Author Topic: Sir Pizza/Pizza King  (Read 29078 times)

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Offline suz1998

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Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« on: March 04, 2005, 10:48:45 AM »
Anyone ever heard of these pizza places? I am trying to recreate their pizza. It is kind of unique, very thin and cut into squares. Any input would be welcome.  ;D


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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2005, 03:32:59 PM »
I grew up in Pittsburgh, right around the corner from Sir Pizza.  I don't know of any other locations, so I will assume that you are referring to that one.  I must say after relocating to Boston, and spending a lot of time trying all the famous places between here and New York, I have found nothing else like it.  I have also never found a Sicilian (thick crust) pizza as good as Mama Lucia's.  Actually, I might even prefer Vincent's Pizza Park to Pepe's, Sally's, Di Fara's. Patsy's etc.  I think everyone on this Forum needs to take a trip to the Burgh!  Luckily I get back every now and then to visit my Mom, and Brother, who still live there.  I eat pizza the whole time I am home!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2005, 01:58:47 AM by scott r »

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2005, 05:20:11 PM »
Oops, I sent that one off before I was finished writing.  Here is what I do know about Sir Pizza.  Like most of the pizzerias in Pittsburgh, they seem to just have access to better ingredients than the rest of us.   Stuff like Hormel Rosa, and Mezzo pepperoni (from Ohio), and lots of Great importers of Cheese from Wisconsin, and NY.  I often see cans of Escallop or Stanislaus tomatoes at the Pittsburgh pizzerias.  
A common thread between many of the pizzerias in the area is mixing some fairly mild provolone in with the mozzarella. I would do about 25-35% provolone.  I am pretty sure they do this. Although everyone on this forum is really into the Grande Mozzarella, there are others that you should compare before you decide what is best.  Try the Maggio brand.  It is amazing, and in normal grocery stores in your area.  Also, I actually tend to like the Sorrento brand better than Grande, but that is just my opinion.  Since Sir Pizza is not a greasy, I suspect that they do not use a full whole milk blend.  They probably have some lower fat cheese in there.  I would, however, stick to the whole milk varieties if you want the best flavor and don't mind some oil.
To try to match the Sir Pizza sauce, buy the best non chunky tomatoes you can find, or puree them in a blender.  I highly recommend Escalon.  You can get them at Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. in the strip district, along with all the other ingredients you will need. The sauce is a little sweet and spicy, so adding sugar (I know, sacrilege), pepper flakes, and oregano to the sauce will get you closer.  I have the best luck without cooking the sauce, and letting it sit for a day in the fridge after seasoning to intensify and blend the flavor.  If you don't want to commit to the big cans of wholesale tomatoes, try the Pastene and Hunts brands.  
The crust at Sir Pizza, although a thin and crispy variety, is not like the cracker variety you will find in the recipe section of this website.  To me it seems like more of the traditional NY style crust, but a little crisper.  Maybe you can try coming up with a recipe that is halfway between the two.  The Sir Pizza dough could even be a NY style recipe disguised because they use a roller for the dough.  They apply sauce/cheese all the way to the edge, so there is no raised rim to the crust.  They use a bubble stopper (a plastic spiky roller thing) to make small puncture holes in the dough prior to saucing.  Try using a pizza screen.
I know this seems crazy, but I really think a key to duplicating their pizza is the way they chop the toppings.  Everything but the sausage is diced.  The sausage is shredded.  This just seems to give a different flavor for some reason.  Every bite has a topping in it.
GOOD LUCK, and mail me a pepperoni/green pepper with extra sauce!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2005, 02:01:48 AM by scott r »

Online scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2005, 05:39:20 PM »
Well, I just did a little web snooping, and found out that Sir Pizza is a chain.  It could be in any one of numerous states, so sorry for my ignorance.  I am surprised that they can keep up that quality with a franchise.  Some of the ingredients I mentioned could be tough to find in other states.  I have had good luck calling around to foodservice providers here in Boston and buying in bulk.  Most places will be happy to sell 5 or 6 pounds of cheese at a time, and tomatoes by the case.  You can freeze the cheese, or just have a pizza party for all your friends.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2005, 02:02:21 AM by scott r »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2005, 06:06:48 PM »
Scott,

Have you tried Il Pizzaiolo or Regina Margherita, both of which are in the Pittsburgh area and specialize in authentic Neapolitan pizzas? And, if so, do you have an opinion on those places?

