David Portnoy, media celebrity and founder of Barstool Sports, has been on a mission to find the best pizza in the country. His viral One Bite reviews, which have gained a cult following, have taken him to more than a thousand shops around the country as he rates their pizzas “one bite” at a time. Last month, the pizza aficionado visited Lucatelli’s Pizzeria at Regency’s Mercer Square in Doylesville, PA, to see how their pies stacked up.
It’s a football pizza,” said Portnoy in his review. “It’s like a good, very traditional, high-end football pizza. Almost more New York-vibes to me than a Philly-vibe pizza, if that makes sense. I give it a 7.8.
You could say Lucatelli’s owner, David Schiano, has pizza-making in his DNA. At 11 years old, he started helping out at his father’s pizzeria, peeling garlic and washing dishes in the back kitchen. He opened his first solo venture in December 2019 but was forced to close just four months later when the pandemic shut down the country. He, however, considers that a “blessing in disguise,” as he was ultimately able to open Lucatelli’s in Mercer Square a few years later.
I spent a year looking for a place, and couldn’t have found a better location,” said David Schiano, Owner, Lucatelli’s Pizzeria. “I wanted a smaller storefront, and this was perfect. I love the [Doylesville] area.
Although he still uses his father’s recipe for sauce, Schiano branched out and developed his own style of dough. And like his search for the perfect shop location, he also spent months refining his recipe for the perfect crust. Unlike more traditional New York-style pizzas that use high-gluten flour, Schiano imports double-zero flour from Italy, which is high in protein but low in gluten. He also uses a poolish starter that undergoes a 72-hour fermentation process. The combination makes for a lighter, airier pizza that’s easy to digest.
David Schiano (left) with Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy (center). Photo courtesy of Lucatelli's Pizzeria.
Schiano thought he’d feel more prepared in the event that David Portnoy showed up for a “One Bite” review. But on the day he unexpectedly stopped by for a visit, all plans went out the window. Still, the team served up a slice worthy of a great review, which — according to Schiano — is the highest reward for any pizza owner, likening it to receiving a Michelin star.
Following the recent fanfare, Lucatelli’s Pizzeria is poised to expand into an adjacent 1,245 SF space at Mercer Square to allow for more seating and a larger kitchen. But despite its rise in popularity, Schiano will always consider the shop to be an intimate family affair. In fact, “Lucatelli's” is a play on his son’s name, Luca. Schiano also drew inspiration from the animated Pixar movie, “Luca,” for the pizzeria’s Vespa-inspired décor.
We’re thrilled to have Lucatelli’s as a part of Mercer Square and see a local restaurateur recognized nationally for their pizza and cheesesteak — especially in the Philadelphia area, which is ‘home of the cheesesteak,’” said David Sherin, Senior Leasing Agent. “We look forward to Lucatelli’s continued success and the expansion of its footprint to allow more customers to experience their fantastic food in 2024 and beyond.
Lucatelli’s prides itself on having a limited menu, focusing on making small batches with fresh, high-quality ingredients. In addition to gourmet pizzas, the restaurant offers Italian classics like stromboli and grandma pie, along with cannolis and other desserts. The expansion is slated to open in summer 2024.