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 Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"?

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sourdough

  • Total Posts: 7
  • Joined: 6/1/2007
  • Location: Marysville, WA
Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Fri, 06/1/07 2:42 PM (permalink)
Hi, All!
I'm excited to find this website! I have been on a quest for many years and I'm thinking that maybe you guys can help me!

Some of my best memories of my childhood center around spending summers with my mother's parents in NE PA... and in the late 50s, early 60s, that was a big deal because we lived in Oregon! Grandpa would send me down to Tommy's Pizza on Wyoming Ave off of Schooley Street in Exeter (across the river from Pittston) with a few dollars and I would bring home 12 cuts of WONDERFUL cheese pizza! I'm sure my love for this pizza is colored by the happiness of the time, so I have been trying to replicate that pizza at home for many years but can't figure out WHAT it was that made it SO different! It had an unusual flavor that I have only tasted in one other product: Pizza flavored Bugles Snacks from the late 60s. I read with great interest the thread about Victory Pig pizza... and threw a pizza on the grill last night with oil in the sheet pan... lots of onions in the sauce and just a little oregano... and I got closer! Any suggestions out there?? I LOVE to make pizza at home... both in the oven on my stone and on the grill! Talk about comfort food... and food porn... all rolled into one pie! I am a true foodie (was a deli manager for an upscale Puget Sound grocery chain for MANY years!) and so would love to help with any food questions in return for help with this pizza quest! And BTW, I have ditched cornmeal as my peel "greaser"... I now use RICE FLOUR, which gives a nice little crunch without that burned cornmeal flavor from the hot stone! Anyway, sorry to be so windy... I'll keep it shorter next time!
 
#1
    porkbeaks

    • Total Posts: 2201
    • Joined: 5/6/2005
    • Location: Hoschton/Braselton, GA
    RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Fri, 06/1/07 5:06 PM (permalink)
    Another great site to get pizza info is here. Welcome to Roadfood! pb

    http://www.pizzamaking.com/
     
    #2
      sourdough

      • Total Posts: 7
      • Joined: 6/1/2007
      • Location: Marysville, WA
      RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Fri, 06/1/07 5:57 PM (permalink)
      TY, porkbeaks!!
      That looks like a great site and I will be signing up shortly! But first, I need to lurk around this site a little more since I am addicted to all kinds of food... not just pizza! I have traveled back and forth across this U.S. (and Canada) MANY times and have enjoyed MUCH roadfood, from little mom and pop's to the chains... and everything in between! I've been surprised many times, both happily and horribly! What a fun ride!!

      TY again for the post!
      sd
       
      #3
        bethgrd

        • Total Posts: 320
        • Joined: 2/15/2004
        • Location: framingham, MA
        RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Fri, 06/1/07 6:19 PM (permalink)
        Tommy's pizza was on Wyoming Ave in Kingston. In Exeter , there is Sabatino's pizza; i think you are confused. I grew up there.
         
        #4
          sourdough

          • Total Posts: 7
          • Joined: 6/1/2007
          • Location: Marysville, WA
          RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Fri, 06/1/07 7:33 PM (permalink)
          Hi, bethgrd!
          I don't know if I'm confused or my cousin is... she lived back there, both in Exeter and Wyoming (she now lives in NJ)...and used to go with me to the pizza place when I was too young (mid-50s!) to go by myself! She says it was called Tommy's and is now Pizza L'oven... They're at 1259 Wyoming Ave in Exeter right between Schooley St (my grandparents lived on Schooley, one block up from Wyoming) and Orchard Ave. The last time I was there was 1966... and Pizza L'oven bought them out in the mid-70s. That's all I know except that my cousin said that Tommy's was a renegade... they put ONIONS in their sauce! But, what I'm really trying to figure out is WHAT ELSE did they put in there?

          Thanks for the post!
          sd
           
          #5
            stanpnepa

            • Total Posts: 574
            • Joined: 11/23/2001
            • Location: Wyoming (Scranton/Wi, PA
            RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Fri, 06/1/07 8:36 PM (permalink)
            I grew up less than five blocks away from 1259 Wyoming Avenue in Exeter!

