When I visited Pittsburgh last year, I walked by an interesting-looking pizza joint on Carson Street called Benny Fierro’s. While I’m not completely sure what attracted me to this place, it may have just been the intrigue stemming from the fact that it was closed on Thanksgiving Friday. But, what made this whole incident very strange was the circumstance of a by-chance visit to Benny Marconi’s, one of its related pizza entities in Roanoke, Virginia, just a few days later.
You know how I feel about the dismal pizza coming from chains, but this “Benny” group of pizza joints sure seems to know what it’s doing with their fantastic-tasting over-sized slices. My recent visit to this effort in Pittsburgh was round two in testing the consistency of the chain. They passed my test, and my slice at Benny Fierro’s was awesomely delicious!
I made this visit with my Pittsburgh-living son, The Philosopher, and we went for some late dinner-time slices. This location was rather reminiscent of the Roanoke one in that there was plenty of room to sit, and I once again sat on a comfy stool by the front window. Ordering two of their ginormous cheese slices at $4.00 a pop, the fellow at the counter had to put up with my lame joke of “Do you have anything bigger?”.
While waiting for our large slabs of pie to reheat in the big pizza oven, I chatted up the two young lads about the business. They spoke fondly of its creator and his keen sense of locating his joints near colleges enabling him to offer students a value-sized slice for their money. Carson Street in Pittsburgh is no exception with the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne all close by. Benny Fierro’s is perfectly situated to be a late-night not spot for the slew of students who mingle about the area’s bar scene.
We got our slices which turned out to be pretty much what I got in Roanoke—tasty and requiring two hands to hold! There was some minor execution mishap with this one however since I had to manage some separation of the cheese from the crust. I would also have preferred that it was served a little hotter. But, regardless, it still was a fabulously-delicious slice of pizza that everybody in Pittsburgh needs to try. It’s also quite a diversion from those small slices I’ve had over on Murray Avenue at Mineo’s and Aiello’s.
Again, I’m just gobsmacked that such excellent pizza can come from a small chain. I’m now two-for-two on the Benny’s circuit and loving it!
Oh yeah – all that my son could philosophize about this slice was that “he liked it and it was huge.”
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****1/2 Nearer Perfection
1906 E. Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203