I am a staunch critic of the pizza scene in Pittsburgh.
It seems like there is a standard recipe that every pizzeria in the city uses when making their pies. The crusts are all the same, the sauce is the same, and the preparation style is virtually all the same.
The pizzas are all good enough when you want a quick meal, but when you go to different shops you really can't say much to distinguish them from each other.
Sure, there are places to get a good pizza at a restaurant that isn't a pizzeria (La Tavola, anyone?), but when it comes to takeaway from a dedicated pizza shop the options for something astounding are few and far between.
It is because of this reason that we don't write about most of the pizzas we order in Pittsburgh on this site as most all of them would have the same exact summary.
For us to talk about pizza it needs to be something special, and we thought Spak Brothers in Garfield would be just that.
Spak Brothers is Just Like the Rest
Spak Brothers is generating a lot of buzz on the pizza scene as being the next big thing, and we were beyond eager to check out this new business in Garfield- a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that is at the early stages of its business revival.
The setup for Spak Brothers gives you great hope.
It is gritty– the facade and interior is covered with graffiti and artwork.
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It is trendy– it is packed with college students.
It has a twist– vegan items are plentiful on the menu.
These are typically good signs that a restaurant is going to do something different and be special. Unfortunately for the pizza, it is not much different than the rest.
If you are vegan or have dietary restrictions, odds are good that you will fall in love with Spak Brothers as they have options to cater to your needs when other pizza shops drop the ball. But if you can enjoy pizza at any given pizza shop, you will not find anything different from the pie here other than possibly less grease and a larger bill.
Apart from those, the pizza follows the same recipe as every other place we've tried. This is not saying that the pizza is bad, it is just not different, and we were longing for more.
Spak Brothers Excels in Sides and Non-Pizza Dishes
The one saving grace of Spak Brothers is not in their pizza, but is in fact with the sides.
Our first order included a side of chicken wings with their homemade barbecue sauce. The wings were not just a tiny drumstick, but were instead the entire monstrous wing (try eating six of them, I dare you) and the barbecue sauce was worth the trip.
In watching other sides and non-pizza meals being prepared, including their massive hoagies, I can safely say that Spak Brothers makes up for their pizza with an astounding list of side options that most pizza shops don't give a second thought over.
But is that enough to warrant a visit? I'm not so sure if you are not a vegan and need to make the trip for your diet.
But if you do find yourself wanting to try this pizza out during your next trip around Garfield, be sure to pick up a few sides to make the experience just a bit more unique than your corner pizza store. Otherwise, you may just want to wait until you get home and get a slice there instead.
Spak Brothers is located at 5107 Penn Avenue in Garfield.
For more pizza in Pittsburgh, click the previous link to check out our reviews of every shop we've visited so far!