Groupon leads us to North Canton to a pizza shop. Not many food
options cooking on Groupon lately. I had minimal expectations. I
left more impressed than I would have thought possible. Pulling into
the strip plaza didnít heighten anticipation, given the teeny
frontage of the space. The three folks behind the counter with the
two deck ovens seemed to be your typical pie slingers. We were
trying to decide which of the three booths to occupy when they
noticed we had walked in and offered us a menu.
The dude asked if we had any questions while we were pursuing the menu and we later learned heís the owner. I was looking at other-than-pizza options until we saw the haphazard sign in the window stating they had just been voted the best pizza in Stark County. He suggested a number of things from different parts of the menu and once we had decided, we stepped to the counter to deliver our typically ridiculous order.
This was when things started to change. I wanted to try something
made in house so we ordered their slaw. It was then we discovered
the slaw isnít the only thing they are making from scratch. Sauce, I
think crust, meatballs. When Steph asked if she could have her extra
meatball in the ziti unsliced, the owner gushed with pride about
someone trying his homemade meatball. It was a nice thing to see.
They donít make their own breadÖthey get it from the bakery down the
plaza a ways, we saw the delivery. So all told, we ordered the slaw,
a small pizza, the ziti, a Panini and dessert. We ended up bring a
few meals home.
Small SMOG Pizza
Fresh Ingredients, Piping Hot, Excellent Combo
The slaw is simple but very nice. Sliced cabbage, light vinaigrette,
celery seeds. Thatís it. The pizza arrived next. A small S.M.O.G.
(sausage/mushroom/onion/green peppers) which the menu states is a
New York favorite. The crust has a yeasty bite and serious chew, the
toppings were being sliced fresh while we were watching the pizza
being put together. The sauce isnít overly sweet or acidic or
herbaceous, it hits many notes without standing out in any. Put it
on serious crust, imbue it with super fresh ingredients, top it with
mozzarella, provolone, then bake. When finished, dust with grated
parmesan and pecorino romano cheeses. Viola. Best pie in Stark
County. It is very well done.
Pasta Bowl Great, Except For Over-Cooked Noodles
Not Sure How These Keep Their Shape
The Ziti Bolognese comes with the homemade marinara and a splash of
cream, two sausages, one crumbed, one sliced, and the aforementioned
meatball. The pasta was definitely overdone. The sauce was tasty
with a bit of spice pushing through the tomato and cream. The two
sausages were flavorful. The meatball was undeniably nice. So little
binder it struggled to maintain itís orb-like countenance, quickly
surrendering once itís delivered to your pie hole. It just dissolved
into a lightly seasoned meaty detonation. Serious work in a pizza
shop, if only the pasta was more towards al dente, this would have
been a great dish.
...Look Out Pittsburgh
On the heels of the pasta came the sandwich and this thing is a
monstrosity. The Italian version consists of genoa salami, ham,
mortadella, pepperoni, provolone, seasoned fries, the homemade slaw,
lettuce, onion, tomato, an Italian vinaigrette and a pickle spear.
For me, the celery seeds in the slaw are a distraction in the
sandwich, but that is a personal preference. Past that, if you enjoy
Primantiís sandwiches with the fries and slaw packed in with the
rest of the goodies, you will enjoy this thing. Nice bread, toasted
mid-brown, classic Italian meats, cheese, veg, then the slaw and
fries, it works for many reasons.
We had three to go containers. We were bloatedÖbut there are cannoli on the menu. Somehow, the gods decided to reward our gluttony with amazing treats. If you order cannoli, be prepared to give them a couple of minutes to fill them fresh, as God intended. The menu describes them as Brooklyn style. Iím not sure what that means, but these things are glorious. The incredibly crunchy cookie reeks of spice that seems to be lacking in other versions. I am used to mascarpone filling but theirs has a chocolate chip and cream cheese mix filling the tube. I thought I would miss the mascarpone but it turns out the difference is really negligible, a little extra tang and less texture but I didnít object to either. Both ends of the dessert are smeared with the nutty/chocolaty nutella. Thereís nothing about this little nugget that would make you regret ordering one of these, except for not ordering two. Demicoís turns out to be some folks who take their food and their customers seriously, and it shows.