Pizza can be a sensitive subject with many foodies. Everyone has their own expectations based on where they grew up and what they are conditioned to think what “good pizza” must be like. For me, when talking about pizza, it is very important to compare apples to apples. I wouldn’t send a person looking for great New York style pizza to a place that only sells Chicago deep dish pies. There are different styles of pizza, varying thickness of crust, ratios of cheese to sauce, even different kinds of ovens. Then there are the toppings. Oh my the toppings. So many choices! All that said, if you are looking for great Neapolitan Style Pizza I think I may have found the best in the Triangle at Treforni Pizza in Hope Valley Commons in Durham.
Owner Dave Diggins opened Treforni a little of a year ago, but he isn’t a newcomer to the art of making great a great pie. Dave started in the pizza business back when he was just a teenager living in Cherry Hill, NJ and has spent more than three decades working in the pizza industry. Over the years he was drawn to the more traditional Neapolitan pizza and learned the art for this particular style of pizza from his mentor Roberto Caporuscio, who mastered his craft in Italy working at the oldest pizzeria in Naples.
Neapolitan pizzas are typically about 12 inches in diameter and are typically considered a personal pizza. Pizzas of this size are plenty to feed one but if you are on a date or with a group it is fun to order a different pie for each person and share.
The menu at Treforni is pretty straight forward, with seven red pies and seven white. A big plus is that you can also get a pizza made with a gluten free crust. This isn’t some pre-made crust you can get anywhere. They make it right ther in-house in a special area and even have a dedicated gluten free pizza oven. My wife ordered a gluten free pie (pictured above) and she was very impressed with the tasty crust. I tried it and was equally impressed. I barely noticed any difference between the regular crust. You don’t give up on any flavor or texture when going Gluten Free at Treforni.
While the Pizza is definitely the center of attention Treforni also offer a nice collection of calzones and as sandwiches if you want to switch things up. They also have four different salads featuring mixed of greens including a spring mix as well as arugula, and spinach. You can view the full menu here.
The pizza I ordered was made using the traditional crust and was topped with spicy Sarita, sopressata, mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. It was absolutely delicious! Easily one of the best pizzas I have ever had and definitely the best Neapolitan pizzas I have ever eaten. It had the perfect balance of sauce and cheese. I really enjoyed the spicy flavor of the Sarita too. It was spicy but not hot. It was a nice change from the pepperoni I typically order when getting a pizza. The crust was about as perfect as you can get. It was crispy with just the right amount of chewy softness on the inside.
An important point about the crust was that it had just the right amount of “Charring”. Or at least what I like to consider the “right amount”. Getting the charring right without burning the crust speaks to correctly timing when the pizza is taken out of the oven (usually after just 90 seconds) and the moisture content of the dough. It’s an art getting it just right and Treforni has it nailed. Everything about my pizza was perfect and before I was done I was already planning my next visit.
The dining room at Treforni is spaceous and offers large communal tables for groups and smaller tables for couples. Many of the tables provide a great view of the pizza ovens so you can watch the wood fired ovens work their magic when your pie goes in. The staff are friendly and accommodating. We were there early on a rainy Sunday afternoon before the lunch crowd. I noticed a father and his young son come in and it was nice to see the cook behind the counter spread some flour on an open space on the counter and let the little boy roll out some extra dough to help make his pizza.
If you want to try some great pizza and support a worthy cause, on Tuesday, July 11th Treforni will be donating 15% of the proceeds that day to benefit Seeds, a community garden in Durham. But regardless of when you plan your visit, Treforni is definitely a place to put on your radar if you are looking for a great Neapolitan pizza. No tour of the Triangle pizza scene would be complete without a stop here. The great pies and relaxed atmosphere make it a versatile place perfect for a quick bite to eat or a fun and affordable date night before a movie at the nearby Southpoint Mall. Once you go let me know what you think. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did!
1125 W North Carolina 54
Durham, NC 27707