            When I was a kid, in the 70's and very early 80's, the business there was was Bernie's Restaurant. Bernie took over Tommy's in the mid-late 60's and this place specialized in burgers, dogs and pizza. The same pizza can now be found at (Bernie's) Villa Foglia, two blocks north on Wyoming Ave. He uses his mom's recipe for the Calabrese pizza sauce. This is basic pizza (square tray) elevated by the simple yet very solid sauce. You can also get some very good Italian dishes. The pizza is NOT however like Victory Pig at all.

            Victory Pig (Wyoming) and Pizza L'Oven (now at 1259 Wyoming Avenue, about 1/2 mile North of Sabatini's) specialize in an oily (that's a compliment), slightly tomatoey, very oniony pizza. It's truly unique to our area and quite addictive. That said, I'd say that the best Pizza in this style is Pizza Perfect in Trucksville. Even better than a hot pie is a few cuts cold for breakfast the next morning.

            The Tommy's Pizza you remember did have a revival in Pittston a decade or so ago. My dad and I did take out a few times (I don't think there were any tables), and I do remember liking it fine, but sadly, can't recall it all that well. We have a plethora of great pizza places in this region. I'll ask Dad and see if I can get some more info.

            Oh, and Tommy's Pizza Corner on Market Street in Kingston is entirely unrelated.

             
            #6
              sourdough

              • Total Posts: 7
              • Joined: 6/1/2007
              • Location: Marysville, WA
              RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Sat, 06/2/07 1:20 PM (permalink)
              Thanks for the info, stanpnepa! And any more that you can find out from your dad would be greatly appreciated! I have a big Webber kettle and I used a full sheet pan with probably a half cup of canola oil (so the dough fried in the pan) and about a pound of dough (not enough). Sauce was simple... crushed tomatoes with LOTS of finely chopped white onion and some kosher salt. Cheese was sharp white cheddar mixed with mozz, then sprinkled with dried oregano. This got me closer than I have ever gotten before! And YES, a couple of cuts cold was my breakfast the next morning!! YUM!! And, DH is sure happy that I'm on this quest because he loves my homemade pies, no matter WHAT I try!

              TY again, stanpnepa!
              sd
               
              #7
                Mosca

                • Total Posts: 2929
                • Joined: 5/26/2004
                • Location: Mountain Top, PA
                RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Sun, 06/3/07 5:44 PM (permalink)
                sourdough,

                Try mixing Monterey Jack cheese in with your mozzarella. The cheese should be a little milder and creamier than the sharp cheddar.

                Stan, sometimes I prefer Pizza L'oven, sometimes I prefer Pizza Perfect. My wife strongly prefers Pizza L'oven. I get mine at the ice cream stand on 309 in the Back Mountain.
                 
                #8
                  sourdough

                  • Total Posts: 7
                  • Joined: 6/1/2007
                  • Location: Marysville, WA
                  RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Sun, 06/3/07 8:04 PM (permalink)
                  thanks, mosca!

                  I have been doing even more web-snooping this weekend and found that jack is a prefered cheese for this type of pizza, so I bought a chunk yesterday! Glad to know that I wasn't off base! That will be my next iteration! I got the sharp white cheddar idea from the Victory Pig thread on this site... but the pizza still wasn't quite right, albeit much closer than I have ever gotten!

                  Talked to my mom today... she was born on Schooley Street (late 20s) in Exeter and lived there for the first 23 years of her life... she was amazed at the people you can connect with on the internet! Now she's wondering if stanpnepa's family knew her family as he lived so close to where she did! I told her..."let's just stick to figuring out the pizza for now, mom!" since SHE is WAITING "patiently" for me to make her a Tommy's pie!!
                   
                  #9
                    Jimeats

                    • Total Posts: 3175
                    • Joined: 8/15/2005
                    • Location: Ipswich Ma
                    RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Tue, 06/5/07 9:28 AM (permalink)
                    sourdough, love the user name.

