For many Ohioans, cheese pizza is a dish best served (partially) cold.
In a string of towns along the Ohio River, centered around Steubenville, local pizzerias dish out square pie covered in mounds of cold, grated mozzarella. Ohio Valley-style pizza comes out of the oven covered in only a slathering of unseasoned tomato sauce and a meager layer of melted cheese. It’s then piled with mounds of cold cheese. Each bite is both hot and cool.
Arguments over regional pizza can get heated. Chicago-style deep dish, for instance, induces disgust and vitriol from many non-Chicagoans. Comedian and native New Yorker Jon Stewart once dismissed Chicago’s deep dish as “casserole.” It’s not surprising, then, that haters refer to Ohio Valley’s unorthodox take as one of America’s worst regional pizza styles.
But people from Eastern Ohio and the northern panhandle of West Virginia feel differently. Locals may direct you to DiCarlo’s, a local chain that expanded from downtown Steubenville to neighboring states. At DiCarlo’s, even the pepperoni is cold, perched on a nest of unmelted, stringy cheese. To some, this might evoke Lunchables pizza. To others, it is the platonic ideal of pizza: the taste of home.
Need to Know
For prime examples of Ohio Valley-style pizza, visit local pizzerias around Steubenville, Ohio, especially DiCarlo's.
Where to Try It
The original location of DiCarlo's, a local chain specializing in pizza with cold cheese.