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!