A few miles outside of Scranton lies the tiny town of Old Forge, Pennsylvania. With a population of only 8000, to say that Old Forge is off the beaten path is an understatement. But those who have tried the community’s unique version of the pizza pie keep coming back for more.
Just one thing: don’t call it a pie. Old Forge pizza is baked on a rectangular tray, and you don’t get a slice—you get a cut. “Sometimes people call and order a pie and we go, Do you want apple or blueberry?” says Angelo Genell, of Arcaro & Genell, one of the city’s many family-owned 'pizza cafes.' (It’s estimated there is one restaurant for every 700 Old Forge residents.)
When ordering a tray in Old Forge, you choose a red or a white. The crust is thick but not dense, and crispy on the outside but chewy inside. Red pizzas have a slightly sweet, tomato-based sauce, a special (and secret) blend of cheeses and your topping of choice. White pizzas have a top and bottom crust, but no sauce—just the same gooey cheese blend featured on the red tray and whatever other fillings you fancy, plus herbs and olive oil sprinkled on the top crust.
The tray-style pizza got its start in 1926, when 'Grandma' Ghigiarelli—ancestor of the owners of another Old Forge pizza cafe, Ghigiarelli’s—started serving pizza on rectangular trays to local miners during their evening card games. The rest is American culinary history.
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