Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza

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donw9876
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2009/05/12 16:35:01 (permalink)

Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza

This is kind of a bookend to a debate that periodically rages on NY style pizza in the Cincinnati/N. KY thread about pizza.

A premise I have never read anywhere else:  I consider the Dayton thin crust, square cut pizzas - like classic Cassano's, classic Marion's, and Ron's (of today) to be a legitimate local variation of NY style pizza.

I've had Troni's from Kettering (fantastic) but my favorite local pie is Ron's.

Here is why I think this: the essence of a classic Dayton thin crust pizza IS the crust, in the same way that NY style pies are distinguished by their crust.

The attributes that I have read of an "excellent" NY slice are identical with well made Dayton pizza:

- Wafer thin crust
- Tight structure, not a lot of air
- Glutenous and chewy much more than crispy
- Light char on crust indicates excellent texture properties and taste
- Too many ingredients (more than 2 or 3, tops) compromise the crust structure and the whole experience.

Only high heat will do the trick. An old school Dayton pizza crust will blister directly underneath the (thin) sauce from extreme heat. I don't even know if this is a factor in NY style pizzas.

The local cheese of choice for this pizza is provolone (for whatever reason.) The pizza is always cut into little squares. I bet the product would be foldable if it were cut into slices.

Anyway, that's how I see it.

Dayton has a legitimate local pizza culture the same way that Cincinnati has a chili culture.

Awaiting debunking, history lessons, flames, or even raging condescension...
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    dwcclc
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 16:45:16 (permalink)
    [font="'ms sans serif'"] the three words of your premise should never never ever be uttered, written, perhaps even thought of together: Dayton style pizza.... 
    #2
    donw9876
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 17:02:43 (permalink)
    Caps large enough?
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    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 17:33:59 (permalink)
    Smart alecks seem to pop in here from nowhere when you bring up NY style pizza.
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    donw9876
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 17:37:43 (permalink)
    Well, what's your opinion on my premise? This should be a safe place to hash this out...
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    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 17:42:40 (permalink)
    This piece tells quite a bit about NY pizza:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York-style_pizza

    A few points:

    Pizza Hut is terrible because their crust is nothing like NY crust.

    Sbarro at some locations make a great NY pie - especially on the PA turnpike locations.  At the malls in Cinci their pie's crust were as bad as Domino's

    NY pie crusts are thin but NOT wafer thin.

    There is air in the crust of a good NY pizza.

    NY crusts are chewy and tasty and a little crunchy and best when well done.

    NY pizzas do not need toppings - they are paradise just with mozzarella, tomato sauce and crust - with a little garlic, basil, oregano and extra virgin olive oil.





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    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 17:44:40 (permalink)
    The Cassano's pies I have had were nothing like NY pies - they were more like La Rosa's. 
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    David_NYC
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 19:44:27 (permalink)
    donw9876,
     
    Most NY pizza joints use some sort of foodservice mozzarella: whole, part skim, whole/part skim blend. While a few might add some shredded provolone to the mix, we predominately use mozzarella. Our pizza is about 5/16" to 3/8" thick including sauce and cheese. You do see air in the crust.
     
    I guess you can call it a NY pizza variation if you can't find anything closer to call it, such as Pizza Hut Thin and Crispy, Shakey Thin Crust, Chicago Deep Dish, New Haven style, etc. 
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    Baah Ben
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 19:51:48 (permalink)
    Villa Rosa - SR 7 - Hollywood, FL - MD...Photo op.....
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    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 20:29:40 (permalink)
    Yo no comprendo.
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    collinf
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 22:17:58 (permalink)
    I would say judging by the pies I have seen of the Dayton, OH area, that their pizza is more like New Haven, CT style in terms of crust texture.  Go Google Frank Pepe's or Sally's Apizza and see if you agree.  So, yes, an East Coast style of pizza, but not NY.
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/12 22:39:09 (permalink)
    collinf

    I would say judging by the pies I have seen of the Dayton, OH area, that their pizza is more like New Haven, CT style in terms of crust texture.  Go Google Frank Pepe's or Sally's Apizza and see if you agree.  So, yes, an East Coast style of pizza, but not NY.


    The pizza in the Dayton area is about as much like a pie from New Haven as an airplane is like a nightcrawler on a weight-foward spinner.
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    DLnWPBrown
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/13 00:37:45 (permalink)
    collinf

    I would say judging by the pies I have seen of the Dayton, OH area, that their pizza is more like New Haven, CT style in terms of crust texture.  Go Google Frank Pepe's or Sally's Apizza and see if you agree.  So, yes, an East Coast style of pizza, but not NY.


     collinf don't feel bad as when I tell people how good the NY style pizza is around the corner, I get laughed at..... NC indeed they say. The owner is about 50ish, straight from Italy. He left his son to run it and when he returned the quality went right through the roof again. 


