DiCarlo’s Original Pizza



Big-name and small-town pizza buffs alike are avowed fans, but the DiCarlo family cherishes first-time customers above all else.

Italian immigrants Michael and Caroline DiCarlo didn’t originally set out to helm a pizzeria that would thrive through the decades. In fact, pizza wasn’t even on their radar when they opened an Italian grocery store in Steubenville, Ohio, in the early 1900s. Eventually, the business evolved into a full bakery known for delectable bread loaves and decadent cakes. But when their son, Primo, returned home from serving in WWII, he raved to his family about the popular food he’d spotted everywhere in Italian cafes: pizza.


By 1945, DiCarlo’s Original Pizza opened its doors, serving crispy-crust square pies that quickly became a local favorite. “They were already famous for their bread, which inspired our crunchy crust, made with high-gluten flour,” notes Anna DiCarlo, current co-owner. “We pride ourselves on quality—sauce made with California tomatoes, aged provolone and no preservatives. There have been a lot of copycats!”

In 1949, a second location opened to serve fans in Wheeling, West Virginia, and over the years nearly 20 pizzerias would open—through both family members and franchisees—in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Today, Michael’s granddaughter, Toni, runs most of the West Virginia locations with her son, Christopher; Anna and her son David focus on franchises; Anna’s son Nick manages the Columbus, Ohio, location; and Primo’s great-grandson operates the downtown Steubenville shop. But Anna still plans to grow and evolve: “I’m really picky about franchisees,” she explains. “I’ll open a couple more locations by myself, but I want to grow very slowly. We’re even working on experimenting with an organic, lower-gluten pizza recipe. But our original will always stay on the menu.”


The DiCarlo’s dynasty has received well-deserved media accolades from Parade, Gourmet and Plate magazines, and it has scored kudos from big-name pizza buffs: Then-presidential hopeful John Kerry offered a shout-out to DiCarlo’s while stumping in Wheeling back in 2004, while country music star Brad Paisley has professed his love for the Ohio Valley institution. But though the pizzeria counts plenty of loyal regulars, Anna cherishes the first-timers. “I love seeing the new customer,” she laughs. “When he comes in and tries the pizza, he loses it over how affordable and delicious it is. Then he’s hooked.”

By Tracy Morin


  1. diane shelekReply
    February 4, 2017 at 11:01 am

    remember this dearly and still my favorite pizza

  2. anthony juneReply
    March 8, 2019 at 3:39 am

    My Sister and Brother-In-Law (Patty L. (June) Moore and John L Moore) Open, Manage and Lived in the house behind the SunSet Blvd Store in Steubenville , Ohio. for almost 10-12 years.

  3. June 5, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Part of the Pizza Connoisseur s of Central OH fb site. Hillird shoppe gets posted a lot. Since it is so different than midwest cracker crust, I am always educating folks on DiCarlo’s. Just re-posted this story there.

  4. Cathy Huffine VadneyReply
    September 10, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    I grew up on this pizza every summer I spent with my grandmother in Steubenville. I live in New Mexico now by way of Florida, never found another Pizza that tastes like it. If only they shipped it!

  5. Tabitha BrinkleyReply
    October 28, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Is this any relation to the DiCarlos that have a pizza place here in Virden, IL?

  6. Dan TraughReply
    February 18, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Around 1960 there was a pizza shop in Parkersburg WV opened by a DiCarlo. The pizza he served was not like the pizza they have now. It was round and cheese baked on it if memory serves.

  7. camdizzleReply
    May 11, 2021 at 10:51 am


  8. SarilynReply
    April 6, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    My children grew up on DiCarlo’s Pizza. Every Friday evening, we would have it for dinner, and inevitably there was an argument for the last piece! lol It didn’t matter how many pieces I bought! DiCarlo’s Pizza is an Ohio Valley family staple!! It’s even a good quick meal on the run, to sports practice or games. The box the pizza comes in makes a great plate! If ever in Wheeling, DiCarlo’s is the downtown store is the best ask for extra cheese on the side!

  9. Steve HermanReply
    April 5, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    Was there ever a Dicaro’s pizza shop in Carrollton Ohio

  10. Robert BrownReply
    August 20, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    My father grew up in the Ohio valley (shady side, Oh.) and started eating DiCarlo’s pizza in the early 1950’s in Wheeling,WV. I was introduced to DiCarlo’s pizza in the early 70’s when they had a store in Belleaire , Ohio, it was always a favorite stop for us when my dad came back home several times a year to visit family. I remember the Elvis shrine they had in the front window. We could hardly wait to come back to the valley to visit because we knew DiCarlo’s would be our first stop. To this day 50 years later DiCarlo’s remains my favorite pizza and anytime I’m anywhere near the Ohio valley I make a detour to get me a tray of Ohio Valley heaven !!

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