Hmmmm. I once considered myself a pizza connoisseur, but as it turns out, I had a lot to learn. Friends asked me if I had been to 5th Street Pub. They were new to town, and I couldn’t believe they were telling ME where to go to eat! When she said it was the only authentic, certified Neapolitan pizza in Ohio I just looked at her and said, “Neapolitan WHAT?” Or maybe I was embarrassed and said that to myself. At any rate, so began my quest to experience what she had discovered. As it turns out, Neapolitan pizza is THE true and authentic Italian pizza. Every detail of the pizza has deep roots in Italy and an establishment must be certified in order to make and serve authentic Neapolitan pizza. This is a far cry from “American pizza.” From the unique wood fired oven that was built in Naples, Italy, to 75% of the ingredients coming directly from Italy, this IS the real deal.
Geoff and Melissa Kies along with managing partner Bruce Rahe opened 5th Street Pub in Perrysburg last March. “Everybody knows pizza, but not everybody knows the first pizza,” said Mr. Kies. Geoff and Bruce spent time in New York City learning about authentic Neapolitan pizza under the instruction of Roberto Caporuscio who is head of the APN (Association of Neapolitan Pizza Makers) which allowed them to become only the thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth people certified in the United States to make and serve authentic Neapolitan pizza. If you are going to serve Neapolitan pizza just as it was served in Italy over 150 years ago, there are very strict rules, regulations and techniques to be followed. “We spent five days just learning how to stretch the dough,” said Kies. There is an art and a specific way to make it ultra-thin. He added, “The trend in restaurants is going towards more homemade and hand crafted.” I would have to agree, and that is likely why they continue to pack in a full house on a regular basis.
Pizza for the kids
We arrived early on a Friday evening and encountered a short wait. I perused the pizza menu, and immediately found that the selections looked fabulous to me, but what about the kids? I do, however, always encourage my children to broaden their horizons and try new things. Every topping selection includes basil; as it’s part of the authenticity of the pizza. The mozzarella is fresh, not shredded and stringy like many kids are accustomed to eating. I was certain they would not enjoy the pizzas with marinated mushrooms, or artichokes etc. Though pepperoni is not a true Italian ingredient, Kies eventually persuaded Mr. Caporuscio to allow them to include it at 5th Street Pub.
My boys preferred to share a pepperoni pizza and they personally loved the ultra-thin crust with the fresh mozzarella; though they were most curious why the cheese was different than usual. My daughter, unfortunately, was not a fan. If you are unsure what your little ones will enjoy, the kids’ menu also includes noodles with sauce or butter, a kid burger, or spaghetti with a meatball. Drinks are included and there is a choice for a side dish of either hot cinnamon applesauce or red skinned mashed potatoes all for only $4, one of the most affordable kids’ meals I have seen in a while. For less adventurous adults, 5th Street Pub also has salads, homemade meatballs, great appetizers, burgers and beef tenderloin offerings.
Front row and center
The focal point of the restaurant is the awesome wood burning oven with a bird’s eye view of the pizzas being made. You may dine at the counter and watch the action in the kitchen if you like. My boys found themselves front row seats. They were so enthralled I thought I’d have to peel them from the stools to go home. It’s not just anywhere that you can watch the one and only authentic Italian pizza being made right before your eyes!
Bottom Line: Most of us will never make it to Italy, but thanks to 5th Street Pub, we can enjoy the only authentic Neapolitan pizza in Ohio. The menu offers several alternative options if your little ones are not in the mood to be adventurous. However, after having the opportunity to watch the pizza being made, they may have a change of heart. You and the kids won’t want to miss Andrew Martin, magician, performing tableside every Wednesday evening as well.
5th Street Pub
pizza and meatballs
105 West Fifth Street
Perrysburg, OH 43551
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.