    His pies are to die for, plain cheese or maybe pepperoni.


    Dennis in Cary
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    donw9876
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/13 00:47:41 (permalink)
    collinf
    I would say judging by the pies I have seen of the Dayton, OH area, that their pizza is more like New Haven, CT style in terms of crust texture.  Go Google Frank Pepe's or Sally's Apizza and see if you agree.  So, yes, an East Coast style of pizza, but not NY.


    Thanks for the reference. I checked them out. Classic Dayton style pizza is very close to Sally's APizza, at least in appearance and presentation - the char is not that pronounced on the top, but the toppings bleed nearly to the edge like this stuff does.

    I probably also made the crust sound much grimmer than it actually is. It's not a dense mat of dough. It has air. But it's stiffer and chewier than NY pizza I have had.

    I encourage NYPizzaNut to find time to squeeze a trip to Ron's in Miamisburg into his schedule sometime and to at least give it a chance. Ron's is faithful to the type of local thin crust pizza that I grew up with in the area and it is a quality product with integrity (I regularly trash restaurants I don't respect, and I have absolutely no connection to Ron's other than fervently wishing that they remain in business indefinitely.)

    I know that some can argue that locals are idiots with no taste, but people do line up waiting for a table at Ron's on a weekend, which is very unusual for any local pizza place in this economically depressed region.
    post edited by donw9876 - 2009/05/13 00:50:05
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    billyboy
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/13 03:27:56 (permalink)
    Doesn't sound much like any NY style pizza I've tried, but it does sound pretty special and something for Daytonians (is that a word?) to be proud of.  I celebrate all regional styles be they well known or lesser known.  Any pizza out there I haven't tried is just one that I will eventually look forward to.  NY style doesn't really have a wafer thin crust or use provolone cheese as a rule of thumb.  Most crusts (in slice joints anyway) don't have much of a char on them. 

    The two major categories of pizza in NYC are "slice joints" and places that "only serve whole pies to order".  World of difference between the two.  Slice joints are a dime a dozen in NYC; some are terrible, some are mediocre, some are ok and some are actually good.  Reading reviews and talking to people who have eaten slices in the city will go a long way towards dodging the bullets of bad slices, but sometimes, you just end up "kissing the frog" anyway.  

    Whole pie places tend to focus more on just pizza and not calzones, salads, pastas, wraps, subs, etc... as many slice joints do (this isn't a hard and fast rule but it seems to be the tendency most of the time). Whole pies are made to order and don't sit around on the counter as they often do in slice joints.  It's all about the freshness factor!  Like fried food and guacamole, the clock is ticking on pizza as soon as it's made and it ain't gonna get any better, baby! I've usually found that they quality of the crust and the toppings seems to be much better at whole pie places.  Let's face it folks, if pizza is your main focus, it better be good or there won't be much repeat business.

    FYI-I was just reading on seriouseats.com and went to their offshoot site, slice.seriouseats.com and found a thread from January of 2008 in which the writer listed 20 different regional styles of pizza.  Some well known, some lesser known,  Thought it was interesting that someone put this list together.  Enjoy whatever style makes your belly smile!

    http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2008/01/a-list-of-regional-pizza-styles.html

    post edited by billyboy - 2009/05/13 03:38:04
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    BillyZoom
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/13 08:48:49 (permalink)
    NYPIzzaNut

    The Cassano's pies I have had were nothing like NY pies - they were more like La Rosa's. 



    The New York pies I have had were nothing like La Rosa's pies - they were more like Domino's.
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/13 21:40:14 (permalink)
    donw9876

    This is kind of a bookend to a debate that periodically rages on NY style pizza in the Cincinnati/N. KY thread about pizza.

    A premise I have never read anywhere else:  I consider the Dayton thin crust, square cut pizzas - like classic Cassano's, classic Marion's, and Ron's (of today) to be a legitimate local variation of NY style pizza.

    I've had Troni's from Kettering (fantastic) but my favorite local pie is Ron's.

    Here is why I think this: the essence of a classic Dayton thin crust pizza IS the crust, in the same way that NY style pies are distinguished by their crust.

