Monday, October 25, 2010

Pittsburgh’s best pizza tour: Beto’s

By Greg

This pizza is very special to me because it is my father’s all time favorite. My dad somehow isn’t overweight despite the fact that he eats pizza every chance that he gets. He grew up near Beto’s and it was always the most desired treat for him and his brothers. It has recently been renovated, which I have mixed emotions about. It looks great, but the old place had the same “pizza parlor” feeling that you get at Fiori’s and Campiti’s. Similarly to those restaurants, you will almost never find Beto’s empty. To complete this review I went at 2pm on a Monday and had to wait for a seat. There were about 25 people eating there and about 10 waiting for takeout. Beto’s has always done a great business and I believe it has a lot to do with the price. A slice of cheese is only $1.15 and it is huge. I’m not a big eater, but two pieces is enough for me. If I’m starving and order three pieces, I feel like I am going to explode afterwards (probably because I just consumed over a pound of cheese).

Ahh, the cheese. The primary cause of a wide variety of opinions about Beto’s pizza. Many despise it and I can understand this view. Beto’s does not put any cheese or toppings on the pizza until it comes out of the oven. When it comes out, the cheese and any toppings you order are then thrown on cold. Just to give you a hint of what this looks like, my dad and I have often said that it would be cheaper to go to Beto’s than Giant Eagle if you need mozzarella. It is seriously unreal how much cheese they put on their pizza. Furthermore, if you want toppings they only cost $0.50 and they load up a slice in the same manner that they do with the cheese. With this knowledge handy, my dad’s trick is to get one slice with black olives and one plain, then put half of the olives on the other slice because this will still provide him with more than enough toppings.

Back in our first pizza review, Jeff enlightened us with the three stages of cheese at Fiori’s. Beto’s pizza experiences a much different process that consists of the two layers of cheese. It’s not as sophisticated, but it still exists. The first layer (the top) is not melted because the cheese is thrown on cold. The second layer (the bottom) is melted because the hot pizza that just came out of the oven has warmed it. The first layer is about three times bigger than the second because they put about six ounces of cheese on each slice. The melted cheese has a much different (and in my opinion much better) taste and consistency than the cold cheese. Nevertheless, each layer is part of Beto’s pizza and that’s not going to change any time soon.

I’m not a huge fan of chunky tomato sauce and that is exactly what Beto’s uses. But for some reason it works. Since their pizza is cooked in a square pan, there are three varieties of crust at Beto’s. This is like a less dangerous version of Russian roulette. Sometimes there is no crust on the pizza. This is kind of a letdown and it also becomes a more messy eating experience. If you get two slices they pretty much always give you at least one piece with crust. The next type of crust they offer is the one-sided crust. This is just enough to keep your hands from being covered in cheese and tomato. One note about the crust is that I have never had it burnt or undercooked at Beto’s. They have this down to a science. The last type of crust you can get is the desired corner piece. This is the holy grail of Beto’s pizza. This piece is often bigger than the middle pieces because they want to make sure they don’t skimp you on the rest of the pizza. The corner crust is a perfect handle to the pizza and can also make up for not having crust on another piece.

The bottom of the pizza is basically the opposite of Sicilian style, thin and crispy. Again, this is never burnt and is always sturdy, which allows you to grip your pizza, especially if it doesn’t have crust on it. The only problem is that due to the insane amount of cheese, stuff falls off every time you bite into the pizza no matter how careful you are. I swear I saw Kardos use a napkin there once. For those of you that don’t know this man, he is the neatest eater I have ever met and the only thing I can compare it to is Inspector 34 from that episode of Pete and Pete.

I don’t really have a favorite style of pizza. If it tastes good, I like it. Sicilian style, Chicago style, New York style, thin crust, thick crust, normal crust, cheese injected in the crust. None of this really matters to me as long as it is delicious and they have their own identity. If a pizza is unoriginal, I don’t really look forward to eating it. What I like are the ones that separate themselves from the norm. Whether you like their pizza or not, Beto’s is definitely unique. No doubt about that.

Final grade: 8 out of 10.

String Cheese Incident – Dudley’s Kitchen


  1. I like how one of the labels for this is Kardos becuase that is who I think of when I hear Betos. I do miss going there before Buccos games.

    PSU/Mich this week doesnt have the same old feel huh Marx? O well, win this week and we are bowl bound, wooo. Go Blue

  2. Nice review Marx. There must be something about the Dormont area, it's like a Mecca for pie.

  3. I'm getting sick just looking at that picture.

  4. Roarty - Yeah, to me the same old feel is getting beaten by Lloyd. The last two have felt weird. It's fun to get a winning streak going against Michigan, but it has come with an empty feeling since they have been so bad.

    This one should be interesting. Any other year I would have faith that our defense can bring Shoelace down to Earth, but our tackling has been an issue, so I'm not very confident.

    Let's go Matt McGloin!

    Joe - Thanks. I agree... Dormont = pizza.