Not Reveling in the Pizza from Revello’s in Old Forge, PA

Old Forge, the (self) proclaimed “Pizza Capital of the World,” is a place I’ve wanted to visit for nearly a decade. It’s been on my list since I first heard about the pizza in 2004 and I finally visited Old Forge and stopped at Revello’s Pizza (voted one of the best in town) for a taste.

a tray of original pizza at revello's pizza in old forge, the pizza capital of the world

a tray of original

For credentials on pizza, I grew up on Long Island and now I live in New York City. I have access to some of the best pizza in the state, if not the world. I traveled to Chicago more than a few times and I love a good deep dish too. I even sampled some pizza from the old country – Italy.  I am not a novice on pizza.

So, I had to taste pizza from Old Forge, Pennsylvania  – the (self-proclaimed) pizza capital of the world, right? Now, I have.

When I drove into Old Forge I thought I’d see a neighborhood, or at least a street, that resembled New York City’s, “Little Italy (although that is not where the best pizza in NYC is) or at least a few blocks with pizza shop after pizza shop competing against each other for the best slice and your business. I didn’t see that, but I did find Revello’s Pizza. Some people love it, but to be honest, I didn’t. Not at all. Here’s what I thought.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, it wasn’t good. Terrible, really.  In fact I think they put sugar in their sauce, but the sauce wasn’t my issue, it was the cheese I really didn’t enjoy. The first bite seemed to stick to my teeth like an adhesive. The pizza wasn’t good. I wasn’t a fan. I almost wanted to ask them to take down the sign, “pizza capital of the world.”

ordered a pizza to go from Revello's in Old Forge

heading to a volunteer firehouse in Lake Wallenpaupack I ordered one to go. They ate it.

My order? I ordered the regular square, I went with the original. I thought it was like  going to a Thai restaurant and getting Pad Thai. Maybe it wasn’t the most the adventurous thing but it’s basic, something they should do well.

the sign - pizza capital of the world. it was outside Revello's Pizza in Old Forge, PA

the sign... pizza capital of the world... well, not my world.

I posted an image on instagram and my friend and fellow blogger, Runaway Juno, disagreed. After a debate, she told me I needed to order the white pizza. She’s a world traveler, so I trusted her opinion; maybe I had missed something. OK, since it is the capital, I’d give it another chance.

Later that month, while at a triple-A baseball game in Scranton/Wilkes-barre on “Thirsty Thursday” (dollar drafts) and after a majestic sunset at PNC Field – so you know I was feeling good – I noticed  a Revello’s Pizza at the stadium.

I ordered two squares of the white pizza. $6.50, Yikes! I paid it though; this was my chance. I chatted with the cashier and told her I was excited to try the white pizza. She replied  that it was great, that unlike the other slices, the white had a bit of rosemary in it. When the squares arrived I noticed the crust on top seemed harder than the bottom with gooey cheese in the middle. A good start. Maybe the cheese-crust pizza was born here?

Well, I did it. I tasted it and… well… It’s not my capital of the pizza world. Sorry.

two squares of the famous Revello's Pizza at PNC Field

I tried the White, still nothing.

However, looking back, Revello’s, is trendy in an offbeat way and it’s certainly old-school. The pizza is served on plastic trays and I did enjoy the relatively reasonably priced pitchers of beer. There is a bit of history and tradition in the place that makes it special, just wish it offered better pizza. But I might be alone in my beliefs… If you have been, let me know your thoughts… How was your experience at Revello’s, or even in Old Forge, PA – the pizza capital of the world?

Stay culinary curious, Craig.


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  • Maria

    Love the candor. If I stop at a Revello’s Pizza it’ll be to order a coke. :p

    • craig zabransky

      I almost want to say they served Pepsi, but I don’t know… I ordered beer. stay adventurous, Craig

  • NEPA PizzaReview

    I appreciate your honesty on this topic, and I have to say this is a very common belief for New York City “transplants” or people who are passing through Northeastern Pennsylvania to try the Old Forge Pizza. I’m a resident of NEPA, and I drive around blogging about all things pizza in NEPA. Old Forge Pizza is not my favorite, but I have grown accustomed to it, and learned to love it. Basically I think that the allure of Old Forge Pizza is that NEPA is the (nearly) only place to get it and people here who grew up on the stuff just swear by it. Given, putting American cheese on a pizza does not constitute a high quality ingredient, but maybe you would agree that the concept is different than most other pizzas available in the U.S. Perhaps that is all the value it has to those who don’t enjoy the taste, but to me it’s something different, and something that a small town has built a little notoriety and economics on.

