Tony's Pizza - Peckville

I'll Never Forget the First Time I "Got Sauced"!

I've heard from many Tony's Pizza fans in NEPA that if I'm looking for something different and I like a sweet sauce pizza, then I need to go to Tony's Pizza in Peckville.  I've followed Tony's Pizza on facebook for some time now, and have long appreciated their "Get Sauced" slogan which is simple yet suggestive and perfectly describes not only their pizza, but their entire business and history.  One fine Saturday, I decided to complete a feat that many in the valley would long to perform - visit two legendary Peckville pizzerias back-to-back in the same day: Andy's and Tony's!  It was quite a pizza journey filled with unique pizza, interesting dialogue, and rich history.

My road trip began at Tony's Pizza, which despite hearing about for a long time and me actually working as a pizza maker in a pizzeria directly across the street years ago, I have never tried the pizza at Tony's.  Entering the building felt like walking back in time as the small pizzeria was deliberately preserved to capture the throwback feel and adorned with historical photos from Tony's Pizza at Chapman Lake, Tony's Pizza Palace in Olyphant and other important moments in the history of the ownership's family and rich restaurant lineage.  I immediately was greeted by Neil, who was very generous in sharing just a few of the treasure trove of stories in each photograph.  His face lit up as he bounced from photo to photo reliving tales of moments captured and preserved in time.  

From the moment I walked in, I just understood the place.  I got it.  There were no flat screen TV's, fancy booths, or crazy menu items - just a tube TV, an antique dinner table, a simple menu featuring pizza and a couple sandwiches, and a whole lot of charm and character.  The spirit of Tony's is very real and I could sense it right away.  Neil helped to curate the history which heightened the experience and to see the engagement between owners and customers the old-fashioned way was really refreshing.  In a time when people are texting others on their phones while they pay for their pizza, Neil and his father who I also met square up customers, look them in the eye and find out how their day is really going.  So before I go into the pizza review, let me just say that regardless of what I, or anyone else thinks of "Getting Sauced," this is an amazing small business that is ingrained in the community that I think everyone should check out the place!

So on to the pizza.  I got to watch Neil put my pizza together.  The pizza starts with a fresh shell which is baked ahead of time.  The shell then "get's sauced" with it's first traditional layer of sauce, and just like many other pizzas, the cheese blend is applied and placed in the oven.  After the pizza is fully cooked, it is pulled out of the oven and gets sauced again by way of the signature sauce squiggle that is easy to identify.  I could smell the aroma of the sauce
while Neil was drizzling it on top.  I didn't think to ask, but I assumed that based on the length of time in the oven and the thoroughness in cooking when it came out that these pies are cooked at a lower temperature than most pizzas.

Now, before I go on, know that as I have said many times, that I am not a fan of sugary sweet sauce on a pizza, but I know a good sauce when I taste one even if it's sweet.  More important to the my sauce preferences is some more history!  Tony and Marion DiBlasi were Neil's grandparents who started the business.  Tony passed in 2004 and Marion passed 2011.  Tony and Marion's daughter Arlene continues to be active in the business along with making the original sauce daily that grandma developed 71 years ago.

As the pizza sat before me, I was hypnotized by the saucy swirl as well as the intoxicating aroma of the sauce and dug right in.  My immediate reaction was, wow this is sweet, but after my taste buds got their bearings I noticed the sauce was so much more than that.  There was such complexity to this sauce including some savory flavoring from the onions as well as a hint of heat in there perhaps from a dash of cayenne or some other pepper.  These contrasting flavors created something so much more than a sweet sauce!  In fact, by the time I was finished, I wasn't so sure I would even describe the sauce as strictly sweet and I didn't know what category I'd put it in.  All I know is that it was delicious and I understood why people love it.

The crust was something of a round old forge crust.  It a bit thicker and was very light and crisp.  It was tender, easy to eat and did its job of not standing in the way of the sauce that really told the story of the pizza.  I didn't focus too heavily on what the cheese blend was because I was so intimately involved with the sauce, but like the crust, it did all it needed to do to compliment the sauce and let it shine.  I'll add that the sauce drizzle on top creates a totally different flavor profile for each bite. Even though it's the same sauce under and on top of the cheese, you get a totally different experience from each because of the way it's cooked and interacts with the other ingredients.

Obviously, this was a successful review that I will not soon forget, but I didn't know that my experience was not over as Neil mentioned that this pizza, like a fine wine has been said to get better with age.  In other words, eating this pizza a few hours later or even the next day is an experience in itself.  I saved several slices for myself and the first lady, and we tried a couple that night before it was refrigerated (one reheated in the toaster oven, one not heated) and both slices were fantastic.  The next day the results were even better as the pizza seemed to gain even more flavor as the sauce marinated in no matter if it was eaten hot or cold.  

Overall, I enjoyed the heck out of this pizza particularly in light of my disdain for sweet sauce.  If you like a sweeter sauce, you need to get to Tony's Pizza because there really isn't anything like it in the area, and certainly not many sweet sauces in this immediate area unless you go to Dunmore or Luzerne County.  I urge you to stop in, tell them I sent you, put down the cell phone, and strike up a conversation.  It will be a walk down memory lane and likely an experience you won't soon forget!  Also, like me, you too can say that you "GOT SAUCED!"  Have you been to Tony's?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!  I'd love to read them and talk pizza with you!

Restaurant: Tony's Pizza
Location: Peckville, PA
Date: January 2019
Pizza Ordered: Large Round
Price: $10.99
Eat In/Take Out: Eat-In

Crust: 3/5
Sauce: 5/5
Cheese: 3.5/5
Overall Taste: 4.25/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 4/5
Overall Value: 4/5
Similar to: ???


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