When an English trader, John Harris, navigated the winding waters of the Susquehanna River, rounded a bend and discovered a sweet spot, he decided to pull his boat onto the bank and stay there. Although he purchased land rights and planned on building a town, his ideas didn't come to fruition. It was almost half a century later when his son was able to put his father's plans in motion and Harrisburg became part of the Pennsylvania landscape. During the era when the town was being constructed, many pioneers were traveling along the river looking for places to settle. By then Harrisburg had become a main stopping point for provisions, but instead of continuing their journey, many decided to stay. With the river providing a good means of transportation, the pioneering settlers were soon joined by industrialists. A number of the workers employed in the steel and textile mills were of Italian heritage and they were the ones who would later open the first pizzerias in Harrisburg.
If there's something to be said for the pizza chefs of Harrisburg, it's that they like to bake their dough thick and in squares and for that reason, Harrisburg is known for Sicilian-style pizza. Sicilian-style pizza is a type of pie that originates from the Italian island of Sicily. Compared to other thick crust pizzas like Neapolitan or Roman, it's quite distinctive in appearance as the spongy dough is usually left cheeseless. Although the correct way to serve a Sicilian-style pie is without cheese, Americans are a nation of cheese-lovers so that can vary. You'll often find yourself presented with a Sicilian-style pizza dotted with mozzarella, or sprinkled with pecorino, and to be honest, is it really worth eating a pizza with no cheese? While traditional toppings on a Sicilian would be limited to olives or slices of tomato, that's changed too and now, thankfully, absolutely anything goes.
Giuliano's Pizzeria is an Italian-owned pizzeria on Paxton Church Road that makes the best delivery pizza in Harrisburg. They've been making delivery pizzas for the Harrisburg locals for years so know exactly what they're doing when it comes to prepping, baking, and delivering the dough. Fast and efficient are two words which spring to mind when describing the way these guys work and they keep it up seven days a week without fail. Giuliano's bake old-fashioned Sicilian-style pizzas but add extra ingredients like cheese and various toppings according to what their clients want. They're true specialists at keeping their customers happy whether they've asked for a white, red, circular, or square pie, cheese or no cheese. What you ask for is exactly what you get. That goes for upside down, stuffed, and calzone too. If you can't decide what to order, try the bacon cheeseburger from Giuliano's and you won't be disappointed.
Admittedly, there are some great places to visit in Harrisburg and if you've spent the day there at the National Civil War Museum or the more eclectic Doll's House Museum, you could well have ended up feeling pretty peckish. If you are, the thing to do is go over to North Progress Avenue. Why? On North Progress Avenue you'll find Tonino's Pizza and Grille and they make the best take-out pizza in Harrisburg. You can pull up right outside of Tonino's as there's a big parking lot fronting the strip of buildings this pizzeria's premises are located in. It might not be much to look at from the outside, but inside some stonework on the walls gives it real trattoria appeal as do the dark wood furnishings. Tonino's pizzas are appealing to as you're bound to agree when you pick your take-out up. They're pretty generous with their toppings as you'll soon discover if you order a Pizza di Cazzo to go.
It would be impossible to be in Harrisburg even for the shortest length of time without planning to visit Hershey. Hershey is a city in Pennsylvania that has become synonymous with the popular chocolate bar that carries the same name and has been produced there since the early 1900s. In Hershey you can have fun at Hersheypark, a theme park with roller coasters like the SooperDooperLooper, or immerse yourself in the world of chocolate at Hershey's Chocolate World. If the aroma of chocolate gets too much, take a walk around Hershey Gardens or go for something savory like a pizza at Palermo's Pizza of Hershey on Chocolate Avenue.
When you've got kids to keep entertained, it's a good idea to head north out of Harrisburg and go to Fisherville. It's just a twenty-mile drive to this country town where you'll come across the Lake Tobias Wildlife Park. At the park, you'll change vehicles for one of the special cruisers and drive on a safari through one hundred and fifty acres where over forty species of wild animals from around the globe roam freely. Pay a visit to the petting zoo after the safari and the kids can get up close to some of the smaller animals and their babies. Once they've had enough of feeding the animals, take them for a pie at Dauphin Pizza in Dauphin on the way home.
There are two good reasons to go inland from Harrisburg for the thirty miles it takes to get to the town of Timber Hills. The first, if it's summertime, is to go to Mount Gretna Lake and Beach. It's a family-owned resort on Lake Conewago where you can swim, lounge on the beach, play sand volleyball, or hire a kayak. The second good reason to go to Timber Hills is to tour the vineyards and sample some home brew in the winery of the Mt Hope Estate and Winery. End your outing with a pie at the Mount Gretna Pizzeria on Timber Road and all in all, you'll have had a good day.
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best gluten-free pizza in Harrisburg?
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Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best pan-baked pizza in Harrisburg?