In my continuing discovery of the endearing city of Pittsburg, I have really taken a liking to a stretch of Murray Avenue in the Squirrel Hill area that is full of shops and great places to eat. On a recent trip, I paid a visit to Aiello’s Pizza. A well-liked local pizza joint (vintage 1978), it is oddly just a few doors down from Mineo’s Pizza House where I munched on my last visit.
Being vehicle-less, Mrs. Pie and I Uber-ed over to Aiello’s on a late Saturday afternoon. For those with cars however, I will point out that there is plenty of free parking in the area. We found the place in the middle of a long city block noticing that the storefront was undergoing some renovation.
Undeterred by the under-construction look of the outdoor façade, inside were a decent collection of pie-eaters. Mrs. Pie went to grab a booth among the ample seating, and I ordered a pair of cheese slices ($1.80 each). Even though she was only gonna have a bite out of mine, I order the two since I had observed that they looked rather small. Sized like Mineo’s, this may be a Pittsburg thing.
As a matter of record, there’s nothing more the Snob loves than a local pizza joint that hangs on to an original unique pizza recipe. However, although this is true for Aiello’s, and their slice is better than most of the chains slinging crap pizza, unfortunately, theirs wasn’t a slice that I can really rave about.
While in the same general genre of the New York slice, this one seems to be cut from a slightly different mold. The first thing you notice about their smaller-cut slices is that they are much oiler and cheesy than usual. The crust, while for the most part crisp, also carries a puffiness about it. The end crust on mine did however have an excellent char to it. There was only a scant amount of tomato sauce on top that I also found quite tart which really threw everything off for me. Finally, the excess cheese made for a rather sloppy eating experience. Structurally, the slices were also aesthetically unbalanced and rather haphazard in their construction.
Aiello’s pizza is crafted and made with love and in the end, my disappointment is mostly a matter of taste and style. While I can say that the crust was rock solid good and tasty, the cheese and sauce just didn’t do it for me. That tart-tasting sauce was the biggest fail for me. While much better than crap chain pizza, this pizza was just overall not very satisfying.
Finally, while you all know I’m a plain cheese pizza guy, I just can’t resist mentioning that one of Aiello’s specialty pizzas is a Pierogi pie. Well, although nothing could sound less appealing than the thought of white sauce and mashed potatoes on my pizza, this might just be one thing that this Ukrainian boy from Bayonne, New Jersey might just have to try once to say that he did. Otherwise, I’m sad to say that Aiello’s just falls short of any major endorsement from the Snob. I liked Mineo’s down the street much better.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***½ Working on a Good Thing
2112 Murray Avenue #1
Pittsburgh, PA 15217