And in the Boston area, which pizza places did you find to be the best? And how is Santarpio's doing these days?

Peter
« Last Edit: March 10, 2005, 06:10:24 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2005, 07:23:31 PM »
In my opinion, Il pizzaiolo makes  the best pizza napoletana in Pittsburg, no dubt.

Their pasta dishes are also sublime. I still remember their Penne alla Siciliana..

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2005, 04:14:01 AM »
Pete,
Unfortunately both of the pizzerias you mentioned have opened since I moved away from Pittsburgh.  Vincent's Pizza Park (The best!), Sir Pizza, Vocelli's, Mama Lucia's (only their Sicilian),and Mineo's are so amazing, that when I get back there to visit I end up wanting to hit them all, and not trying anything new.  I am hoping to try them both on my next visit.  My sister tried Regina Margherita, and said that it tasted exactly like the pizza she had in Italy.  

I am lucky enough to live close to New Haven and New York, and I have to say Pittsburgh is right up there.  Actually, I might prefer the Pittsburgh pizzerias, but that is probably just because it is what I grew up with.  There is something special in a lot of  the crust there.  There is just a wonderful flavor that I have not encountered elsewhere, and it does not come from the smoky char of ultra high heat.

As far as Boston pizza goes, forget about it.  I actually think we have the worst pizzas in the Northeast.  I have lived here for over 10 years, and I swear I have tried every pizzeria at least twice.  I don't know what is wrong with this place.  We have access to the right cheese and tomatoes, we have a large Italian-American Population.  I even have tried all the pizza I can north south, and west, looking for something decent.  I have noticed that in general  the quality of pizza increases as you move to the suburbs North or the West.   Traveling south it gets really rough, unless you like Greek pizza.  Once you get to Rhode Island It gets good again. We all know that once you get to Connecticut it totally rocks.

Where NY has a great Italian street pizza, we have a horrible Greek pizza that is pretty much everywhere.  They use flavorless wonder bread like crust that is left to raise in a pan, low oven temperatures, white cheddar cheese (sometimes mixed with mozzarella if you are lucky), and pretty much no sauce.  The sauce that is there is almost as thin as water. Also, for some reason (and this has been confirmed by the food-service providers around here)  almost everyone uses part skim cheese here. There is not a single pizzeria in the Boston area that uses anything other than cheap bland pepperoni.  Actually there is not even distribution for Ezzo here, and not one of the four largest pizzeria food-service providers carries the Hormel Rosa/Rosa Grande line.  Luckily you can find the Hormel Rosa at Wall mart, of all places, for home made pizzas.  It is pretty much the same as Ezzo.  I have tried them side by side, and the Ezzo wins, but just by a little.

Regina's in the North End is probably the best Italian style pizza we have.  Just make sure you go to that location, and not one of the mall/Fanuel Hall locations.  The North End is our Little Italy, and is absolutely gorgeous.  They have a fairly good sauce, and unlike most places around here they actually put on a decent amount.  The mozzarella seems to be whole milk and has a pretty good flavor.  They have an 80 year old gas fired oven that gets up into the 700's. This place is no Sally's, but at least they seem to care about the ingredients.   They have one pizza, the polo pesto that is out of this world good.  Even though they have only an average (way above average for Boston) crust, sauce, and mozzarella, they have the best ricotta I have ever encountered.  It pretty much tastes like cream cheese.  The pesto is pretty insane as well.  They also have bottles of flavored oil scattered around the pizzeria to add to the pizza.  It has an amazing flavor.  My favorite one seems to contain whole fresh garlic cloves, romano cheese, pepper flakes, and a touch of oregano.  Some of their pizzas have this in place of the red sauce.  The polo pesto pizza has grilled chicken, ricotta, pesto, mozzarella, fresh basil (added after it is out of the oven), and a bruschetta topping for sauce. For those that don't know, bruschetta topping is fresh roma tomatoes marinated in salt, pepper, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil,  and garlic. This pizza is outstanding, and this is coming from someone who likes classic simple pies with few toppings, which this obviously isn't.

