The pizzeria is built into an old historic house (watch the steps), which makes for a quite cozy dining environment. As the name strongly suggests, Strong's uses a brick oven which is prominently positioned right by the entrance (The owner told me that the oven had to be built inside the restaurant as it was too big to fit through the door/window). Next to the oven, there's some tasty looking fresh bread resting on the front counter. I like the central placement of the oven as that is often an indicator of quality. Also, the top of their menu testifies (accurately) to and emphasis on quality:
We are proud to serve you the freshest ingredients; including fresh mozzarella and imported Italian tomatoes. We serve handcrafted pizzas, baked appetizers and desserts. All made fresh daily in our Italian brick oven.Indeed, the salads look nice and the bruschetta is a fine appetizer. However, I cannot recommend ordering anything over the pizza. The pizzas come in 10" (4 slices) and 16" (8 slices) varieties. They are all thin crust, traditional New York style. The key to this pie is the crust produced by the brick oven - a crisp bottom, nice air bubbles, yet still chewy with a great taste. Once could eat it alone as a fine appetizer. The 16" pizza with New York style slices, cooked in a brick oven is my personal favorite style of pizza. Strong's is the only place in Cincinnati that produces this style which you see at some of the great old coal-fired pizzerias of New York (The old ones from before the pizza by the slice era: Totinno's, Patsys', John's, Grimaldi's, etc). As you can see below, Strong's produces this style quite well.
First, here is the Vodka-sauce pizza, invented by the aforementioned Cosentino at his Staton Island Pizzeria and named the best pizza in America (fresh mozzarella, cream vodka sauce, seasoned fresh mushrooms, spinach, and prosciutto di parma). Admittedly, I am a bit of a purist and so Strong's is the first place I've tried vodka sauce on a pizza. It was creamy and excellent. The flavors of the various toppings combined excellently to create a delicious meal. If you are a fan of mushrooms (perhaps the strongest topping taste present), this pie is a great pick.
If you like good pizza, Strong's is a must-try. It may indeed be the best pizza in Cincinnati ...I'm overdue to update that list :-). With their most expensive specialty pizzas priced at $16.95, Strong's provides an excellent quality pie at quite a reasonable price.
Two miscellaneous notes:
- Do not park in the neighboring Atlas Dry Cleaner's lot during operating hours, or you may find you car towed.
- Also, for us urbandwellers, they deliver to downtown Cincinnati!