Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on June 5, 2023.
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Our love affair with Iron Born began pretty much on day one when their concept launched at Smallman Galley (now closed).
At first, we were suspect of the concept of Detroit-style pizza, because it sounded like an unusual attempt to improve upon Chicago deep dish. But after our very first bite, we were very, very happy to say that we were wrong.
Now Iron Born not only has a die-hard following at their brick and mortar stores in Millvale and the Strip District!
Iron Born Delights with Detroit Style Pies
If you are not familiar with Iron Born, you may be asking- what are Detroit style pizzas, exactly?
The answer is pretty simple. These pies are dough-centric and offer a thick crust that is baked in an 8×10 pan. Ample toppings are loaded on top, often inverted with cheese on the bottom and sauce above, and served in six cuts that are, to be quite honest, large enough to be two meals for all but the extremely hungry.
Naturally, this is the exact opposite of what we were expecting in comparing it to a Chicago deep dish- Detroit style is thick in crust and Chicago style is thick in toppings and sauce. And what a crust it is!
There is something about biting into the crust of a Detroit style pie that we absolutely adore. When done well it has a nice crunch on the bottom, a somewhat doughy center, and crispy cheese bits on the edge that gives it a unique texture and flavor profile we crave time and time again.
While we've eaten our way through the Iron Born menu countless times at their Smallman Galley stall, during our first visit to their brick and mortar store we picked up their White Pizza (topped with roasted tomato, onion jam, ricotta, and lemon arugula) and the Commonplace Coffee Pie (topped with smoked mojo pork, coffee barbecue sauce, bourbon pickled jalapenos, and red onion)- two of our all-time favorites.
We may gush about the dough of Detroit style pizza all day, but Iron Born has really mastered the game in flavor combinations as the white pizza somehow managed to be light and delicate with a nice citrus flavor from the arugula, while the Commonplace Coffee Pie was full of intense flavors we expect from any meat pizza.
Visit the Strip District Store for a Full Bar Menu and Pasta Program
In late 2019, Iron Born opened a location in Pittsburgh's Strip District with an expanded menu beyond pizza which includes pasta, mores sides, and a full bar program (including cocktails and several taps of local beer).
The pasta menu is set up as a build-your-own style menu with several pastas, sauces, and optional toppings to choose from. While we do wish there would be a few premium, pre-made options for those who are indecisive (looking at us here), you really can't go wrong with any of the combinations that you put together.
But whatever you do, consider getting a dollop of ricotta with herbs added onto it- this one really made our dish!
Iron Born Has a Number of Sides as Well
If you are in the mood for sides, Iron Born's has a number of options for you, ranging from homemade chips with caramelized onion dip, wings, to even desserts like cannoli.
We sampled an order of the dozen wings, which are in fact six full-size wings with the drumette and wingette together, in their sweet and tangy sauce. Unlike most wing orders, these are roasted and are not super crispy, but have a really nice flavor (just be sure to ask for extra sauce, you'll definitely want it).
Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it), Iron Born forgot a wing and offered to give us a cannoli instead so we didn't have to wait for it to be cooked. Naturally, we were quite happy with this and finished the meal out with the puffy and thick cannoli. A great way to round out a feast of one of our favorite pizzas in Pittsburgh!
Do yourself a favor and check out Iron Born as soon as you can!
Iron Born is located at 413 Grant Avenue in Millvale and 1806 Smallman Street in the Strip District.
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