Another one of the better places in the city is Santarpios. They have a very basic menu with very few toppings for the pizza.  The toppings are high quality, and they probably have the best sausage and pepperoni you can find around the city.  They also have an old gas oven that can get pretty hot. Unfortunately they use part skim cheese, so the flavor is not quite there. Lucky for them they are using one of the best tasting brands, so even the part skim is passable. They use Pastene tomatoes, which I have found to taste the closest to Escalon. Depending on what day you go, both of these pizzerias are about equal.  Regina has the edge, as far as the more creative toppings go, and that polo pesto masterpiece.

There is a new place with two locations called The Upper Crust that is pretty good.  It is similar in quality to Regina, and Santarpios.  Unfortunately the crust is on the tough side.  The sauce might be the best of the three, with some nice fresh tasting chunks in it. Unfortunately they have dropped the ball on the cheese. Rumor has it that the owner used to be a Pepe's employee, and I believe it because the quality is up there.  They might have even stolen the crust recipe. Unfortunately, I think they need the ultra hot oven to get that dough to work right.  

Another place that comes up all the time on peoples best of Boston pizza lists is Emmas.  They use a crust that is the thinnest and most brittle of any cracker crust variety I have encountered.  They have all kinds of fancy toppings, and interesting cheese choices.  Unfortunately I just can't get over that crust.  I prefer cracker crusts that still have some moisture left in them.

While I am on the subject of cracker crusts, we do have an exceptional version of that one here.  For some reason, it never gets any press, or mention in any of the Boston "favorites" lists.  I highly recommend it.  The place is called Bar 10, and it is in the Westin hotel right in Copley square.  They have an amazing chewy, crisp, ultra thin crust that almost reminds me of an Indian Nan bread crossed with a cracker crust.  Try to get one with the roasted tomatoes.  The cheese is top quality, with a nice buttery flavor.  They finish most of their pizzas with a drizzle of garlic/basil infused oil.  Unfortunately when I crave Pizza I usually want more of a traditional Italian style pie, but this place is definitely worth visiting.

There are two places called New York Pizza that I like, one on Mass Ave, and one on Tremont st. in the theater district.  They are not affiliated with each other. They both sell slices quite late, and are pretty close to your average New York style pizza.  The Mass ave location uses Grande cheese, and might have the edge over the Tremont one, but they are both pretty similar.

There is some really good Italian style pizza north of Boston.  One of the better pizzerias is called Sal's, or Sal's Just Pizza.  I actually think it is as good as the best of the NY street pizzas.  They have a bunch of locations, with the closest being about a half hour drive.  There are some in New Hampshire, as well as Massachusetts.  My wife likes it even better than Regina's.

When I first moved to Boston in 1990, we had an AMAZING pizzeria called Bertucci's.  It was some of the best pizza I have ever had.  Top quality everything.  It was basically an authentic Pizza like what they have in Naples, probably using 00 flour, but with a really high end dry mozzarella instead of fresh.  This is where I saw my first real wood burning oven.  Unfortunately it turned into a chain and the pizza quality dropped dramatically.  Having said that, it is still some of the best pizza you can find around here.

I should probably cover some of the regional pizza styles  that we have here.  People that grew up with these especially go crazy over them.  One style is quite prevalent north of Boston.  I also find this style in the Rhode Island area, although down there it is usually found with a sprinkle of romano or Parmesan instead of mozzarella.  This pizza is usually found in Italian bakery's.  One of the most popular versions is in Lawrence Mass at the Tripoli bakery. It is a square slice, but is not as thick as the typical Sicilian.  Like most Greek and Sicilian style pizza, the dough is left to rise in a pan, but typically the pan is not oiled first.  Tripoli has a REALLY sweet sauce, and offers your choice of mozzarella or provolone cheese.  These pizzas are made in huge sheet pans, and are therefore usually only offered by the slice.  It seems like they have basically designed this pizza to be able to sit out at room temperature for hours and still taste good.  A few of the more popular places,  like Tripoli, offer the slices hot from the oven.

Another regional specialty we have here can be found only in the south, between Boston and Rhode Island.  It is sometimes referred to as pub pizza, or bar pizza.  It is basically a better version of the typical Greek pizza that is found all over the Boston area.  One main difference is that it is only found in one size, small.  The other main difference is that the pan is oiled before the dough is put in.  Like the typical Greek pizza here, it uses a white cheddar/mozzarella blend, and small amounts of thinned out sauce with a healthy dose of oregano in it.  To me all of these places are pretty much the same, but other people have their favorites.  The more popular places are The Town Spa, The Linwood Cafe, Christo's, The Cape Cod Cafe, and Damian's Pub.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2005, 02:13:40 AM by scott r »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2005, 07:11:55 AM »
Scott,
Informative post.

