When you drive south out of Scranton in the evening, opportunities to eat Old Forge style pizza abound; the subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences among the favored places are the stuff of great culinary discernment. Many years ago, in the Roadfood.com pizza forum, a contributor who went by the name stanpnepa identified “the round slightly-burnt cheese pies of Scranton, the Sweet Sauce round pies of Wilkes-Barre, and the Polish-inspired (that is deep fried) square and oniony Victory Pig (Wyoming) style too.”
Pizzaphiles who pass through during the day, however, will find their ability to sample this profusion severely limited. Many of the best-known ovens are fired up only evenings, and not every day of the week. Salerno’s, for instance, is open for lunch but does not serve the white pizza for which it’s better known until after 5pm.
The good news is that any time you cruise through Moosic, Pennsylvania, with a hankering for the locally-beloved style of pizza, you can get it at Genotti’s: from seven in the morning to six in the evening. “We’re not like the night places,” says Vince the proprietor as his wife Linda boasts to us that it was she who made that day’s breakfast pizza. Its toppings include fluffy scrambled eggs, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, and sausage or bacon. A more traditional choice for later in the day (at least for around here) is white pizza, which has no sauce but is topped with mozzarella and provolone and – if Linda has anything to say about it – American cheese with a sprinkle of rosemary. Other specialties of the house include the Old-Forge double-crust style pie sandwiching thin-sliced steak and cheese like a pizzafied version of a Philly cheese steak, Texas wiener pizza topped with cut-up frankfurters and chili sauce, and wing pizza heaped with pulled chicken meat and hot sauce.
Aside from unusual toppings, what makes Genotti’s pizzas peculiar is what distinguishes Old Forge style pizza in general: the crust. It is as thick as Texas toast, light and airy with a subtle crunch, vaguely reminiscent of the Greek-style crust we know from the fringes of New Haven’s pizza scene. It is the foundation for pizzas that are, in our experience, as un-Italian as pizza can possibly be. We don’t mean that it a bad way. We see Old Forge pizza as a different food group altogether.
Genotti’s is not a restaurant. It is a convenience store, slurpees and jerkies and all, but it does have three little tables by the window where you can bring your pizza slices and a beverage from the refrigerator case and have a meal unique to this small part of the world.