DiCarlo’s – “Valley” Pizza Comes to the Grand Strand
By Craig Teller – Myrtle Beach Resident
I have to say, I have never been to the Ohio Valley and had no idea DiCarlo’s is an institution in “the Valley”, with something of a cult-like following. Originating in Steubenville, Ohio in 1945, the DiCarlo family still runs the company, and they are now franchising outlets. Myrtle Beach is the newest location and farthest from where it all began. Folks from the Ohio Valley are already finding and loving it. On our visit, my wife and I met two families who traveled from Shallotte, excited to finally get the pizza they grew with in their home state of Ohio . They said we would love it and in fact we did.
My wife and I ordered a large pizza. The pies come square, with square slices called “cuts”, a large pie having 16 cuts. Being a pizza purist, I ordered half with just cheese; my wife ordered sausage on her half. They asked if we wanted our cheese hot (baked on) or “Valley style”, which they explained was the cheese put on cold after baking. We chose the former, although the folks from Ohio said that as strange as it sounds the cold cheese tastes great. Maybe next time. It took a good 15-20 minutes to bake the pizza, so if you are taking out, order ahead.
It never ceases to amaze me how very different pizzas can taste given the very basic ingredients used, e.g., flour, water, tomato sauce and cheese. DiCarlo’s is quite unique, and I mean that in a very good way. The crust is very crispy on the bottom, yet a little bread like — kind of like a thin Chicago style pizza. The crust has great flavor and a crunch with every bite. The tomato sauce is excellent. In fact, it is one of the best pizza sauces I have tasted, similar to Ledo’s, which is famous in the Washington DC region. I may ask for extra sauce on my next visit — it is that good. DiCarlo’s uses freshly-grated provolone cheese that gives it a different overall flavor than your standard mozzarella blend pizzas. All together, these basic ingredients combined to make an exceptionally great tasting pizza. And I like the fact that part of the DiCarlo’s tradition is that the pizzas are made in an open kitchen, so you can watch it being made.
My wife and I think this “Valley” pizza will be a hit in our area, and DiCarlo’s will develop a new following way south of Steubenville. Hey, if I ever get to Steubenville the first thing I do will be to go to the original. In addition to pizza, they offer a nice selection of sandwiches on fresh baked bread, calzones and salads. The sandwiches look great and worth a trip. The large cheese pizza at $17 (and $2.50 per topping) is a little high for the area, but it is square and therefore larger than most 16 inch round pizzas. Moreover, with the bread-like crust and very generous layer of cheese, it is very filling. My only complaint is that the dining area is like those in any fast food restaurant, so we will probably be doing a lot of take out. Also, for those of you who like beer with your pizza, at least for now that is not on the menu.
DiCarlo’s is located next to the Walmart Neighborhood Market at the US 17 business and 544 intersection just north of Surfside Beach, 117 Maryport Dr., 843-492-5999. They are open Tuesday-Thursday 11 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am – 9 pm, and on Sundays 11 am to 7 pm