I've often wondered what's so special about a Boston pie. I just knew I never really cared for it. I wanted to be open minded about the differences between my pizza standard (a NY style coal oven pie) and the pitiful excuse I had been served time after time throughout Boston. Now I know why. I thought it was a problem with me so I basically kept quiet about it. I can finally take that chip off my shoulder.

You should consider becoming a regular here. Your insight and passion for what makes pizza special is welcomed.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2005, 10:44:33 AM »
Scott,

That was a great post. Are you into making pizzas with the same passion as you eat them?

Peter

Online scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2005, 12:16:32 PM »
Peter,

I love making pies at home.  I never do small runs on a regular basis like you guys do, but about every other month I throw a huge party and make 16 pizzas.  It is nice, because with those quantities I can get my ingredients from the foodservice providers for much less money.

I went ahead and registered with the forum.  You guys rule. I have learned so much about improving my crust already, and I haven't even dug that far into the older postings.   I am so excited to be able to make a quality dough without refrigeration!!!! As you can imagine, there is not a lot of room for 16 doughs in my fridge when I have these partys.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2005, 03:48:40 AM by scott r »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2005, 01:28:21 PM »
Scott,

I am happy that you have decided to join us at the forum. Just from what you have written so far, eloquently I might add, I am sure you will be able to make a positive contribution to our efforts to make the best pizzas possible. I don't know what kinds of pizzas you are making for your parties, but one of the fascinating areas I have been experimenting with recently is Neapolitan pizzas based on 00 doughs and long fermentation times at room temperature--close to 40 hours. The pizza doughs are utter simplicity, but you have to have a starter (poolish, biga, chef, etc.) to begin with. But no need for refrigeration. I don't know if the Neapolitan style fits the bill for you, but it might be worth exploring.

I'd also love to have you tell us how to throw a pizza party. I opened a thread on the topic a while back, based on my own experiences in making pizzas for a crowd, but I am always interested in hearing how others have done the same. As you know, it can be hard work, so any helpful hints will be well received.

You might want to post a message at the new members link to let our other members know that you have just entered the stage :).

Peter

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2005, 01:35:49 PM »
Yes if we are talking about the same company.  However, I can't write everything I know if it is the same company.

Where did you first see or eat at this pizza store.  There are alot of sir pizza stores, but only one or so that is associated with pizza king.  Or at least to my knowledge.

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2005, 12:26:21 AM »
Scott,
Great post! I too, am on a neverending search for good pizza, particularly north of Boston.  Best I come up with is Reginas too, but I go to the one in Saugus. You warned against the Fanueil/Mall ones, but how does the Saugus and Woburn one compare to the Salem street one? I haven't been in years.. do not like to drive in the city, but if it is a big difference i may force myself to!
Bertucci can be great but it can be bad depending on the day. The other day we had one that was hard as a rock but tasted great. They offered to remake it but we didnt want to bother, and they brought us dessert to make up for it which was really nice of them. Good chocolate torta!
You mentioned north burbs. Any other suggestions there?  My hubby loves Capri in Reading, as do many others. Too saucy and chewy for me..but its pretty good.  We heard that Louies in Woburn was great and tried 5 times to go before we got the hours right and it was a huge disapointment, but we overheard that the kid's mom was away and he was in charge so maybe its better when she is around.Have you tried it?  Supinos (Danvers), Courthouse Pub (peabody), Bellinos (wakefield), Francos (Waltham) and Il Sole (Peabody) have all been decent but still searching! Have you tried those? I tend to like thin, drippy,  a bit oily, melty cheesy, tangy but not overspiced sauce,  almost soggy pizza. (sounds gross when i put it that way!) Reginas comes closest to that for me..Oh yeah, also I get big cravings for a slice of Fauci's sicilian in Lynn. The reheated squares are actually better than getting one fresh.. They are really different but addictive.  The crust is thick and bready but with a really good thin crispy crunch at the bottom and very very cheesy probably cheddar mix. See what you think!
Thanks for info!

