While sauce rarely gets the same amount of love as dough or cheese and toppings, it’s the heartbeat of any pizza. The sauce is where a chef has the most room to make a pie their own and hone its flavor profile.
From sweet to white to wild, let’s get lost in the sauce while we check out just a few of Columbus’ tasty styles.
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According to Jim Ellison, author of Columbus Pizza: A Slice of American History, a slightly sweet sauce is an integral component of traditional Columbus-style pizza.
The sweetest example among these Columbus-style pies? That one goes to the longstanding, family-owned Plank’s Cafe & Pizzeria on Parsons Ave.
Bexley Pizza Plus is an option to explore if a thicker pie with sweet sauce is your thing.
While many Columbus-style sauces serve up a relatively close balance between sweet and savory, if sweet just isn’t your thing, it’s likely that another regional variant is. Brier Hill Pizza is a style named for the Youngstown neighborhood where it was created, and is defined by its savory, bell pepper-forward “Sunday Sauce”.
Ironically, one of the pioneers of Columbus Pizza, Jimmy Massey, hated tomatoes. While he made a mean red sauce, this meant Massey ate white pizza when cooking for himself.
Everything in between
With all this talk about style and region, guess what? There really are no rules.
Some of the wildest, most indulgent Columbus pies come from spots like Mikey’s Late Night Slice, where red sauce is swapped for things like ranch dressing or (around Thanksgiving) even cranberry sauce.
And for some inventive sauce options with a gourmet flair, Figlio’s is calling your name, with pies that feature an olive oil base, chipotle tomato sauce, and almond pesto.