Perfect Pizza to Replace Thanksgiving Dinner

Perfect Pizza to Replace Thanksgiving Dinner

Chase Shustack, Columnist

It’s almost that time again, where for the span of an entire week you are expected to eat nothing but turkey, mashed potatoes, casseroles combined with ingredients best left separate and some sort of vegetable known only as the yam.

The traditional Thanksgiving may not happen in some households around here due to the pandemic, but dry those teary eyes because I will show you a meal that will not only bring your family together for the holiday, but also one that consists of the classic Thanksgiving staples: meat, bread, and vegetables.

I do speak, of course, of pizza.

I am going to talk about two of my favorite pizza joints this side of the Back Mountain and the different styles of pizza they serve, from the classic New York style to the rustic Old Forge.

Our first stop on our quest is to a little place known as Dino’s Italian Bistro. It’s located right inside the Back Mountain Shopping Plaza right as you enter Dallas proper.

It may look like the unassuming, average Italian-styled pizzeria with slices of pizza in a clear display case and the smell of garlic and oil, but this restaurant proves that looks can be deceiving!

Dino’s Bistro is home to one of the finest slices of pizza I have ever had the blessed fortune to try. The pizza is the classic New York style with a round shape and well-floured crust that you could fold in half like a blasphemous taco.

You’ve probably had this style before at your own local pizza place, but you may also have complaints. The bottom is burnt from being close to the heat, there’s too much sauce and it’s as thin as a piece of cardboard. However, with Dino’s pizza, you can put those fears to bed with a kiss on the head because it’s never burnt or too thin and is the perfect combination of cheese, dough and sauce that somehow manages to be just as good the next day.

Courtesy of Dino’s Pizza

Their pizza has some of the fluffiest, chewiest crust with just the right amount of that satisfying crunch. It also has sauce that adds a subtle spice to the cheese, which is melted to a golden brown and provides that perfect cheese pull that brings to mind youthful birthday parties with a certain robotic rat.

I personally suggest getting two large pies this Thanksgiving, as I can assure you that you will be eating one pie by yourself.

But, let’s say you’re the born-and-bred citizen of the Back Mountain, someone who lives and breathes Luzerne County. You don’t want no stuffy “New Yawk” pizza snob telling you the bones. You want something with heart and you don’t want a small slice but instead a big old cut. Then you must look towards Back Mountain’s own Pizza Perfect.

Courtesy of Dino’s Pizza

Located in good old Shavertown, this pizza place can best be described as a nostalgic walk back down memory lane, from the food to the atmosphere. Old road signs on wood-sided walls for advertisements. A model train runs around the ceiling against a backdrop of a pastoral country valley, and at the booths, you can see a little model town behind the glass of a display case.

A smell of BBQ, hot sauce, and pizza fill the air among good cheer and high spirits. You sit down, order a large tray of pizza and you will be blessed with the epitome of Old Forge pizza.

A thick, light crust that is baked to a caramelized golden brown, slathered in homemade sauce and thick globs of cheese. The rich, sweet sauce adds to the tempting crunch of the sheet-baked crust, and the cheese is a combination of mozzarella and cheddar to form a dripping, gooey ecstasy.

You could order it the classic red with plenty of onions in the sauce, or you could order it white, where the tangy sauce is forgone to better stuff it with more cheese, a variety of heavenly herbs and sinfully delicious spices, and any sort of toppings you want. No matter how you order it, you get the perfect pizza trifecta: crunch, chew and zest.

I recommend you order a tray of Old Forge pizza and a tray of hot wings, and that’s Thanksgiving dinner right there. You can even put some hot wings on your pizza and make it buffalo chicken, if you’d like.

Whether you’re a fan of the city-born thin and crispy New York pie or the hearty and hefty slices of Old Forge, know that no matter what, both pizzas are born from the heart and soul of American ingenuity, the drive to create and do better and to create something that unifies you, me and all of us as one big happy family.

And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?