Slice of Heaven

Posted August 20, 2009 in Eats

For the local Italian dining initiated, if you’re thinking that Upland-based Petrilli’s Pizza (formerly Petrillo’s Pizza) is the Inland Empire version of San Gabriel Valley’s Petrillo’s Pizza (in Glendora and the city of San Gabriel), the best answers we can provide are both “yes” and “no.” 

First, it’s a “no,” because the S.G.V. Petrillo’s locations are dine-in spots, served by waitresses, with plenty of eating room inside. Petrilli’s, on the other hand, has extremely limited dine-in space; we counted just over a half-dozen chairs plus a couple tables crammed in the corner against the cooler. In fact, most of its floor space is dedicated to the kitchen. So, you could make it a dine-in spot for one (possibly two), but we’d likely not want to squeeze in there.


But, here’s where a resounding “yes” kicks in—the food’s just as fantastic. There’s a leaflet posted on the side of the wall adjacent to the ordering counter that attempts to explain the connection, noting that while the name change was more or less a legal move, the restaurants are sharing most of the same ingredients, suppliers and methods, likely assuaging any fears of customers who hold Petrillo’s close to their hearts.


Ordering’s easy as the menu’s succinct and uncomplicated. Appetizers, salads and sandwiches are the only offerings outside of pizza. In addition to the a la carte pizza selections, there exists a pair of specialties, including the aptly-dubbed “Petrilli’s Specialty” (it’s basically a combination pizza) and “Petrilli’s Pizza Bianca,” which leaves the tomato sauce off the pizza in lieu of fresh tomatoes. 


After a reasonable 15-minute wait, our take-out boxes arrived piping hot, fresh outta the oven as can be (if you’re seated at the right vantage point in the waiting area, you can view your order being crafted—ah, the joys of an open kitchen). In an effort to have a reference point from which to work, we opted to nab a pair of suitable standbys for this first trek to Petrilli’s: a meatball sandwich and a pepperoni/mushroom pizza.


If you love mozzarella, there’s seemingly no end on this meatball sandwich, which features white gooey goodness in between a pair of very tasty bread pieces (baked fresh daily on the premises). For those who are less-than-lovers of the mozz (we’re just “likers”), we’d order it with light cheese to shift the emphasis back on the best part of the sandwich, the meatballs themselves. More sausage-esque than anything, these meatballs are hearty, filling and, best of all, reside in total harmony with the already-mentioned bread. It’s goodness all around and the sandwich is presented alongside some cherry tomatoes, olives and pepperoncinis. 


The pizza is even better, as it arrives crammed full of toppings. In fact, the mound of mushrooms atop our generously-sized small more closely resembled the scene of an overturned produce truck that had just departed the farm (read: we were thrilled). The pepperoni has a faint spice kick, just enough to take notice, and those who fancy their meats mild aren’t likely to fuss over it. The pizza was evenly baked, the crust was superbly crisp and the all-important cheese-to-sauce ratio was beautifully balanced, a feat that’s often devoid of even decent pizzas. And the even-better part: It aces the next-morning pizza breakfast test. 


Either way you roll—Petrilli’s or Petrillo’s—you’re bound to encounter equaled excellence. Though, for proximity’s sake, Petrilli’s will likely tackle the tasty Italian dining trick for those residing in the vicinity with ease. Just be prepared to enjoy such a perfected pie from the comforts of your own home.


Petrilli’s Pizza, 110 S. Mountain Ave., Suite F, Upland, (909) 981-8114. Mon, 3-9PM, Tues-Sun, 11AM-9 PM. AE, D, MC, V.


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