The Pizza Chase: An Abundance of Flavor at Shelly Pie

an irregularly-topped pizza on a tabletop with glass of ice tea
“If the abundance of toppings is too much, ask for light toppings.” A pepperoni, sausage, and (half) green pepper pizza from Shelly Pie, Turtle Creek

No one. Not a single person. It hasn’t happened. Throughout the long history of humans applying sauce and cheese to fresh baked bread, there has never been an instance where the diner wished for there to be less toppings on her or his pizza. We refuse to accept this premise.

However, hypothetically speaking of course, if ever there was such a place—a pizzeria that lives only in the imagination of those who dream big, one whose pies are so over-laden with toppings as to prevent human hands from delivering mere pizza slices to mouths unassisted—that place is Shelly Pie. We were warned.

exterior of Shelly Pie pizzeria in former VFW hall, Turtle Creek, PA
Talk about cloudy with a chance of … pepperoni and sausage. Shelly Pie, in the former VFW Post 207, Turtle Creek

We’re Americans. We don’t like rules. Shelly Pie’s menu doesn’t exactly have strict rules, per se—the Page 1 instructions are more like disclaimers or warnings about what you’re getting into—but how much training and expectation-setting does a person need to order a pizza?

It’s no small amount, it turns out.

A Shelly Pie is a knife and fork pizza. It’s right there at the top of the quite literal list. Don’t try to pick this thing up, it will only break your heart. The overload of smouldering cheese and full arsenal of toppings just won’t hold up to being lifted off the plate in toto. While any one of Shelly’s eponymous pies will blow your mind, the laws of gravity still apply here.

man with large slice of pizza collapsing onto his plate
Epic pizza fail! Some people just won’t play by the rules. Paul learns the hard way that “A Shelly Pie is a knife and fork pizza”
man eating a large forkful of pizza
The student becomes the master. Paul finally learns his lesson.

The cold hard facts of a hot cheesy life don’t end with the use of silverware.

We use fresh vegetables. Know that a vegetable pizza will produce a lot of liquid. Fair enough—this from another of Shelly Pie’s FAQs. Neither our tomato & spinach pizza (below) nor the half green pepper (at top)—which must have contained an entire large pepper—had any noticeable storm runoff, but it must be true on a really heavy veggie pie or the notes wouldn’t have made it to the menu.

pizza box for Shelly Pie with catch phrase "Yinz gotta try ... Shelly Pie"
The box doesn’t lie! Yinz gotta try Shelly Pie

Our pizzas are unique in that no two pizzas look alike. A statement we confirmed with just our minimal sample size. Our cheeses are high in fat. When you add fatty meats to a pizza, it creates a lot of grease. Another bon mot from Shelly that really sets up There are times when the top crust will look dark. It’s not burnt. It’s charred.

an irregularly-topped pizza on a tabletop with glass of beer
“Our pizzas are unique in that no two pizzas look alike.” A tomato & spinach pizza from Shelly Pie

The big one—that inconceivable scenario—hits you in the menu’s fourth bullet point: If the abundance of toppings is too much, ask for light toppings. Needless to say we neither requested light toppings nor were we disappointed in the abundance thereof for either entree.

A custom-ordered Shelly Pie isn’t so much flavored by its toppings as it hosts a convention attracting every free slice of pepperoni and unbooked green pepper east of metro Pittsburgh. They get down to business during the daytime and are ready to party all night long. Like the plumbers union meeting at David L. Lawrence Convention Center, participants in this Bacchanal won’t head home until they’ve done something they regret.

woman eating pizza with fork
Take it from a librarian: *read the instructions*! Heidi: speed limit adherent, pizza rule follower.

The toppings are extraordinarily generous—and delicious—but they in no way act as a smoke screen or distraction for inferior dough. Far from it. Shelly Pie’s admittedly irregular and “charred” crust bubbles and bulges but it’s as perfect a bed for pizza pie as this eater has ever had the pleasure to consume.

It’s been three weeks since our team ventured out to Turtle Creek on this reporting trip and, like an addictive drug, your author has fantasized about the next time he can inject Shelly Pie directly into his bloodstream, let his eyes roll back into his skull, and drift off into the abundance of another exquisite dream meal.

utility pole banner in Turtle Creek, PA announcing home of Shelly Pie Pizza & Restaurant
Welcome to Turtle Creek, home of Shelly Pie

Getting there: Shelly Pie is located at 912 Penn Avenue in Turtle Creek and they’re open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, so all you have to figure out is breakfast.