The great thing about pizza is that there is no “right way” to do it.
A Yelp search for pizza shows more than 250 results for Berks County, and that means more than 250 different styles of pizza to choose from.
Most of the differences are subtle: lighter or heavier sauce, spicier or milder pepperoni, thicker or thinner crust.
But then there are the places who are serving something that strays a little farther from the round pie with canned sauce and shredded mozzarella.
Bella’s Pizza opened in 2013 in a small location along State Hill Road. The building, which had previously housed a Coney Island hot dog stand (and before that, a patio store) is actually connected to the much larger Kwik Stop convenience store.
Seating is limited, especially when the weather renders the outdoor picnic tables useless. Thankfully delivery is available for those of us fortunate enough to live close enough to the restaurant, and I will happily trade the 45-minute wait for the convenience of delivery.
The restaurant offers more than pizza. Their menu boldly proclaims the “best cheese steaks in town.” There are also plenty of hot and cold sandwich options, six flavors of wings, burgers, salads and traditional Italian dinners.
While all of those sound appealing, one item on the menu stood out to me: grandma pizza.
Maybe it was the yellow highlights around the three grandma pizza options, or maybe it was the description (“THIN CRUSTY SICILIAN Delicious!“). Either way, I was having a Tony’s Special Grandma Pizza delivered to my door.
I knew from the description that I was getting a Sicilian pizza with roasted peppers, tomatoes, mozzarella and spinach, but that does not begin to describe the beautiful pie that was inside the box.
Like all Sicilian pizzas, it was a large, square pie, but that was where the similarities ended.
Fresh ingredients meant bright colors as the golden brown crust was topped with alternating bursts of milk white, bright red and deep green. The fresh mozzarella was dropped on in chunks, too big to melt during its trip through the oven. Large slices of tomato and whole spinach leaves were scattered about as well.
Though every bite included the crunch from the crispy crust, the layering of ingredients meant each was different. Sometimes it was the creamy taste of the mozzarella, or the sweetness of the tomato, or the mild bitterness of the spinach, or a combination of all three. In any case, every bite was enjoyable.
Nervous that a single pie would not be enough for myself and my three hungry friends, we added a Bella’s Special to our order.
A more traditional round pie, the Bella’s Special was loaded with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers. Everything about it was very good, from the slightly spicy pepperoni to the generous helpings of veggies (I have never had a pizza with too many onions), but after experiencing the uniqueness of the Grandma pizza, this pie just could not compete.
Sadly, two pies proved to be too much for us, but we could all agree that the pizzas, especially the Grandma , were well worth the price (just over $40 after tipping our delivery guy).
Our two pizzas could not have been more different. And while I would like to say they were equally enjoyable, one was clearly a notch above the other.
There may not be one “right way” to make a pizza, but Bella’s Grandma pizza was definitely done right.