For those who have seen calzones jotted on the bottom corner of your local pizza shop's menu without ever trying one -- what are you waiting for? A calzone is basically a pizza ready to devour on the go. Not to be confused with its cousin the stromboli, a calzone's outer dough is pizza dough, whereas the stromboli is made with Italian bread dough.
In the style of the great Philadelphia debate of who makes the better cheesesteak, Chow Bella now asks the question, who makes the better calzone? Clutching a calzone in each hand, this battle was one of the toughest to determine, pitting two longtime Valley pizza families against one another.
In This Corner: Spinato's
The Set-up: With five Valley locations, and the ability to ship its pizza anywhere in the continental United States, the Spinato family has been rolling out pizzas for the past 39 years.
The Good: Spinato's used a greater allocation of space inside the calzone, as it was fully stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, pepperoni, and sauce. The sauce is a bit sweeter and the crust is perfectly golden brown. Plus, there is no trail of grease left across your hand after.
The Bad: We wanted a bit more dough wrapped around our calzone, as well as some extra sauce for dipping.
In This Corner: DeFalco's
The Setup: Owned and operated by the DeFalco family for 41 years, De Falco's interior is more a neighborhood market, with tables tucked between the shelves, and cold cases filled with olives, Italian cold cuts, and gorgeous chocolate tartufo cake.
The Good: De Falco's calzone is doughier and offers a fabulous chewy texture. It has a nice crunchy ruffle of dough along the edge where the calzone is sealed. The dough is flavorful and stuffed full of mozzarella and pepperoni, and the sauce arrives on the side. This calzone is not greasy, which kept our hands clean for grabbing some wine.
The Bad: We would have loved some ricotta in the standard calzone, as well as a more golden crust on the exterior.
And the winner is...DeFalco's. At the end of the day, this comes down to preference, and though we wouldn't be sad to see either of these hit our table, DeFalco's calzone offered a more flavorful dough, which is what sent it over the top.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.