    If you are interested, here is my review of Revello’s.

    P.S. I enjoy your writing style and photographs. What type of camera do you use? I only use my smart phone camera and it shows! Looking to upgrade.

    • craig zabransky

      Thanks for chiming in; I SO appreciate it. I can relate to a local food and a notoriety – in fact that was probably my favorite part of the experience, but “pizza capital of the world” apparently crossed the line for me as a native NYer….

      Again, thanks for sharing (and explaining).

      For my photos – in this case, I used my iPhone5 (I wasn’t planning on writing about it) but most of my photos on the site are from an entry level dSLR.

      Finally, as a traveler to NEPA often, what Pizza place tops the list… where do I need to go next, I am willing to order another pie…

      stay eating pizza, Craig

      • NEPA PizzaReview

        Hey my pleasure, I appreciate a fellow food blogger and of course you caught my attention with this article on OF Pizza. I was researching SLR cameras today…a bit more pricey than the point and shoot, but it clearly makes a difference.
        Well, as a New Yorker, you will probably like Basilico’s Pizza in Dickson City (also now in Dunmore). Armetta’s in Clarks Summit for New York style as well. If you are looking for something different, Luzerne County has it’s own genre of “Pan Fried/Deep Fried” Pizza. I recommend Pizza L’Oven or Victory Pig.

      • craig zabransky

        I may just need to try the Pan Fried / Deep Fried … seems like a winner there. Thanks. I’ll let you know my findings.

        stay culinary curious, Craig

        ps – good luck with your camera selection.

      • Pete

        Z – it’s good to see you traveling in my home town. Old forge pizza is a classic local taste, like a wiz with. NEPAL has some great pizza, try Tommy’s, sabbatini’s or victory pig…..all better than any NYC Ray’s

      • craig zabransky

        Pete, so happy to see you chime in… classic local taste I can swallow… Pizza capital of the world… not so much. And as for Ray’s, to be honest not sure it’s beats even Ray’s on taste… but to each is own. Stay Whizzing it, Craig

  • Vanessa (@Turnipseeds)

    Ugh. I HATE when I got on a food pilgrimage that is so disappointing. It’s one thing if something tastes different than expected (ie: you see the quality is there, but it’s just not your thing). But it’s another thing altogether if you can’t manage basic pizza!

    • craig zabransky

      Vanessa, I agree…. I’ll give them a little credit they make their own pizza – it is there thing… but I just can’t get passed the “pizza capital of the world” – therefore I must agree – disappointing.
      Stay pilgrimaging for good food, Craig

      • Old Forger

        Craig – as someone who was raised in Old Forge, I’m somewhat disappointed that you chose Revello’s as your test subject. Though Old Forge has an abundance of Pizzerias, Revello’s is certainly not one of my favorites and the pictures of the pizza you posted hardly do ‘Old Forge Pizza’ justice. One of my favorite pizzerias is directly across the street from Revello’s (Arcaro & Genell). With so many places to choose from, I hope you discredit OF pizza after sampling from only one place. I hope you try again, but this time, take a walk across the street to one of the places known by locals as one of the best.

      • craig zabransky

        Old Forger, thanks for chiming in… glad to know there are better places. I find myself frequently in NEPA, so I will give it a second chance and try one of your suggestions.

        However, I would still love to hear your thoughts on my biggest concern – “pizza capital of the world” – it isn’t. And also, curious to think what you think about NEPA PizzaReview thoughts, he gave 4/5.

        stay pizza eating, Craig

  • frackedup

    I love Revello’s and Andy’s pizza in Old Forge. I have lived in New York City for about 15 years. This pizza is not like New York Pizza… It’s different. I make sure I get it every time I go home because I love it. I wish I could get a tray of people like that in New York right now and I live right outside the Brooklyn Navy Yard by IL Porto and Grimaldi’s

    • craig zabransky

      It clearly makes a difference as to what are used to eating and what you grow up eating…. I’d trade any slice in Old Forge for a good Brooklyn slice, but that’s me. Thanks for sharing…. and Stay Pizza-loving, Craig