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First Look: Leone's Pizza
As we have discovered, the area within and surrounding the city of Worthington is loaded with pizza options, from the old timers (Pizza House and Villa Nova, to name two) to the newcomers (Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza and Cincinnati-based Dewey's.) Some might say there's too much pizza available around this area compared to other options, but pizza lovers may consider that to be a sacrilegious notion.
You can now add Leone's Pizza to these throngs of pie makers and, based on our first tasting, this is one to keep an eye on.
Leone's Pizza opened last Friday in the old Pizza Mart space in Salem Village, As this was my first visit to this location, it was plainly obvious that this small space is geared more to takeout. However, they actually do a good job of stuffing in more tables and chairs than you think might fit within this eatery's footprint.
I was greeted by a friendly presence behind the counter in the form of Ryan LaRose, Leone's owner. As noted on the pizzeria's website, LaRose has made some fairly significant strides in his roughly 15 years in the pizza making business. Starting from a entry level position at a Florida-area pizzeria, he has honed his skills to the point where he was a member of what essentially was this country's Olympic team for pizza making, competing in both domestic and international acrobatic and culinary competitions, including a 2010 appearance in the North American Pizza & Ice Cream Show (NAPICS) show held in Columbus itself.
As he was ringing up my order, LaRose said he had been always eager to start his own pizzeria. When he heard the Pizza Mart location was available, he jumped at the chance, packing up his belongings from his last pizza port of call in Brooklyn to make a go of it here.
Speaking of Brooklyn, the pie we ordered (The Tartufo, a wild mushroom blend with mozzarella, rosemary and truffle oil) was definitely of the New York style: floppy and foldable, a thin but not soggy crust underneath, and beautiful golden crust ring on the edges. It was darned good too - the mushrooms were flavorful, the mozzarella was a cut above standard-issue, and the crust had a good mix of crisp and chew as well as the right amount of salt.
This first pie experience, combined with other promisingly tasty menu items listed on Leone's Pizza such as pepperoni-based pinwheels and rolls, stromboli, and garlic knots (including a meatball slider(!) variation) makes a return visit pretty much a certainty at this point.
5413 Sinclair Road (Salem Village)
Columbus, OH, 43229
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