                    I am a big fan of sourdough and recently ran across an article on the web that sourdough pizza has some sort of added health qualitys to it.
                    Wish I could remember exactly what news source it came from. I plan on trying a pizza useing this method. I'm tired of discarding my unwanted starter, so this might work. Chow Jim
                     
                    #10
                      porkbeaks

                      • Total Posts: 2201
                      • Joined: 5/6/2005
                      • Location: Hoschton/Braselton, GA
                      RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Tue, 06/5/07 9:45 AM (permalink)
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by Jimeats

                      sourdough, love the user name.

                      I am a big fan of sourdough and recently ran across an article on the web that sourdough pizza has some sort of added health qualitys to it.
                      Wish I could remember exactly what news source it came from. I plan on trying a pizza useing this method. I'm tired of discarding my unwanted starter, so this might work. Chow Jim


                      There is a lot of discussion of sourdough applications at pizzamaking.com. Try a "sourdough" search over there for a lot of info. Also check the "glossary" for correct terminology as sourdough pertains to pizza. One such term is "Levain".


                      LEVAIN: A French term for a natural preferment that is essentially synonymous (in the U.S.) with sourdough. It is a culture of a naturally-occurring (wild) yeast and bacteria that can leaven and flavor a bread or pizza crust. It is refreshed periodically by replacement of a part of the culture by new flour and water, and a portion of the refreshed culture is allowed to ferment and mature (ripen) before incorporating into the final dough. The remainder of the culture is used to begin the next batch of dough. A levain, or "sourdough," can be perpetuated for many years, even centuries for certain highly-stable strains.



                      I haven't tried this yet myself mostly because I'm a tad lazy and also because I use a "retarded rise" dough that uses a small amount of yeast and is allowed to "ferment" in the fridge for up to 6 or 7 days yielding a beautiful dough that's very easy to work and has more flavor. pb
                       
                      #11
                        sourdough

                        • Total Posts: 7
                        • Joined: 6/1/2007
                        • Location: Marysville, WA
                        RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Tue, 06/5/07 6:02 PM (permalink)
                        Hey, jimeats and porkbeaks!
                        Thanks for the posts!

                        Sourdough baking is one of my passions, just like pizza! I have captured my own "Puget Sound" strain, which I am working on developing into a more sour strain. It has produced some nice loaves so far... nice rise, nice oven-spring, crisp yet chewy crust with great crumb. Besides developing the flavor, I am next going to set about using it for pizza. I'm thinking that a flavor boost from my starter + a nice long cold ferment will really help my pizza. I've also set a dried sample to Bev Collins (pizzaria secrets author) and she reports that it traveled well and has produced some great loaves out in the mid-west.

                        And yes, jimeats, I have read also that sourdough of any kind (i.e. bread, pizza dough etc) is better for you than regular white bread and is almost as healthy as whole grain bread. Make mine SOURDOUGH!!

                        I don't know if Tommy's (Pizza L'oven) used any kind of natural yeast or cold retard, but it's worth a try just to see if it helps at all!

                        pb, I'm surprised that you can wait 6-7 days to make pizza! Of course, you could always have doughs in the fridge in various stages of the process, I guess, as long as you date the container so you know which one to use first!

                        Thanks for your comments!
                        ~sd
                         
                        #12
                          porkbeaks

                          • Total Posts: 2201
                          • Joined: 5/6/2005
                          • Location: Hoschton/Braselton, GA
                          RE: Tommy's Pizza (now Pizza L'oven) "secret"? Tue, 06/5/07 6:25 PM (permalink)
                          quote:
                          Originally posted by sourdough

                          Hey, jimeats and porkbeaks!
                          Thanks for the posts!..........
                          pb, I'm surprised that you can wait 6-7 days to make pizza! Of course, you could always have doughs in the fridge in various stages of the process, I guess, as long as you date the container so you know which one to use first!

                          Thanks for your comments!
                          ~sd


                          I'm just saying that the dough can last "up to" 6-7 days in the fridge. I usually plan ahead so that I use it at day 4 or 5. pb
                           
                          #13
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