Ceccoli's Pizza - Wilkes-Barre

Unique Pan Fried Goodness at Ceccoli's Ceccoli's Pizza is a place that has been recommended to me many times over the years by the...

Unique Pan Fried Goodness at Ceccoli's

Ceccoli's Pizza is a place that has been recommended to me many times over the years by the creator of Keystone Pizza Critic and Binge House Pizza, JamesMakesPizza.  James O not only is an experienced pizza reviewer, but he's developed and mastered his own recipe on a pizza similar to pan fried Sicilian style pizza, so he's one of my most trusted voices when it comes to pizza recommendations and is well qualified to know what great pan pizza is.  You can even read his review of Ceccoli's (after you're done reading mine of course)!  Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high for a pizza recommendation received continually from a pizza expert!

I called in my order on a Friday before the busy rush and was assigned a pick-up time which was approximately 35 minutes from when I called.  This wasn't too bad at all because some of the pan fried Sicilian pizzas in the area can assign you pick-up times several hours after you order.  These places are popular and get super busy and the oven capacity can only crank out so many pizzas per hour so plan ahead if you want to order from Ceccoli's or similar establishments.  I know I had similar time frame experiences at Shandra's and Elio G's.  You order your pizza by the cut (not the slice), not by the tray so customize the order any way you like and multiply it by $1.35 per cut.  The other thing you might want to know in planning your trip to Ceccoli's is that it's cash only which fits it's throwback image.  After entering the restaurant, I immediately got a welcoming vibe from everyone there and quickly found out that this was a family affair where everybody was pitching in.  To me, it was the quintessential small business that you want to support!

As I walked to the pizza mobile to try the pizza with my array of cuts in hand, I noticed an incredibly pungent aroma driven by the onions in the sauce.  In reviewing the menu, the default ordering choice is with onions, so if you aren't an onion fan you have to specify for them to make it without.  I made my into the vehicle and opened the box to find a very saucy pizza with a vibrant red sauce just jumping out at me.  A few of the cuts seemed to have a little extra sauce drizzled over the cheese and I couldn't help myself but to run my finger through the sauce to taste it right away.  A typical pan fried Sicilian has a chunky and simple sauce, but this sauce was smooth, naturally sweet, and savory.  It was a little something different in a niche market of pizzas which generally are pretty similar.  Another characteristic that distinguished this pizza from others was that they didn't use as sharp of a cheese.  This was creamier and lighter than some other cheeses I've tried atop the fried pizzas.  

The crust itself was wonderfully cooked around the edge and had some delicious burned cheese forming a halo of tastiness around the handle.  The dough was tender and had nice flavor from the oil it was cooked in, and it was not all that greasy as shown by the relatively dry parchment paper under each slice.  Although the edge of the crust was perfectly done, I did find the underside of the pizza to be a bit undercooked and soggy.  It was a little difficult to pick up as you can see in the YouTube video above.  I assure you it did not affect the amazing flavor combination, but a crispy bottom would have put the icing on this cake.  On a busy night, this is forgiveable, especially considering how wonderful the pizza looked from the top.

I'm frequently amazed by how many of the Lackawanna County residents I talk to are not aware of places like Ceccoli's and even this style of pizza.  Old Forge gets all of the recognition for their signature style of pizza, but the pan fried Sicilian is made by just as many, if not more pizzerias in a small geographic area just south of the town of Old Forge.  Let's spread the word about this delicious genre of pizza and also get on down to Ceccoli's and give them a try!  A big thanks to James O. for staying after me to get down to this great NEPA pizzeria!

Ceccoli's is amazing the morning after when you use this technique to reheat!  Click the link to find out how!

aurant: Ceccoli's Pizza

Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Date: October 2018

Pizza Ordered: Cut of Pan Fried Sicilian
Price: $1.35
Eat In/Take Out: Take Out

Crust: 3.75/5
Sauce: 4.25/5
Cheese: 4.25/5
Overall Taste: 4/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 3/5
Overall Value: 4/5

Similar to: Pizza HeavenPizza L'OvenPizza Perfect, Teberio's


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