By Jack Dawson
Youngstown, Ohio has a lot of pizza places. The area has been known as much for pizza as it has for steel. This pizza culture has ingrained itself into many students’ experiences at YSU.
Avalon Downtown has been serving pizza since the 1920’s. Anne Massullo-Sabella and her husband own Avalon or, “The Av” located on Federal Street. Her grandfather opened the business in the late 1920’s and it was subsequently purchased by her husband’s family in 1970.
“We use quality ingredients, and everything is made from scratch. We have a good time, we enjoy our clientele and customers, we’ve met a lot of people and there’s a nice family atmosphere,” Massullo Sabella said, “Our most popular pizza is our Briar Hill pizza.”
Briar Hill pizza was created in Youngstown in St. Anthony’s Church a few miles from YSU campus.
Michael Liberato owns Belleria Pizza on the northeast side of YSU. Belleria has been in business in the valley for 64 years and the YSU location is the third oldest establishment. The original Belleria was located on Albert Street in Youngtown in 1953.
Liberato’s grandparents started the business and it has been in his family ever since.
“Everything has been handmade here since the beginning, and it still is today,” Liberato said.
Inner Circle Pizza has been a staple on Elm Street since 1972. The business moved a few lots over in the late ‘90’s which shut them down for 18 months, but they’ve been feeding hungry students ever since.
Bill Glenellen manages the Inner Circle on campus, which has locations in Canfield and Poland as well.
“We make our dough fresh every day, and we’ve been using the same recipe since ‘72,” Glenellen said. “And we still use the old brick pizza oven. I think that makes a big difference. A lot of places use the big conveyor ovens; they cook quicker but I think you lose something on the taste.”
The newest pizza place on campus is Republic Pizzeria e Pub. This shop has only been open for four weeks.
Republic is owned and operated by siblings Josh and Candace Santangelo. The siblings grew up in the food industry and have been working in it their whole lives.
“I’ve mostly been in fine dining, but I love pizza. I wanted to take my fine dining experience as a chef and elevate pizza, and make a more artesian pizza,” Josh Santangelo said.
Youngstown offers a variety of styles and flavors when it comes to pizza. Old world style Italian, New York or Chicago. By the slice or the whole pie Youngstown should have a pizza for everyone.