    The attributes that I have read of an "excellent" NY slice are identical with well made Dayton pizza:

    - Wafer thin crust
    - Tight structure, not a lot of air
    - Glutenous and chewy much more than crispy
    - Light char on crust indicates excellent texture properties and taste
    - Too many ingredients (more than 2 or 3, tops) compromise the crust structure and the whole experience.

    Only high heat will do the trick. An old school Dayton pizza crust will blister directly underneath the (thin) sauce from extreme heat. I don't even know if this is a factor in NY style pizzas.

    The local cheese of choice for this pizza is provolone (for whatever reason.) The pizza is always cut into little squares. I bet the product would be foldable if it were cut into slices.

    Anyway, that's how I see it.

    Dayton has a legitimate local pizza culture the same way that Cincinnati has a chili culture.

    Awaiting debunking, history lessons, flames, or even raging condescension...
    What do like about Ron's pies that make them superior to Troni's pizzas?


    #17
    donw9876
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 11:32:45 (permalink)
    >> What do like about Ron's pies that make them superior to Troni's pizzas?

    Do you mean "what do I like?" I'll answer that question...

    I didn't say that Ron's were necessarily superior. I would put both on exactly the same plane as far as care of preparation, integrity to a final result, and quality control.

    They're somewhat different but not completely dissimilar pies. Like I listed at the top of the thread, they have a lot of similarities and the measure of the quality of the product with both is the crust. That cannot be said about the majority of pizzas in this region.

    The main differences between the two, again: the Dayton thin crust pizza is not that floppy. It is a bit stiffer, and maybe a touch thinner. And Dayton pizzas bleed the ingredients out to the edge, with no pie crust "handle".

    Having grown up on the local Dayton specific product, the Ron's is just very nostalgic for me. Cassano's, which is a generic chain today, used to make a pizza in the 60s that is pretty much like Ron's today, and in the 60s and early 70s Cassano's "owned" the local pizza business.

     The sear of the ingredients on top with old Cassano's seemed to be extreme - the pepperoni edges would curl up and crisp a little, and there seemed to be extra spices (like caraway, maybe) embedded in the cheese (maybe it fell out of the pepperoni.) And the cheese on top almost seemed to be fried from the heat.

    We were told that Ron's was started as a spinoff - a Cassano's franchiser (named Ron) did not want to cheap out on ingredients so he left the Pizza King brand and started his own restaurants.

    Anyway, I just mentioned that I believe that you should try Ron's, in order to taste a product of equal integrity to Troni's that has a different take on the notion of "pizza." And, to get a sense that at least some locals take specifics of preparation quite seriously and are not simply cattle troughs of food. And that other locals respect that integrity.

    I think I used the word "integrity" three or four times in this thread. That's my way of expressing care for the final outcome.

    Marion's pizza has classically been very similar to the thin crust Dayton ideal, except that they last time we went, they appear to have gone with a thicker crust, and less oven heat. So I do not endorse Marion's (at least in Centerville) as a reasonable alternative. I'd put Marion's in the "coasting on a good name" camp.
    post edited by donw9876 - 2009/05/14 11:47:27
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    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 12:20:05 (permalink)
    I might get cracked on here but Cincy and Dayton Ohio are a Gastronomic Wastelands when it comes to Pizza. Until someone finds a place comparible to Troni's. Which by the way has poor service but great food. I go there atleast every other week or more. I will only go there now. I suffered through the Marion's, La Rosa, Cassano's, and Ron's for a longtime. I would rather eat the box my Troni's Pizza came in. Dorothy Lane Market, Flying Pizza (Centerville Location) and Rock-a-Fellas are edible on a good day. But it is a hit or miss. Getting a table at Troni's in the early evening is getting tougher all the time so others feel the same way. Just my opinion...Russ
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    BillyZoom
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 13:35:45 (permalink)
    Russ Jackson

    I might get cracked on here but Cincy and Dayton Ohio are a Gastronomic Wastelands when it comes to Pizza. Until someone finds a place comparible to Troni's. Which by the way has poor service but great food. I go there atleast every other week or more. I will only go there now. I suffered through the Marion's, La Rosa, Cassano's, and Ron's for a longtime. I would rather eat the box my Troni's Pizza came in. Dorothy Lane Market, Flying Pizza (Centerville Location) and Rock-a-Fellas are edible on a good day. But it is a hit or miss. Getting a table at Troni's in the early evening is getting tougher all the time so others feel the same way. Just my opinion...Russ


    Where are you from originally?
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    donw9876
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 13:36:08 (permalink)
    Russ, I don't have any real comeback on your comments. If you don't like something, then you don't like it, and it's a matter of personal taste, and that's pretty much that.

