With 71 pizza shops per every 100,000 people and pizzas that are “a vessel for cheese”, Rent.com recently named Pittsburgh as the second-best pizza city in the country. But we know there is much more to a slice here than cheese. Do you prefer a meat-centric pie like Pepperoni Palooza with three types of pepperoni layered with mozzarella AND provolone, a gourmet pizza from Caliente Pizza & Draft House? Or maybe you’d like a veggie pie with a twist like Red Onion Gorgonzola from Colangelo’s? These are just two of the slices ticket holders will taste at PizzaFest! A Slice of Delish sponsored by GoodTaste! Pittsburgh on June 12, 2022 at East End Brewing.
The inaugural event, held in 2019, sold out in two weeks. The celebration was of course canceled in 2020, but Dee Weinberg of GoodTaste! found a way to engage an audience and connect them with local pizza artisans. PizzaFest! went virtual with individual chefs educating participants about dough, sauce cheese and home pizza baking. The viewers had the option to pick up pizza kits at multiple locations and cooked along from home.
Dee is excited to have a live celebration of pizza at a new venue. Always looking to change up her events, she reflected, “We always thought the perfect marriage would be pizza and beer.” Fortunately, East End Brewing, which now houses a permanent pizza kitchen, reached and offered to host. East End Chewing will be one of the five additional pizza establishments represented at the event. Also tossing the dough will be Mediterra, Alta Via Pizzeria, Pizza Parma and Slice on Broadway.
This is a passionate, award-winning group of business owners and artisans. Nick Bogacz and his Caliente team earned multiple national and international pizza titles including Best Pizza in America at the Pizza World Championship in Parma, Italy. Most of the group has received local recognition and have loyal followers. Rico Lunardi of Slice on Broadway hosted a pizza-making class as an event launch for area food influencers. His enthusiasm for his work is evident as he describes the provenance of his ingredients; house-made dough that rises a minimum of 24 hours, tomatoes sourced from Stanislaus Foods in California, a blend of whole milk mozzarella and provolone, only fresh mushrooms.
Event sponsor Ooni Pizza Ovens is shipping each pizza artisan an oven prior to the event. Their propane-fueled backyard models can reach temperatures up to 950 °. With the individual ovens the pizza crafters will be able to continuously crank out pies at the fest as the high temp bakes a pizza in as little as four minutes.
But there will be much more going on beside filling up on those slices of delish. Pennsylvania Macaroni Company and Oakmont Olive Oil Company will demonstrate their food products. Pizza Acrobat Matt Hickey will wow the crowds with his amazing feats of dough tossing. And of course, what is an Italian food event without a little accordion music? Returning from the 2019 gathering will be Kevin Solecki to add to the ambiance.
So, you might ask, what are other savory, cheesy-good pies that I can eat at PizzaFest!? You’ll have to grab a ticket to find out and sample slices until you are stuffed! Only three hundred tickets are available at $35 each, (150 tickets for each session) 4-6 or 7-9 pm. And, of course, East End Brewing’s beverages will be available for purchase.