For most native Pittsburgher's, you say the name Beto's and a wide range of emotions come up. This local Pittsburgh pizza joint is considered by many to be an institution, on par with the likes of Primanti Brothers. And just like Primanti Brothers, this pizza shop has its own way of doing things which, thankfully, does not include putting french fries on top of their pies.
At Beto's the toppings are served cold, ensuring that this will be the most unusual pizza you'll ever try.
Over the decades the community has divided into a “love-it, hate-it” mentality, and for a pizza as unusual as this there is really no middle ground to stand on. After much prodding from the “love-it” half of our readers, we made a visit to try the pizza for ourselves.
Explaining What Beto's Pizza Is
Before we give our opinion of Beto's Pizza, which I am sure is going to infuriate half of our audience no matter what we say, we have to summarize what the pizza is like for those who have never heard of it before.
As stated above, Beto's serves their toppings cold (other than meats such as sausage which do require cooking). This means their preparation technique is different from most.
Beto's serves their pizza by the “cut,” which is an approximately 4″ square piece of pizza that comes out of a massive 28 square “tray.” The base dough and sauce gets cooked in an oven, and each serving is prepared individually as you order.
This makes ordering a bit tricky as the pricing is by the cut (which includes copious amounts of cold cheese), plus extra for each ingredient added. So on one hand your order will be quite lengthy, but on the other you get the benefit of being able to try a lot of combinations in one shot as well.
Considering a cut plus three toppings runs about $3, it is also a fairly incredible deal no matter how you look at it as two slices will leave most stuffed beyond belief.
Is Beto's Delicious? When We're in the Mood
Overall, we have to admit that we fall into the rare group of people who are middle-of-the-road in our opinion of Beto's.
We are firmly in the camp of cold toppings on a pizza is weird.
The best way to describe it is like if you had a piece of pizza that didn't get reheated all the way in the microwave. The bread and sauce are warm, and the toppings are not, and makes for a rather unusual dynamic between the two.
But instead of having cold vegetables that were previously cooked, most of the vegetable toppings here are served raw- even the onions. The crust and sauce was plenty hot, but everything else was not- except for a limited amount of cheese that melts as the pizza sits.
As I actually quite enjoy my reheated pizza like this, it did bring back some good memories even if they are for unusual reasons.
But how does it taste?
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The sauce on Beto's pizza is among the better sauces you'll find in pizzerias as it contains chunky tomatoes and had a slightly sweet taste to it, which we fully appreciate. The crust also resembles more of what I'd expect on a deep dish than most traditional pizzas in the city which is a welcomed change of pace.
I am sure this one is needed not only from a taste standpoint, but also to hold up to the stack of toppings which the restaurant is famous for.
My main sticking point on Beto's is not that the pizza is bad- far from it. It is just that I'm not sure I'll ever have a craving for cold toppings on a pizza.
I adore the copious amounts of cheese, but at the same time this one is a place that I have to be in a certain mood to seek out.
Considering that this restaurant is so evenly divided between the two extreme viewpoints, I'll err on the side of caution and call this one a positive.
Should you go out and try Beto's Pizza? Absolutely.
Just know going in that this one isn't for everyone and you may fall into the half of the population that doesn't like it. If you're more than okay with that possibility, it is a worthy option if you're in the mood try out a new pizza joint that is vastly different from the rest.
Beto's Pizza is located at 1473 Banksville Road in Beechview.