On the Road with Mike

John Quagliata, whom I affectionately call Q, owns Crostatas in Cleveland and makes the best Neapolitan-style pizza in Ohio. He had a wood-burning oven hand-built for his restaurant by Italian craftsmen from Naples and prides himself on serving up authentic thin-crust pizza among other rustic delicacies. Though I’ve been a fan of Crostatas since it opened in 2008, one thing has always perplexed me: Q’s refusal to put pepperoni on top of my pizza. In fact, Q refuses to put pepperoni pizza on his menu at all.

In her New York Times article “Pepperoni: On Top,” Julia Moskin sheds some light on this matter, and I finally understand why Q won’t let me have my pepperoni pizza. Turns out pepperoni is an Italian-American creation, not an authentic Italian ingredient. So now I get where Q is coming from. Though I’m disappointed that his zero tolerance policy for pepperoni has been validated, I look forward to trying a couple of the pizzerias mentioned in the article next time I’m in New York City, both of which serve pepperoni pizza.

Crostatas' traditional brick oven pizza prepared the way Q says it's supposed to be: without pepperoni!


  1. joe pedone says:

    Personally I’ve never been a pepperoni fan on pizza…traditional PIZZA is a thing of beauty…..great sauce…not too much spice….thin crust and plenty of cheese…well that’s perfection..however a little diversion would be some sausage or possibly some fresh mushrooms… Q just got my vote for keeping it Italiano…….

    • Mike Fratello says:

      Hey Joe, thanks for visiting the site – appreciate it. But regardless Joe, you’re still never picking a restaurant for us again.

  2. Kimberly Frenden says:

    Wine and Dine With Mike Fratello? Fortunate enough to say “been there, done that!” Yes, I havve to say the food was delicious and John was a wonderful host to Gina and me. But bring your own pepperoni!

    • Mike Fratello says:

      Great to hear from you Kim. I heard about the big night and your drop-in visit to Crostatas, which must have made John very happy. Sorry I missed you but I was out of town. Hopefully we’ll all have the opportunity to get back there and see each other again soon. Stay in touch.

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