre.  I entered before the dinner rush on a Friday and noticed there were 2 tables available to dine-in at and room to place your order at the counter.  Behind the counter was a very busy staff preparing pizza and other food items and delivery drivers scurrying in and out to get orders out to eager and hungry customers like myself.  I took a look at the menu and decided to go with a 6 cut pan fried Sicilian for $8.75, which is a half tray.  I took a seat while I waited and the owner, Dave, was generous enough with his time to come out and introduce himself and tell me a little about the place and the community.

I didn't learn what the secret recipe was, or what oils were used in the pan (despite my asking), but I did learn a little bit more about the extensive process used in making the fresh dough Sicilian crusts.  There is a lot involved in allowing the dough to raise multiple times, pressing it down, treating it like a sleeping baby, and baking.  I make a version of thin pan fried Sicilian at home, but I don't follow such a complex regimen which is likely why my pizza isn't as delicious as Dave's (oops, spoiler alert)!

The pizza was ready in less than 20 minutes, which is pretty fast for a thicker pizza prepared on a busy Friday afternoon.  I had planned on eating this pizza in the pizza mobile, but the lighting for photos was good and my stomach was telling me it was time to dine in so I set up shop at one of the two tables and started crushing pizza.  The crust was pretty crisp and had among the best flavor profiles I've had in a pan fried Siclian.  I could not even begin to guess what the oil blend was, but I think I caught some peanut oil as is customary in this style of pizza.  The sauce was a little sweet, not bitter at all, and generally just provided enough flavor to balance out the pizza while staying out of the way of the flavorful crust.  The onions were diced small-medium-ish (not minced, but not large chunks either) exactly how I like them.  They provided tremendous flavor and aroma without being overpowering.  The cheese blend fascinated me because it appeared to be shredded thinner and longer than most pizza cheeses are shred and it was cooked so perfectly that the cheese was gooey and runny, but also maintained the appearance of the individual strands.  

Overall, this pizza was just downright flavorful and delicious.  It was not super greasy and was very satisfying.  It was so good that I didn't trust myself leaving the leftovers with me in the front seat for the ride home so placed it in the "way back" of the pizza mobile.  The aroma of the onions filled up the vehicle and made me want to pull over and grab another slice, but my willpower and resolve thankfully won out and I didn't break the calorie or carb bank for the day!  I'm so glad I found Magda's Pizza and if you haven't yet tried it I recommend the NEPA Nation head on over and grab a tray.  If you have tried the pizza, please leave your thoughts in the comments.


Restaurant: Magda's Pizza and Deli
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Date: May 2019
Pizza Ordered: 6 cuts (Half Tray)
Price: $8.75
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In

Crust: 4.5/5
Sauce: 4/5
Cheese: 5/5
Overall Taste: 5/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 4.25/5
Overall Value: 4/5
OVERALL RATING: 4.25/5

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