As the birthplace of Brier Hill Pizza, (the locally-loved green pepper and cheese creation) and home to countless local pizza shops, Youngstown was practically built on a foundation of crust, tomato sauce and cheese. From Valley favorites to unconventional concoctions, there’s no shortage of pies to try in the Youngstown area.  As a visitor, how do you know which to try first? Take a look at our brief guide to a few area pizza places below to learn more about local favorites.


The Tale of Brier Hill Pizza    

We can’t talk about pizza without first paying homage to Youngstown’s most famous pie: Brier Hill Pizza. What is it? A delicious combination of thick crust, flavorful tomato sauce, green peppers and Romano cheese. When manufacturing communities like Youngstown were hit by The Great Depression, many locals turned to their home gardens for meals. With the help of community ovens, the Brier Hill neighborhood, aka “Youngstown’s Little Italy” transformed their easy-to-grow tomatoes and peppers into what is now known and loved as Brier Hill pizza.

The Best Brier Hill Pizza

Many shops in the area serve up Brier Hill Pizza. The Avalon Downtown is one popular pizzeria, known for its Brier Hill variety complete with sweet peppers and imported Romano cheese. Bruno Bros. Pizza serves up New York style pizza, and also claims to have the #1 Brier Hill pizza in Ohio (you can be the judge of that). One of the most notable Brier Hill curators is family-owned Wedgewood Pizza in Austintown and Boardman, recently recognized in a Food Network article for having the area’s best Brier Hill pizza.


The Secret’s in the Sauce

It all starts with the sauce. Visit Cornersburg Pizza in (you guessed it) Cornersburg, and you’ll find an old-fashioned pizza place serving up pies smothered in a tomato and green pepper sauce. And if you visit The Elmton in Struthers, expect to find more sauce with green peppers, along with lots of Broasted Chicken (battered and deep fried in a pressure cooker).


Progressive Pies

There are also shops in the Valley offering unconventional options.  If you’re on YSU’s campus visit Republic Pizzeria e Pub! They’re known for their hand-crafted artisan pizzas, available by the slice or full pie – try the White Pizza. At Southgate Pizza in Boardman you’ll find a crunchy crust and interesting specialty varieties, like pierogi and gyro. If you’re visiting with kids, make a stop at Bella Napoli in Canfield. At this shop, pizzas can be built and decorated in custom shapes and sizes (like a clock), upon request. At Ianazone’s Pizza in Boardman, consider trying their Baked Potato Pizza. And unlike most shops, Uptown Pizza in Youngstown is known for putting their pepperoni under the cheese rather than on top.


Party Pizzas

Need a larger-than-average pizza for your next party? Head to Cocca’s Pizza Friday – Sunday and order their popular full sheet pizza for a special price. Or, take your party to Cocca’s on a Wednesday for their all-you-can-eat buffet. They have eight different locations in our area and won the People’s Choice Award in 2018. Or, visit family-owned Giangelo’s Pizzeria and try their “Soooo Big” Gia’s Pizza, complete with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, red & green peppers, hot peppers, onions & olives. And we’re pretty sure the phrase “you can’t please everyone” isn’t in Westgate Pizza’s vocabulary. Their sheet pizzas can be divided into three varieties, four varieties and even six varieties, aka the Super Sampler.


But Wait, There’s More

While all of the pizza shops in Mahoning County have great varieties, some are known for more than just their pizza. When dining at Inner Circle Pizza add a delicious order of hot chips. Pick up a “pizza roller” at Pizza Joe’s – rolls of fresh dough filled with pepperoni and cheese – to add to your Philly Steak or Buffalo Chicken pizza. For a heaping slice of authentic Italian tradition, visit LaRocca’s Pizza and Pasta in Poland, known for their homemade traditional dishes. At Belleria Pizza & Italian Restaurant, you’ll find plenty of pizzas, but if you’re really hungry, try their half gallon tub of spaghetti. Try the Smoky Hollow Pizza at Cassese’s MVR where you can enjoy your slice while watching a serious match on their bocce courts.


For more information on other restaurants in Youngstown & Mahoning County, visit the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website or Facebook page!

Avalon Downtown photo credit: @rchillman

With a new and improved location, countless specialty wines and exciting events, Diletto Winery is definitely worth a visit while in Mahoning County. Today, we’re here to share the inside-scoop on Diletto’s big move to Boardman, along with more details about their varied wine selection, sip ‘n paints and February fun.


New Location  

Diletto bid adieu to blueberry donuts, and said hello to ballrooms as they moved from Canfield (across from White House Fruit Farm) to the old Antone’s Banquet Centre, 8578 Market St. in Boardman. The quaint winery packed up in September and has since transformed their new location into a bigger and better Diletto Winery. The challenge: how do you create a cozy and intimate winery vibe in a massive space like the former Antone’s? The answer: lots of comfy couches, warm lighting and (of course) good wine.


How Good?

At Diletto, you’ll find a wide variety of quality wines, sangrias and ciders- with the flavors constantly changing. In the summertime, try peach or Hawaiian sangria, or grab a glass of one of their specialty fruit wines. In the fall, watch for some of their award-winning wine ciders to return to the shelf, along with caramel apple sangria. And winter calls for even more unique flavors, wrapped in custom holiday-themed labels.

In addition to a wide drink selection, Diletto also serves up some delicious bites (and full meals, for events). On their regular menu you’ll find snacks like cheese plates, flatbread pizzas and sandwiches. And on Fridays and Saturdays, jumbo wings are dry rubbed, smoked in-house and sold for just 79 cents each.


Upcoming Events  

From murder mystery dinners and challenging escape rooms, to relaxing sip ‘n paint sessions, Diletto Winery hosts a plethora of fun events. And their new spacious location allows ample room for activities. Here’s what’s happening soon:


Sip ‘n Paint

Participate in one of Diletto’s upcoming guided painting sessions! A preview of the paintings can be found on Diletto’s event calendar. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here.

Jan 17 at 6pm | Winter Woods

Jan 24 at 6pm | Coffee ‘Till Wine

Jan 26 at 1pm | Dreaming of Spring



Valentine’s Dinner & Concert | Feb 14 at 6pm

This Valentine’s Day, you can treat your loved one to a special four-course dinner at Diletto! Tickets are just $35 per person and include a dinner buffet, glass of wine, romantic live music and roses for the ladies.


Valentine’s Murder Mystery Dinner | Feb 16 at 5pm

Play along as the suspect of a murder during a 3 or 4-course meal. Visitors are assigned specific characters with “roles” to act out and, throughout the night, you must guess who committed the crime. Tickets are $49 and include a glass of wine, food and fun entertainment.


Escape Rooms | Saturdays 4 – 9:15pm

Have an exciting (and possibly frustrating) night out with friends or family by participating in Diletto’s themed escape room! Whether you’re breaking out of prison or robbing a bank, your mission remains the same: use clues to escape the room before the time runs out. Tickets are $28 and can be reserved here.


All of Diletto’s events, descriptions and links for tickets can be found on their event calendar.



Whether you’re looking for a great glass of wine or fun night out, Diletto Winery has something for everyone. For more information on Diletto and other local wineries, visit our Facebook page or take a look at the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website!