Online scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2005, 11:43:48 PM »
Pizzacraver,

I have been to Capri, and agree it is above average. It reminds me of the New York Pizza's I mentioned in Boston.  North of Boston I still prefer Sal's if you get them on a good day.  If you get into making your own pizza's you are going to blow these places out of the water!   Buy the right ingredients, Crank that oven all the way, and read up.  This Forum is amazing.

Because I really miss the Sicilian pizza I had in my youth, I had to try Fauci's today.  Thanks for the tip.  To me it tasted like an ultra high quality dry mozzarella, provolone, and cheddar mix of cheeses.  It was nice, as it seemed to have a high percentage of  mozzarella in it.  That sauce was amazing as well, thick, and they were not at all shy with it.  I think that is the first pizzaria around Boston that I have been to that actually might have had too much sauce for my taste.  On second thought, screw that, it was great!   I will be going back.

Now for my criticism.  They really blew it with the dough.  I know what their problem is.  For some reason, I have noticed that a bunch of the pizzaria's, especially north of Boston, use way too much sugar/sweetener in their dough.  I think they are trying to make up for the lack of flavor they get from inferior dough preparation techniques.  Those sweet pizza doughs, do taste good with a salty cheese, but the problem is that the bottom of the crust  burns way too easily.  Unfortunately this is not anything like the great charred bottom flavor you get from the high end NY/New Haven pizzaria's. Those places have a better quality (and less sweet) dough, and a really hot oven. 

Now, what Fuchi's is doing is using an ultra sweet dough, then just not cooking it long enough to try to avoid the bitter burned bottom.  What I got today was a thick crusted pizza (although not as thick as your typical Sicilian), where half of the dough was uncooked.  That goo layer under the sauce was thicker than a lot of pizzaria's whole crust.  Don't get me wrong, I actually like a little bit of that goo layer, but this was crazy.  This is why you prefer the reheated slices.  The pizza is cooking a little more.

Fuchi's also needs to get  the pan rise/dual bake going that I find necessary for the perfect Sicilian.  I know I put this in another post, but I will mention it again.  First let the dough rise in the pan for a while.  cook the pie with just the sauce on the pizza for a while.  Then put on the cheese/toppings, and maybe a little more sauce for one final bake.

Offline suz1998

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2005, 09:51:12 AM »
This the link of the pizza place that I am trying to recreate. I have the toppings down, but the crust and sauce I can't get the right taste. Any thoughts??

http://www.sirpizzatenn.com/index2.ivnu


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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2005, 10:38:28 AM »
that's the same place I love from pittsburgh.

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2005, 07:11:00 PM »
I was raised in the Pittsburgh area and I have been trying to duplicate it for 30 yrs.  If you learn anything let me know.\
RJS

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Re: Sir Pizza/(Fauci's)
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2005, 02:19:34 AM »
Scott,
Thanks so much for the replies to my post here and on my other post!! Sorry i never got by here more quickly... I feel so honored to have only been here once, and had you go try my recommendation, and better yet, even like it! You are so right about the crust. That IS why i dont buy a pie there, only a reheated slice. The goo is not for me! Neither is the sweet taste... Great story on the other post! I will let you know when I get to Romanos. He sounds great.  I will try to make a pizza soon. Otherwise, tried a couple more places that weren't bad... Mario's in North Reading.  Its a sweet place.. A family run sub shop  that they fixed up with decorations and candles to be a bit romantic with a nice choice of homecooked food. The sicilian scampi was very good too.  The pizza was a bit like Reginas in its style..but one of those pizzas that is only good the first couple minutes out of the oven(like so many of them). I liked it better than Capri.  I actually kinda liked Vinny T's pizza in Liberty Tree Mall, just cuz it was really breadlike and gave my teeth a break  from chewing cardboard pizzas, and it tasted fresh, but i can't quite recall it enuf to describe it.  Probably not a great indication about pizza when you cant quite recall it! Thanks again!

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2005, 04:11:08 PM »
cool, I have a Vinny Testas two blocks away from my apartment, and I didn't even know they made pizza.  Thanks for the tips.

Offline T-Man

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2005, 06:06:59 PM »
Il Pizzaiolo in the Burgh does make a good pie.  It and Mineo's are practically side by side and my office is a block away.  Trouble is I always forget about Il Pizzaiolo and get Mineos.


 

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