It was my first time at Bruno Bros. and the second I opened the door I knew it wouldn't be my last. It smelled amazing. There's nothing better than the smell of fresh baked pizza. Walking to the counter I couldn't help but notice the two cutting board shaped awards on the wall next to the register. 2010 AND 2011 Mahoning Valley Pizza Cookoff Best Gourmet, and also an award from USA Today; Bruno Bros. Brier Hill voted the "top slice in Ohio" and also "top 51 Best Slices in America".
Emil and his brother, Joe started Bruno Bros. in the Southern Park Mall food court in 1990, added the Adamas Square Plaza location on Market Street 7 years ago and also have 3 franchised locations in Ashtabula County. Bruno Bros. has a full menu of pizza, subs, calzones, pepperoni rolls, pasta dinners, salads, soups, appetizers and desserts but today it's all about the pizza. Bruno Bros. is one of the only pizza shops that has a pizza for everyone. Not just a topping for everyone, but the whole pizza style. Most pizza shops are good at only one style, Bruno Bros. has mastered them all. Thick, thin, stuffed, Brier Hill...you won't be disappointed and you will be back for more. The back of Emil's shirt reads "In Crust We Trust" and I found out that it all starts with the crust, then the sauce and from there some of the best pizza around is made. Emil tells me the sauce is based using California tomatoes which are the best out there, "a bit more expensive but well worth it". The thick, nicely seasoned sauce is the same recipe the brothers have used since they began. Why mess with perfection.
I love pizza and it must have been my lucky day because I got to try six different types. Emil brought out a tray of pizza as big as the table but I went right for the New York Style which he said is their most popular pie. I've been to New York many times and one of my favorite stops was a pizza shop in Brooklyn. Let me just say I don't have to go to New York for real pizza anymore. This big, hand tossed, thin crust pie is brushed with sauce, a little oregano and lots of gooey cheese. When you order this one you've got to eat it Brooklyn style...fold the slice in half and go for it. You'll want to eat the whole thing by yourself because something this good is too hard to share.
I rotated the tray and moved on to a slice of the Specialty Ranch with Bacon. Wow! You may have tried a veggie pizza before but this one, hands down, will be the best you've had. The crust is thick and light with a great golden crunch on the bottom. Take that great crust and top it with Ranch dressing, broccoli, Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese and bacon. Ah, bacon. With every bite you get a taste of the creamy ranch, the salty bacon, and all that cheese. This pizza is really, really good.
Another great choice for you veggie lovers out there is the Spinach Pizza. That same golden thick crust is topped with the colors of the Italian flag. Spinach and mozzarella cheese are topped with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, and diced fresh tomatoes seasoned with Italian spices. This one has a lot of flavor. If you're not a fan of spinach, you can substitute it with broccoli.
I'm starting to get full but I moved on to the square Sicilian. Emil told me, "the Sicilian is the simplest, but one of my favorites". If you're looking for a no frills, regular thick crust pizza, this is the one. That thick crust cooked perfectly with that little crunch on the bottom. For some reason the dough has a different taste, just as good, but something's different. Emil told me "it's the pan and how it's baked". The puffed up dough is covered with that famous seasoned sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese. Emil said that this is his go-to pizza all day. He doesn't even heat it up, if he walks by one, he grabs a slice. Later that evening I was putting my treasured leftovers away and I grabbed a piece of Sicilian before packing them up. I completely understood the temptation. It's one of those things that taste better the longer it sits.
I inch over to the award winning Brier Hill slices. A lot of pizza shops have Brier Hill and I've tried several. At Bruno Bros. it's back to the basics. Trusting that unbeatable crust and adding just the right amount of that tasty sauce. Topped with sweet fried red and green peppers, a heavy sprinkle of romano cheese and hands down, you've got the best Brier Hill pizza I've ever had.
One more pizza left to try. Did I save the best for last? The award winning "Best Gourmet" pizza. With every bite I think each one is the best I ever had and then I taste the next one. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I'm staring at the ultimate pizza. The biggest, the most complex, the heaviest, the Deep Dish Stuffed Pizza. It comes in two sizes; a 12" and a monster 17" that weighs in at about 10 pounds! This deep dish pizza is stuffed with Mozzarella, Ricotta and your choice of four toppings then covered with another crust that's sprinkled with romano cheese and spices then baked to a golden brown. When you cut into this big boy it just oozes cheese. Absolutely delicious, mine had ham, pepperoni, sausage and all that cheese. I can see why this is an award winner and I would put my money on this one for next year's competition.
If you don't have time to order ahead, you can walk into Bruno Bros. at any time and find 10-12 different slices and pepperoni rolls ready to go.
I'm often asked what I would go back for after doing a review. I'll be making several visits to Bruno Bros. in the future. Do I want thick, thin, stuffed? Yes!