Update: In late 2017 The Upper Crust closed its standalone restaurant in Washington, PA. Most of their menu is now available at The Washington Brewing Company located at 28 E Maiden Street nearby- owned and operated by the same team. Our review is based off of the standalone location; however, we have no reason to anticipate a different experience at their new location.
We recently spent an afternoon in Washington, PA, for a tour of Liberty Pole spirits, and when we asked around for the best place to grab some dinner, the response was unanimous: The Upper Crust. This family-owned Italian restaurant definitely lived up to the hype, serving us some of the best pizza we've had in recent memory.
As soon as we stepped into this place, we had a feeling it was going to be great. This restaurant feels almost like an old school diner with no-frills tables and chairs and a tile floor. When the waitresses told us all about their homemade pizzas – they make the dough from scratch and have their own wood-fired oven – we knew we had made the right choice coming here.
The menu is a mix of salads, starters like fried zucchini and greens and beans, pastas like housemade gnocchi and spaghetti and meatballs, sandwiches, and, of course, pizzas. There's a list of specialty pizzas including a four cheese, prosciutto and arugula, supreme, and margherita, just to name a few, or you can build your own.
Helpful Staff for First-Timers Like Us
When we told our waitress we'd never been there before, she gave us a good overview of the menu with some great recommendations. We decided on the polpette di ricotta for a starter, and the primavera pizza.
The polpette starter was a plate full of housemade meatballs topped with a chunky tomato sauce and dollops of ricotta. The meatballs were everything you want in a meatball: well-seasoned, rich, tender, and juicy. The tomato sauce and ricotta were perfect, and an olive oil-based herb sauce drizzled on top added some brightness.
The instant our pizza came out we were in awe and knew we had ordered wisely. The primavera pizza is topped with tomato sauce and cheese as well as fresh tomato, spinach, roasted garlic, roasted red peppers, and ricotta cheese. It was simply beautiful, with nice bubbles of charred dough popping up, and the contrasting red, green, and white colors of the toppings almost making it too pretty to eat. But we couldn't resist the smell for very long.
The Pizza Was Practically Perfect
This pizza had everything we love: crust with a crispy bottom that's not too thick and not too thin, sauce that has flavor but doesn't overpower, and enough toppings to keep the pie saucy but not soggy.
The roasted garlic subtly permeated the whole pie. The ricotta was so creamy and rich and added another dimension of flavor. The roasted red peppers gave just a hint of sweetness. And the tomatoes and spinach provided a fresh flavor to keep everything from getting too heavy, along with a drizzle of the herbed olive oil that made an appearance on the polpette. We were in love.
But Save Room for Dessert, too!
We kept hearing everyone around us talk about dessert, and kept seeing the beautiful slices of cheesecake and pies being served. When we asked about the desserts our waitress proudly told us which ones were homemade.
We really liked the sound of the strawberry daiquiri cheesecake, which wasn't made in house, but the waitress told us that the owner is very particular about where they get the desserts they don't make in house. She assured us it was equally delicious, and it was – super creamy without being too sweet or too rich. We gushed to our waitress about how delicious it was and asked where it came from. She was sweet enough to get the owner to tell her their secret supplier. (Don't worry, we won't tell!)
We loved the service here as it made us feel like family. But above all, the pizza was simply outstanding. If you are ever in the neighborhood, we highly recommend making a stop here. You won't regret it.
While you're down in Washington, be sure to check out Liberty Pole Spirits just down the road!
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