Augustine's Club 17 - Old Forge

Augustine's Club 17 came upon my radar after announcing the 64 contestants in my NEPA Pizza Madness tournament.  People were outraged that I had created an entire Old Forge Region of the bracket and excluded Augustine's from the tournament, especially when I inadvertently included two shuttered pizzerias in the bracket.  My email inbox was stuffed with complaints, and I felt awful about this and issued a public apology, but I felt especially terrible about excluding an Old Forge Pizzeria in Old Forge from this region.  So instead of going into hiding and feeling sorry about myself, I decided to man up and head to Augustine's to see why people were so upset that I left them out!  When I arrived at the building, I immediately recognized it as it's hard to miss with it's signature bright yellow stucco walls.

I made my way inside to find that the interior was just as unique and colorful as the exterior.  With its full service bar and dining room highlighted in vibrant red and white, and adorned with historic photos, it is a festive, welcoming, and cultural experience to behold upon entering.  The place is a bit dated, but in such a way that it preserves the rich history and heritage.  All of this created a unique and fun dining environment that I enjoyed.  After my undercover review, I asked to speak with the owner, Maria who is a very engaging, proud, hard-working, and savvy business woman by my account.  She shared with me the rich history of Club 17, which dates back to the 1950's when her parents founded it.  I was totally immersed in the story, and was taking mental notes as to what I could write about the history, but I found that Patrice Wilding wrote a wonderful article covering just that in The Scranton Times, so please click the link to check that out for the full details.  There's no way I could do such a fabulous story as much justice.

Back to the pizza - I will note that I ordered 6 cuts of Old Forge Red, and 6 cuts of Hot Wing Pizza.  The red was quite good with a freshly prepared crust that was light, crisp and flavorful.  It had a consistent bubble pattern with some slight variations that provided a satisfying texture.  The sauce was smooth with some heartiness to it and I would say it was not too sweet, not too salty, and pleasing to most pallets.  For you onion haters out there, I did not notice any onions or onion flavors, but I did detect a hint of a smokey flavor perhaps coming from the cheese.  I was sure that this was a smoked Gouda or cheddar cheese, but I asked Maria and she politely let me know that this was not the case.  This just goes to show you why I never like to guess the cheese on a pizza!  Overall I have to say this was a pretty good Old Forge tray.  The hot wing pizza was pretty decent as well, with a unique twist of placing an entire celery stick on top of the slice and a dollop of bleu cheese to garnish.  This was a bit on the spicy side, but not unbearable for those who like to eat hot wing pizza, but don't like it spicy - oxymoron right?!  That's the NEPA Nation for you!

The crown jewel of this trip came when Maria insisted I try the double crust white pizza, which is simple in theory, but the execution and flavor were tremendous!  I'm really not a white pizza lover, but I thought I'd get out of my comfort zone and give this a try.  The pizza starts with two very thin, round, premade crusts that are around 12" or so.  One crust on the bottom covered with a blend of cheeses (which I won't guess at) and seasonings, one crust covering the cheese, and a blend of chopped onions, garlic, and seasonings to top it all off.  The problem with most double crust whites is that they are frequently difficult to cut without the cheese squirting out and bleeding through and even more difficult to eat when it's really hot.  The other problem I have with double crust white pizza is that it's usually way too thick, I end up full after one slice, I have to drink a gallon of water afterward, and my body shuts down for days!  This pizza addressed all of my concerns by keeping it thin, small, crispy, and flavorful.  I truly could have eaten the whole pie myself.  So the moral of the story is, when heading to Augustine's you will want to try the white pizza because it's NEPA Pizza Review Approved!  Also, if you can't get to Old Forge, but want to try Augustine's Old Forge Pizza, look for it in your local grocery store!

A shout out to Maria for taking the time to talk to me when she was clearly way to busy for pizza dork to barge in and request her presence in the dining room.  You didn't have to, and I'm very grateful for all the insight and history and look forward to talking again!

Restaurant: Augustine's Club 17
Location: Old Forge, PA
Date: March 2014

Pizza Ordered: 6 Cut Old Forge Pizza
Price: $6.50
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In

Crust: 4/5
Sauce: 3.75/5
Cheese: 3/5
Overall Taste: 3.25/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 4/5
Overall Value: 3.5/5


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