    My own critiques:

    Marion's - too much of a local's tourist trap. The sauce is just tomato paste. And they don't try very hard. It's a commodity product. And it has gone downhill.

    La Rosa - sweet sauce - sort of gross.

    Cassano's - local chain - poor consistency of product (skimpy on cheese, etc.)

    Rock-A-Fellas - too bready for my taste, otherwise good quality.

    Flying Pizza - just had it yesterday - excellent.
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    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 13:59:50 (permalink)
    BillyZoom

    Russ Jackson

    I might get cracked on here but Cincy and Dayton Ohio are a Gastronomic Wastelands when it comes to Pizza. Until someone finds a place comparible to Troni's. Which by the way has poor service but great food. I go there atleast every other week or more. I will only go there now. I suffered through the Marion's, La Rosa, Cassano's, and Ron's for a longtime. I would rather eat the box my Troni's Pizza came in. Dorothy Lane Market, Flying Pizza (Centerville Location) and Rock-a-Fellas are edible on a good day. But it is a hit or miss. Getting a table at Troni's in the early evening is getting tougher all the time so others feel the same way. Just my opinion...Russ


    Where are you from originally?

     
    Detroit area...Russ


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    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 14:01:26 (permalink)
    donw9876

    Russ, I don't have any real comeback on your comments. If you don't like something, then you don't like it, and it's a matter of personal taste, and that's pretty much that.

    My own critiques:

    Marion's - too much of a local's tourist trap. The sauce is just tomato paste. And they don't try very hard. It's a commodity product. And it has gone downhill.

    La Rosa - sweet sauce - sort of gross.

    Cassano's - local chain - poor consistency of product (skimpy on cheese, etc.)

    Rock-A-Fellas - too bready for my taste, otherwise good quality.

    Flying Pizza - just had it yesterday - excellent.


    You and I seem to agree. I haven't tried Ron's in quite awhile. Which location is good? I would try it again...Russ
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    donw9876
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 14:16:46 (permalink)
    Ron's was a small chain at one point, but their Centerville and Springboro stores (both of which were quite busy) inexplicably closed.

    Their main location, which is also a tavern, is in Miamisburg opposite the "downtown square", on southbound Dixie. Basically if you are westbound on 725, one block past where 725 turns right, keep driving, and it is dead ahead one block.  There is a city parking lot next to it on Dixie.
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    the grillman
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 15:49:11 (permalink)
    Ok, I'll weigh in on this topic.....While I'm a Mo native, and am fortunate enough to live in St. Louis now; I've been around Dayton-style pizza in a couple different ways....when I was in school, I worked at a Cassano's location for about 4 years, both as a cook and as night manager, and have made and consumed probably 10's of thousands of Cassano pizzas.....

    Cassano is a thin crust pizza, the dough is actually made all in the Kettering headquarters off of Stroop, frozen, and shipped to each store.  The dough is thawed (proofed) in a walkin frig before use.  Their sauce is tomato paste, thinned a bit with water to make it spreadable.  Not too many seasonings, that I recall.  Cheese is exclusively domestic provolone, shredded fresh on site each day... toppings vary by store.  A signature of Cassano's then was a final sprinkle of oregano before baking.

    The pizzas are assembled and cooked on bricks in a gas oven set to at least 500 degrees, because they are thin, they cook in a matter of minutes.  A good Cassano's pizza is a balanced taste, and the ingredients should not be too heavy; more than about three toppings, (as noted from the OP) and the bottom crust is done before the top is...just an observation from cooking thousands of pies.....they are cut into squares with a huge knife.  Ideally, the bottom crust should have a good chew/crunch/crispness to it, with a bit of salt or cornmeal that way added to the pizza peel it was made on to facilitate sliding into the oven easily.

    I like Cassano's pizza, and take every chance to try on when available...but they are not really traditional, IMO.  They are a good representation of the Midwest style of pizza.   Cassano's best menu item, in my opinion, was their traditional sub; I still make those at home when I can; excellent chow to watch a ballgame or a movie.

    When we lived in the Dayton area in the 90's when I was working for a company there, we actually lived in Kettering.  For take out; Cassano's was our first choice, followed by Marion's. 

    There was a place on the corner of Far Hills and Stroop on the western edge of Kettering that was pretty good too, but I can't recall the name right now....

    St. Louis pizza, aka IMO's, is definitely an acquired taste, even for this Mo native.....but it's worth a try, if you never have. 

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    jjjrfoodie
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/14 18:13:29 (permalink)
    donw9876

    Russ, I don't have any real comeback on your comments. If you don't like something, then you don't like it, and it's a matter of personal taste, and that's pretty much that.

