Georgio’s Pizzeria

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Last week, I asked my Facebook fans where to go for some great pizza to close out National Pizza Month 2016.

I got some great suggestions including Paradise by the Slice (visited in 2014) and Mama’s in Wyomissing (visited the Spring Township location last year).

And then there were some fervent supporters of Georgio’s Pizzeria in West Reading.

With an unseasonably warm weekend, a walk to West Reading sounded like a great idea.

Georgio’s sits on the corner of Fifth and Penn Avenues at the eastern end of West Reading’s busiest block.

This weekend, everyone had their outdoor seating open so after we placed our order at the counter, we grabbed a table on the sidewalk outside and waited for our lunch.

It didn’t take long for our two slices and garlic knots to be delivered.

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For my slice, I went with the Capri pizza. It’s a white pizza with one of my favorite topping combinations: ricotta and mozzarella cheeses with spinach, tomato, broccoli, red onion and basil.

I love ricotta on pizza and the cheese blend here was perfect. And I have never figured out why, but broccoli just goes perfect with white pizza. Add on some fresh tomatoes and just a hint of onion, and this was one good slice.

The crust was crispy from the second trip through the oven, but I was happy to have a cup of marinara sauce from our garlic knots to use for dipping.

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The garlic knots themselves had more garlic than any others that I have tried. The bottom of our aluminum foil was still lined with minced garlic when we were finished with our order of four.

I love garlic. If you don’t, I’d suggest finding another app or side.

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Julie’s slice of stuffed cheesesteak pizza had a Philly flair to it with a yellow streak of Cheez Whiz across the top.

Inside, it was filled with lots of delicious steak meat and a little mozzarella.

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With the stuffed pizza comes the thick, fancy crust. Unfortunately Julie left that behind.

Note: the pizza was not on our paper menu or on the website. In fact, there are no stuffed pizzas listed so this may have been a special for today.

Like all great pizzerias, Georgio’s was fast and reasonably priced. For two slices, four garlic knots and two Icy Teas, our total was just $14.

There are a lot of places to get a good pizza in West Reading, and Georgio’s is certainly near the top of the list.

And I’m definitely glad to our Facebook fans for the reminder.

A special thank-you to Facebook fans Paul Bender and Noralee Morales for the suggestion.

BCE Rating
Food: Very Good
Service: Very Good
Ambiance: Good
Price: Very Reasonable

Georgio’s Pizzeria
500 Penn Ave
West Reading, PA 19611

Georgios New York Style Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch & Dinner Pizzerias Reviews

Giraldi’s Italian Eatery & NY Style Pizza – CLOSED

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Editor’s Note: Giraldi’s Italian Eatery & NY Style Pizza, which at the time of this post was known as Pete’s New York Style Pizza, is now closed. A new restaurant – Chicho Bella Pizza & Subs – is now in the location.

October is my favorite time of the year.

I spend my summer months anxiously looking forward to our annual celebration of National Pizza Month and four weeks of blogging Berks County’s best pizza shops.

Choosing which places to visit is the hardest part because there are dozens of great pizzas that I haven’t tried yet. So every year I rely on review sites to help me find them.

One of the names that kept appearing among the best was Pete’s New York Style Pizza on Lancaster Pike in Shillington.

In a past life, I spent a summer working next door at the Speedway (then a Hess). Pete’s was not yet Pete’s, and Berks County Eats wasn’t even an idea yet.

I don’t remember the name of the restaurant that was there previously, but I remember we ordered dinner from there once and it being nothing memorable.

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Pete’s still doesn’t look like much from the outside, but I was impressed by the interior. There’s not a lot of space in that little building, but they managed to squeeze in two rows of booths, some high-top tables and a counter along one of the windows. It’s probably more than enough seating for what is mostly a take-out business.

We went in with no clue what we were getting, but the pizzas sitting behind the counter were enticing. So we decided to order a couple slices.

Let’s get this out of the way now: Reheated slices are never as good as a fresh-made pizza. The crust gets harder. The toppings can get a little dry.

That’s exactly what happened with our slices.

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I had a supreme with pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushroom and sausage. It was a solid slice, no skimping on the toppings, but that second trip through the oven wasn’t kind to the crust, drying it out significantly.

Julie’s stuffed chicken bacon ranch stuffed slice was much the same. There were plenty of toppings, including lots of bacon with a nice ranch dressing drizzle on top. She never eats her crust anyway so the over-done dough at the edge didn’t bother her much.

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Both slices were good, exactly what we expected. Next time we’ll have to try a fresh pie.

We knew that slices probably weren’t going to fill us up so we got 10 wings to help with that. Above the counter were listed Pete’s new wing flavors, and we were really excited to try the zesty orange. Unfortunately, we were told that it was unavailable.

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So instead we got the sweet red chili. The sauce on the breaded wings was more chili than sweet. It wasn’t a burning hot, but it was enough that I went through my drink faster than I had expected.

In hindsight, slices were not the smartest decision. It’s not just because of the leftover nature of them, but because the stuffed and specialty slices are pricy ($3.60 for a specialty, over $5 for a stuffed) so our total bill was north of the $20 mark.

What we should have done was ordered a fresh pie. It would have been a better gauge of Pete’s pizzas at a better value.

And that’s exactly what I plan to do. Hopefully before we get to next year’s National Pizza Month celebration.

