On a rather dreary Saturday day recently, some of my foodie friends and I decided to try out a relatively new pizzeria related to the Cerino clan (think Carrie Cerino's in North Royalton), Eddie's Pizzeria Cerino. It had opened either late last year or earlier this year and the write-up I had read about it was very promising. They are located at 7305 Broadview Road, Seven Hills, Ohio and can be reached at (216) 236-6007. It took me the better part of an hour to get there from Akron due to the very inclement weather I drove through. But, as I pulled into the parking lot and waited for my friends to arrive, at least the heavy rains had stopped. However, not wanting to get myself or my camera wet, I took a snapshot of the front of the building while sitting inside my car:
Once inside, it felt warm and cheerful. The space was fairly large and it really felt open. While the kitchen isn't truly "open", you can see some of the activity from where we sat:
The menu was straightforward and to the point: This was going to be an Italian experience all the way. Pizzeria Cerino has all the usual suspects, appetizers, sandwiches, salads, pastas, and of course, the most important thing of all, pizzas! Here were a couple shots of the menu:
The back of the menu actually has a bit of history of Carrie Cerino, the matriarch of the Cerino food empire. It also talked a bit about Eddie's background and the philosophy of what they are trying to accomplish at the restaurant:
While we were decidedly there for the pizza, the four of us opted to split one of the appetizers, the pan-roasted clams:
The spicy tomato broth was spiked with Romano cheese, garlic, and just a bit of capricious heat. Here was my portion:
The clams were lovely and tender and the broth was just amazing. The toast points were made from the housemade focaccia bread, but as a accompaniment to the clams and broth, it just didn't make a whole lot of sense. Don't get me wrong, the toasts were freshly made and delicious. Unfortunately, bread this dry doesn't exactly soak up the tomato broth after you've finished the clams. Trust me, this was a delicious broth and when we realized how ineffective the toast was, we asked for a basket of the real deal, their fresh focaccia:
Just on it's own, this was fantastic bread. Finished with just a bit of cracked pepper, it had a lovely bite and the smell gave away the fact that this bread was made with maximum flavor in mind. There was definitely some cold aging of the finished dough and possibly even some pre-ferments used when they created this. Once I got past my predilection toward obsessing over the bread, it worked wonderfully well to help polish off the rest of the tomato broth from the clams.
While there are a number of toppings available to create whatever kind of pie you can imagine, we decided to go with two of the suggested pies listed on the menu. Since Pizzeria Cerino offers both a thin crust and a thick one, we decided to get one of each. First, we ordered a medium Pancetta and Pomodoro pizza on the regular crust:
And we also ordered an Italian Blue Smoke pizza on the thin crust:
And of course, a shot of each on my lunch plate:
Let's talk about the Italian Blue Smoke (left piece) first. I'm not a huge thin crust pizza kind of guy. I suppose part of the problem was that when I was in college, the only thin crust pizza I was exposed to was a particularly egregious version that my roommates always brought back from Mama Santa's in Little Italy. That being said, I have learned to love versions of this crust at places like Bar Cento and Lolita. Pizzeria Cerino wasn't quite up to par with those versions, but they did an excellent job nonetheless. The crust was crispy and at the same time just slightly chewy on the inside. The flavor of the crust was also excellent. This was mostly likely due to the fact that all the dough for the pizzas are cold-fermented for three days before being used. The toppings were nice, cooked chicken, pancetta, onions, and two different kinds of cheese. However, the predominant flavor of this pizza was the balsamic infused BBQ sauce. I liked this sauce, but there was just too much of it on the pizza. The other flavors were smothered by it. I would've preferred if the sauce had been drizzled almost like a garnish instead of it serving as the "sauce" portion.
The Pancetta and Pomodoro pizza was also lovely. This came out on the thicker crust, which I liked considerably better. The two crusts were actually made from the same basic recipe, so I have to assume that my preference was definitely due to the texture and not the flavor. This pizza was topped with Asiago cheese as well, so it had that nice lovely sharpness that the cheese combo on the other pizza lacked. Between the "bacon" flavor that the cooked pancetta brought and the sweetness from the tomatoes and the saltiness from the cheese, the flavors on this pizza were very well balanced. I would definitely order this pizza again.
In the end, with tax and tip, the bill only came to $15 per person. Plus we had enough pizza left over to send two people home with a couple extra slices. After looking over the menu, I don't know that the menu is exactly child-friendly, although the service staff seem fine with it. There just wasn't a special section specifically targeted at food for children. Although to be fair, since you could build your own pizza with whatever toppings you wanted, who's to say you couldn't just order a simple cheese or pepperoni pizza and keep the masses happy and fed.
I recommend that you give Eddie's Pizzeria Cerino a try for their vast array of Italian treats. We ended up having a lovely meal after such a rotten beginning due to the inclement weather. By the time our check was paid and we walked out the door, the sun had broken through the clouds. Truly a great way to end a great meal.