    My own critiques:

    Marion's - too much of a local's tourist trap. The sauce is just tomato paste. And they don't try very hard. It's a commodity product. And it has gone downhill.

    La Rosa - sweet sauce - sort of gross.

    Cassano's - local chain - poor consistency of product (skimpy on cheese, etc.)

    Rock-A-Fellas - too bready for my taste, otherwise good quality.

    Flying Pizza - just had it yesterday - excellent.


    It's funny Don as I had my first taste of Marion's oizza ever last weekend.  Stopped at the Dayton mall locale and picked up a large pizza with pepperoni and sausage to take home.

    All I can say is that I liked it alot.  It's a unique pie that I would not make a sole trip for but if in the mood and in the Dayton area would swing by for a bite.

    Yes, it's a bit expensive for the portions you get, but it's unique enough to me that i found it tasty.

    But, since I'm not the pizza afficiando that most of you are here, my opinions is surely wrong and my taste buds marred by being a Cincinnatian. :P

    jjjrfoodie
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    David_NYC
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/15 01:16:22 (permalink)
    Donw9876,
    You have really started an interesting topic. I have seen other discussions of regional styles of pizza. Since pizza has not been popular that long in the USA, it is often still able to trace who the first few pizza places in an area were. Then, try to find out if the local pioneers were locals, or from another area. If they were from another area, chances are they made their pizza very close to that found where they came from.
     
    Perhaps the local historical society, folklorists, etc. would be able to help you trace the origins of Dayton-area pizza.
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    Soccer862923
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/15 07:24:26 (permalink)
    It's funny how different people can have such a wide range of opinions on different types of pizza. I like pretty much any style pizza so long as it is made well and tastes good.
     
    With regards to "Dayton" Style Thin Crust:
     
    I will come out and say that my favorite is Marion's. I grew up having Marion's after 90% of my soccer games so it has a certain comfort level associated with it and I just think that it tastes good. Don't get me wrong I have had a few bad ones here and there but for the most part their pepperoni just hits the
    spot for me.
     
    I haven't had Cassano's in a long time so I really can't comment on it much but I remember it being very similar to Marion's but just didn't have that flavor profile that I preferred, or more likely used to.
     
    I have had Ron's about a year or so ago and I thought that it was alright. Don't get me wrong it certainly wasn't bad thin crust but again I think the flavor just wasn't there for me. Also didn't help that the service was absolutely terrible.
     
    With regard so "NY Style":
     
    I tried Troni's a week ago and posted my thoughts in the Dayton Regional thread but suffice to say I was really let down by my experience. I just don't understand what all the hoopla and praise is about. I thought that the crust was underflavored and the cheese was lacking in any distinct punch. It had the "gooey" factor but just didn't have much taste to me.
     
    I have had Roc-a-fella's and Flying Pizza and have had some entirely different experiences. I thought that Roc-a-fella's was alright. It had a good flavor and char but didn't wow me. I had Flying Pizza 1 time and can honestly say if I never have another piece again I would be totally ok with that. I hated the fact that it was pre-cooked and then it was reheated as it tasted jus slightly better than frozen to me.
     
    As I posted in the aforementioned Dayton Regional Thread I think the best in Dayton is Johnny's off of 48. I think it had the right mixture of what makes, in my experience, a really good NY style pizza. Good toppings, fresh pizza, a great size, and the right price.
     
    Just my 2 cents.
    #28
    carolina bob
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3420
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/15 07:54:02 (permalink)
    I've only eaten pizza in southwestern Ohio one time, and that was several years ago at the LaRosa's in Harrison, northwest of Cincinnati. It was a mistake that I won't make again. The crust was thick and doughy, and the pizza sauce was unpleasantly sweet. The sausage and cheese were passable at best. A really sad excuse for a pizza. If LaRosa's ever opened a location in the Chicago area, they'd be out of business in less than a week.
    #29
    Russ Jackson
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Theory: Dayton style Pizza is a regional variation on NY Style Pizza 2009/05/15 08:34:13 (permalink)
    Like I stated: I might get cracked on here but Cincy and Dayton Ohio are a Gastronomic Wastelands when it comes to Pizza.

    Also: If Troni's advertized, redecorated, hired some real wait staff, got a higher quality of pepperoni and paid just a little more attention to cooking times. You wouldn't be able to get in. The wait staff are very nice but lack in experience. When a Pizza comes out of the oven it needs to go to the table immediately. It should never sit around...Russ
    #30
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