Who: Dana C. Crawford, PhD
What: Vero Pizza Napoletana
Where: 12421 Cedar Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
So there I was, enjoying another EPBI happy hour organized by the one and only EPBI social director Dr. Farren Briggs. In attendance were our fearless leader Dr. Jonathan Haines and his better half Joyce as well as the Prevention Research Center dynamic duo Drs. Darcy Freedman and Erika Trapl, among others. At some point, the conversation turned serious. The debate ensued: where was the best pizza in town? Vero, declared Darcy. Jonathan concurred.
Vero? I was embarrassed to not know this Vero. Vero is located across the street from where we were having happy hour at The Fairmount. You know, smack dab in the middle of Cedar Fairmount. I had never noticed it because I thought it was just a gelato place. Sure, gelato is great, but dinner it is not. Lucky for us, Vero is so much more than gelato.
Steve, Mom, and I have been to Vero Pizza Napoletana several times since learning of its existence and capabilities. Vero specializes in making Neapolitan pizza known as “pizza napoletana” in Italy. The Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana defines Neapolitan pizza as a pizza based on dough made from ‘00’ flour (wheat flour for pasta), water, sea salt and natural leavening (natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast). Vero also specializes in making these pizzas in a wood-fired oven. At 900 degrees, it’s best to look, not touch!
Vero offers many kinds of hand-made pizzas with locally sourced ingredients and there is sure to be one for you (Figures 1 and 2). There’s even a pizza for Mom: no-cheese marinara. Vero also boasts a great selection of cheeses and meats (Figures 3-5) as well as bread from On the Rise. Oh, and they offer house wine by the carafe. Gotta love that! Of course, the night isn’t complete without a scoop or two of gelato (Figure 6).
Is Vero the best pizza in town? We think so. But, please note that others do not. Will Bush says he’s had better in Cleveland (although I have yet to learn where we should seek this “better pizza.”) And Joyce doesn’t like the burnt pizza dough sometimes associated with the wood-fire oven process. Along with these reviews, there are other quirks of this place that may irk some, like the lack of reservations, the occasional long waits (an hour last time!), and the refusal to do take-out. Despite these quirks, you’ll be sure to see us back at Vero ordering a 10-inch or two and enjoying a carafe while eyeing the gelato.