Pete’s New York Style Pizza
2342 Lancaster Pike
Shillington, PA 19607

Petes Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Closed Reviews

Rocco’s Wood-Fired Pizza – CLOSED

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Editor’s Note: Rocco’s Wood-Fired Pizza has closed as of June 2017.

There’s something about a wood-fired oven that just makes pizza better.

A crisp crust, bubbly cheese and that extra hint of flavor are what set it apart from the standard oven.

There aren’t many places in Berks County to get a good wood-fired pizza. Nonno Alby’s  introduced it to the Reading area in 2014.

This year, we were introduced Rocco’s Wood-Fired Pizza in South Heidelberg Township.

Flanked by my friend Josh, I recently made my first visit to Rocco’s.

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Rocco’s location probably isn’t the most desirable — tucked in the corner of the strip mall with Tractor Supply — but the restaurant makes the most of it with a wood-and-brick interior that harkens to the oven that flames at the back of the restaurant.

The menu is printed, two-sided, on a simple sheet of paper. One side lists the 14 pizza options. The other includes sandwiches, salads and apps.

All of Rocco’s pizzas are 13-inch pies. If it were Julie and I, one pie would be enough. For Josh and I, it was going to go to take two. And an order of fries.

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The fries arrived first, piled high on a wooden serving tray. Skins on with coarse-ground salt, they were like a better version of Wendy’s French fries.

As good as they were, I didn’t need them. When the pizzas arrived, we quickly realized that 13 inches is bigger than it sounds.

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First to arrive was Josh’s interestingly named “Cheesus!” pie, essentially a buffalo chicken pizza with all of the following: shredded mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, pepperoni, crispy bacon, peppers, breaded chicken and mild sauce.

There’s not much to say other than “loved it.” The crisp crust. The hint of heat from the sauce, the addition of the pepperoni. Everything just worked.

It’s a good thing for Josh that my pizza arrived shortly thereafter.

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Mine was the “Bee Sting,” topped with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, hot sopresatta, raw honey (the bee) and crushed red pepper oil (the sting).

The sweet and hot flavor was unlike any other pizza that you are likely to find. It packed a punch, but a flavorful one. The meat was delicious, similar to a hot salami. The red pepper oil was just there to make sure that I sweat during my lunch, but the honey came through with a soothing aftertaste.

It’s a good thing Rocco’s offers free refills on iced tea because I needed them.

With five-eighths of my pie finished, it was time to throw in the towel, get the to-go box and settle the check. Our total for the two of us was $40. In hindsight, we didn’t need two pizzas (and my Bee Sting was the most expensive on the menu at $15). At least I know I brought home a lunch or two.

I’m not going to attempt a comparison between Rocco’s and Nonno Alby’s. Though both are wood-fired, it’s not an apples-to-apples — or pizza-to-pizza — comparison.

All I can say is that I love wood-fired pizza. And I’m glad that I now have a second choice nearby.

Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza
4732 W Penn Ave
Sinking Spring, PA 19608

Rocco's Wood Fired Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Closed Reviews

Pizza Como USA

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In the little borough of Temple, there are two long-running restaurants across the street from each other.

On one side, there is Schell’s, complete with its Dairy Swirl dessert bar and 27-hole miniature golf.

On the other side is Pizza Como, and its comparatively blasé exterior.

I’ve had more hamburger barbecues than I can count across the street at Schell’s. And there have been many times that I’ve looked over at Pizza Como and thought, “I wonder if they’re any good.”

Pizza Como must be good or it wouldn’t be there…44 years after it opened.

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We pulled in on a Friday night. The parking lot isn’t very big to begin with, but with so many cars, it felt even smaller. (Tip: don’t make your first visit on a Friday night before a home Muhlenberg football game).

Everyone orders at the counter before taking a seat (or taking their food home) and waiting for dinner to arrive. It’s not an overly complicated menu: pizzas, sandwiches and a few simple Italian dinners are the only options.

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Julie and I both ordered a slice and a side – her a salad, me an order of garlic parsley fries.

My slice of choice was the classic pepperoni. It wasn’t a big slice, but it was big enough with my side of fries. And it was ultra thin crust, some of the thinnest I have seen around the county.

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There was something else different about it, something with the sauce that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. But I will say this, it was a darn good slice of pizza.

The fries were a whole other beast. As the guy at the counter said on our way out, “I could smell the garlic all the way out here.”

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No complaints from me. I wouldn’t have ordered them if I didn’t love garlic. I don’t remember much parsley, but I certainly remember the garlic. I was glad to have it, too, because the fries themselves weren’t much to speak of.

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Julie went with a slice of Hawaiian pizza – ham and pineapple. Like mine it was on the smaller side, with a thin crust, and very good. There was definitely no skimping on toppings, either.

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Her Italian salad – ham, provolone and black olives made it an Italian – was good. Though I think she regretted skipping a second slice in favor of the salad.

Add on a pair of Kutztown Sodas (they also have A-Treat for all you fans out there) and our final total was still less than $15.

One complaint that I have to put out there: one of the employees was wearing flip-flops. Open-toed shoes are a definite no-no, especially for staff that spends time behind the counter as this person did. It’s a safety hazard, plain and simple.

Seeing that was the only black mark on what would have been an outstanding introduction to Pizza Como.

BCE Rating
Food: Good
Service: Good
Ambiance: Good
Price: Reasonable

Pizza Como & The Vineyard
4600 5th Street Hwy
Temple, PA 19450

Pizza Como USA Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch & Dinner Pizzerias Reviews