The menu at Tony's Pizzeria Napoletana in North Beach is vast, to say at the least. There are 11 different styles on the menu: the STG Pizza Napoletana, the California, the Classic American, the Classic Italian (which you can get cooked in your choice of either a 650-degree gas or 700-degree electric), the Pizza Romana, the Sicilian, a gluten-free pizza, a coal-fired pizza, a large New York 22-inch, a St. Louis-style and a Detroit-style.
It doesn't end there -- some styles have several different options. The California, for example, has seven in total like the Honey Pie, which is topped with honey from North Beach and calabrese peppers, or The Barcelona, appropriately topped with Spanish chorizo and jamon. And let's not forget the infinite permutations that come with the ability to choose your own additions; the mere perusal of the menu can be an overwhelming experience. But ease your ordering-anxiety (at least slightly) and definitely get the Detroit-style -- it's ridiculously delicious.
The Detroit-style (a.k.a. "Red Top") is cooked in a blue-steel square pan that pizza proprietor Tony Gemignani scored directly from Detroit. These things are hard to come by, as the steel manufacturer is out of business. The pan's bottom is lined with butter, imparting a focaccia-like flavor to the dough, which comes out light and airy despite its thickness and seemingly denseness. The rims of the pan are lined with a white sharp cheddar cheese from Vermont, which after baking caramelizes to a crispy crunch akin to the hardened cheese drippings from a grilled cheese sandwich. And because the corner slices would obviously be the pizza pièce de résistance here, the Red Top is cut into four so everyone gets a corner. Brilliant.
The pizza is topped with a Wisconsin "brick cheese" that is shredded for ease of melting. Only after out of the oven is the pizza then painted with two stripes of an uncooked yet warm and seasoned tangy red sauce that's heartily sprinkled with an oregano-heavy spice blend and a some grated pecorino romano. The result is a truly unique and delicious pizza that must not be missed.
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