Crescenzo's Brick Oven Eatery - Wilkes-Barre

Finding Unexpectedly Great Pizza in The Woods

A delicious looking pizza at Crescenzo's Brick Oven Eatery in the Woodlands

On a wonderful sunny Saturday early afternoon where the First Lady of NEPA Pizza and I had our first few hours alone since the arrival of the Pizza Prince, we decided we wanted to have a nice lunch on an outdoor patio in the Wilkes-Barre area.  Without thinking, we just started heading South to one of the more well known patios, only to find they didn't open until 4:00.  Bummed, I consulted the list of Best Outdoor Decks and Patios in NEPA to find a few more in the area.  Shockingly, many didn't open until later in the afternoon either.  Bewildered, I recalled from a few visits to The Woodlands over the years that they had a nice deck by the stream so I called to find out that they open at 6:00 am and we were in business!  We headed over not knowing what kind of food we were even going for (Japanese? American?, etc.)

A view of the stream from the upper deck of the Streamside in Crescenzo's Brick Oven Eatery.
Upon arrival, we were told that the large Streamside Deck that I was familiar with was also closed, but they had a smaller, more relaxed and intimate deck above in the area known as Crescenzo's Brick Oven Eatery.  At first we were bummed, but once we saw the great table overlooking the stream, we were thrilled!  A glass of water and a few rays on this deck would have made this a successful visit so our expectations were not high.  The friendly waitress brought us our menus and drinks.  As I looked over the menu and peered through the window at the brick ovens, I discovered that they had pizza which I didn't plan on ordering because I didn't want to our day date into a pizza review.  Honestly, I've also had some version of the pizza in the last 15 years at the Woods (late night) and don't remember it being noteworthy.  But the First Lady said she'd have a slice if I ordered a pizza, and it seemed to be a good way to add another pin into the Pizza Map of NEPA, so I ordered a Margherita Pizza for us.  I also ordered a chicken Parmesan sandwich and the wife went with a strawberry salad.  Both offered healthy portion sizes and we were quite happy with each item and had some to take home.
The Margherita Pizza at Crescenzo's Brick Oven Pizza inside the Woodlands
The pizza came out looking way better than I expected and I glanced at my wife with a surprised look and grabbed my phone to get a photo and send it out on Facebook and Instagram.  A couple minutes after posting the photos, my buddy David Conti, a pizza champion and member of the U.S. Pizza Team messaged me to let me know there was a very talented young lady who made pizzas there.  I looked through the window and saw a young lady making pizzas, looked back down at the beautiful pizza on our table and knew that David was correct!  We made it a point to go in and meet Madeline afterward and she was wonderful, and knows how to make a ridiculously good pizza!


Speaking of the pizza, a few specifics.  The dough was dusted in cornmeal for a texture somewhat unique to the area and was unbelievably light, thin and tender.  The sauce was vibrant and fresh made of slightly chunky imported Italian tomatoes.  The cheese was mozzarella dusted with Pecorino Romano cheese as soon as it came out of the oven.  There was also a light dusting of basil on top to give it some really nice punchy flavor that only basil can provide.  As I took my first bite, I couldn't believe how good the pizza was.  The First Lady agreed, we were in the presence of a great pizza!  It was flavorful, balanced, well executed, light and easy to eat.  Props to Madeline for putting this lovely pie together!

A closeup of the light pizza crust dusted in cornmeal at Crescenzo's Brick Oven Eatery.
Overall, we both left "The Woods" totally satisfied and enthusiastic about the experience.  Most of my interactions over the years at the Woods have been mostly at weddings, in the club area, or in the hibachi restaurant and none of those visits ever indicated to me that I might find good pizza there.  Needless to say, we were thrilled that we ended up there and had the opportunity to try this awesome pizza and meet a talented pizza maker as well as our new buddy Gene and his wife who recognized us doing the review while we were out.  We had a blast talking pizza with them and won't soon forget this random and unexpected pizza encounter!

The Ratings

Restaurant: Crescenzo's Brick Oven Eatery (The Woodlands)
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Date: August 2019
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In
Pizza Ordered: Margherita Pizza
Price: $9.95

Crust: 4.75/5
Sauce: 4.25/5
Cheese: 4.5/5
Overall Taste: 4.25/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 5/5
Overall Value: 4.25/5
OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5

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