Immigrant Italian’s legacy lives on in second incarnation
The name Piccolo Forno carries a lot of history in Pittsburgh, where its first incarnation, a bakery that opened in the Strip District in 1992, introduced diners to immigrant baker Antonio Branduzzi’s focaccia. Branduzzi’s son, Domenic, carried the name to a new location in the up-and-coming Lawrenceville neighborhood in 2005, and has been serving some of the city’s most revered pies since, racking up accolades with the city’s food media.
To say that he respects time-honored family traditions is an understatement, having been born in Lucca, Italy, like his father, and spending summers working in the family pizzeria there. “We do a lot of traditional pizzas, I keep it pretty well-grounded, and there are going to be Italian ingredients and seasonal vegetables,” Branduzzi says. “I go outside of the box a little bit, but prefer to stay in my comfort zone.”
Offerings range from simple Margherita and bianca to more elaborate variations such mortadella e pistachio, which combines rich burrata with decadent mortadella and a pistachio pesto.
At the end of the day, it’s about the oven as well,” he remarks about the thin, charred crust that brings guests back again and again. “Wood-fired is always going to give you a certain type of product that nothing else does.”
Though a robust selection of starters and pastas are also offered, it’s rare to see a table without one or two of their famous pizzas front and center, garnering even more attention from hungry Pittsburghers.
Piccolo Forno’s award-winning reputation is built on delightfully thin-crusted pizzas speckled with char and topped with a perfect balance of premium ingredients.