Celebrities have always been a fascination to most people for several reasons. Money, fame, being on TV, etc. are all aspects and items that most people value. The thing is, you typically only see famous people in their final product, you do not see the obstacles that they overcame or the hard work it took to get them to where they are today. Most of them had a long journey that required sacrifice, risk-taking, and using their gifts. They did not play small or stay safe, they went for their dreams and goals with reckless abandon. With this thought in mind, we explore Rockaway Pizzeria in White Oak and see how owner Josh Sickels attacked his goal and mission with relentless persistence. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he spent a lot of time in living in Brooklyn, New York. He has taken New York Style Pizza to another level by keeping the basic New York pizza philosophy and adding a unique, fermented dough recipe, super-creative specialty pizzas, and toppings galore. Let us dive in!
The vision – Rockaway Pizzeria uses the base model of Queens, New York-style pizza. The crust is thin, the ingredients and toppings are top of the line, and it is greasy. Remember, greasiness generated from the finest meats and cheeses that are non-processed adds a ton of flavor without leaving you feeling heavy. Rockaway uses a special fermented dough recipe that takes days before transforming into its final product. The sauce has generous portions of garlic, onion, crushed red pepper, and other ingredients which is slow-cooked to perfection. The cheese is imported from Italy. This sets the foundation for one of Rockaway Pizzeria’s slogans, “pizza is art.”
The basics – Before I dive into all the mind-blowing toppings and specialty pizzas, let us first start with the basics of the pizza and your lighter options. All pizzas are 18” 8 cut-pies. You can also order by the slice at certain times which is hard to come by in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Rockway has your standard toppings such as pepperoni and sausage but takes it up a notch with some of these notables. Toppings that you do not typically see which Rockaway has are hot soppressata and genovetta, San Marzano tomatoes, breaded eggplant, prosciutto, and hot cherry peppers. If you want to keep it light, you can order a plain pizza, a topping of your choice, or the Margherita pizza which features fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, and sea salt.
The specialty pizzas – A lot of places nowadays offer specialty pizzas. Rockaway Pizzeria also does this but at a whole other level. Using top-of-the-line ingredients, creativity, and a massive selection to choose from, Rockaway Pizzeria’s specialty pies are second to none. I cannot list them all, I urge you to check out their menu, but here are some notables.
The Carcosa (captioned) – If you have been following me for a while, you probably have realized I try and showcase the biggest, boldest, and craziest items I can find. How about a pound of pepperoni on one pizza? Not just any pepperoni, but top-quality pepperoni that has triple the thickness and is hand-cut. The crust on this pie is thicker to support the massive amounts of pepperoni and delicious grease generated from the pepperoni. However, it is surprisingly thin enough that this pizza is not heavy. Finally, all the salt generated from the pepperoni adds the finishing touch. If you have an open mind, I highly recommend you try this pizza because it is purely and simply delicious and will blow your mind.
The Italian Widowmaker – Again, not for the faint of heart, but delicious. It features mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, hot soppressata, genoa salami, and banana peppers.
The Red Top – This pizza is for your sauce lovers. It features mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino Romano, and finished with a swirled, house-made tomato sauce on top.
The Flamethrower – How about this for flavor? A prime cut of New York Strip steak, mozzarella, hot cherry peppers, banana peppers, fresh garlic, and finished with olive oil.
Other menu items – If you are not looking for pizza, Rockaway Pizzeria also offers appetizers, salads, calzones, and hoagies.
Rockaway Pizza Final Take:
IT IS NO SECRET, to ACHIEVE GREATNESS, ONE MUST TAKE CALCULATED RISK, STRETCH THEIR COMFORT ZONE, and BE PERSISTENT!
My final take – If you are big into attention to detail, you realize how special this place is. The time and research that Josh Sickels has put into the fermentation of the dough, the slow-cooked sauce, the imported cheeses from Italy, and the highest quality toppings and ingredients money can buy is nothing short of spectacular. I am especially drawn to establishments and people that want to be the best and separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Rockaway Pizzeria is one of the newer establishments that is setting the gold standard in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area for how pizza should look and taste.