According to a great philosopher, “better to do a little well, than a great deal badly.”

Well, Socrates was probably talking about pizza. These days, it’s not hard to find a slice of pizza — it’s a staple offering everywhere, from fast food restaurants to gas stations to elementary school cafeterias to big-box warehouse stores.

Finding really good pizza is another story altogether. While traditional New York pizza might be the country’s most beloved — and time-honored — culinary delight, it takes a bit of work to do it right. Justin Forlini, who owns and operates Armando’s Pizza along with his brother Ben and mother, Mary Ann, knows that creating a pizza legacy is about more than good dough (although that's crucial too). His tip to finding great pizza: don’t overthink it. Here’s what takes pizza from dinner to delightful.

Everything is fresh

Walk into any grocery store and you’ll find pizza crust available plain precooked, bagged and frozen, or as a boxed mix. These may be fine for a weeknight family dinner, but you should expect a little more when you’re going out for a nice meal. While most pizza chains use dough made from a mix — or delivered every few days from a food service — authentic pie-makers are always elbow-deep in flour.

“The process is labor intensive and you can’t cut corners,” Forlini said. “Our dough is made in-house daily along with the secret proprietary sauce, and the cheese is freshly shredded.”

Make sure you’re getting fresh toppings and sides as well.

“We serve hand-rolled meatballs, slow-cooked meat sauce, homemade salad dressings and a variety of soups — including the fan-favorite Wedding Soup,” Forlini explained.

It keeps its integrity

Barbecue chicken pizza? Kale and fig flatbread? Pizza companies around the world are trying to reinvent the wheel. The thing is, the wheel was really, really delicious to begin with. Time Magazine outlines some pizza trends that are nothing short of gimmicks: pizza boxes made from pizza, Cadbury cream egg pizza and (wait for it) $2,000 gold-leaf pie. But when you have a craving, you’re going to want the standards or nothing at all.

“Pizza trends have changed in several ways over the years,” Forlini said. “Anything goes with pizza toppings. But don't look for pineapple at Armando's Pizza anytime soon. Our souls are not for sale.”

A side of nostalgia comes standard

Sure, you can get a “hot and ready” pizza at any major chain. That’s fine if you’ve got 20 minutes to feed the kids before bedtime. But if your night out is as much about the experience as it is about the cuisine, you’ll want to avoid the corporate structure.

“Generations of families were raised on our food, and this is often the first stop by former residents home for a visit,” Forlini said. “Our guests take pride in this place and it’s very personal to them for many reasons. We love when people share their stories of the shop and memories of my father.”

Armando’s Pizza is located at 583 Fallowfield Ave. in Charleroi. A second location, located at 201 Tyrol Blvd. in Monessen, is operated by Stephen Walters.


This article is sponsored by Armando’s Pizza.


A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen Price has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.