Mercurio’s offers a little taste of Italy by the slice or in a cone
Authentic Neapolitan pizza and award-winning gelato has landed in O’Hara.
Mercurio’s, a family owned and operated Italian eatery in Shadyside since 2012, opened a second location in June at 1335 Freeport Road.
Three sibling co-owners, Anna Crucitt and Michael and Joe Mercurio, were raised around the original family gelato business that opened in 1999 — Mulberry Street Creamery, in Kittanning.
The trio chose the Freeport Road address for expansion, recently relocating the gelato creamery operations from Kittanning to O’Hara.
“The main reason we opened in (O’Hara) is because we’ve been driving to Kittanning for three years, making and delivering gelato. We needed something closer to the city. The location we are currently in was zoned for both manufacturing and retail, which was perfect,” Crucitt says. “Lots of people don’t travel to Shadyside, so it’s nice to bring Mercurio’s to them here.”
Mercurio’s isn’t a typical “pizza shop” says the family, but a true slice of Italian dining with authentic Italian antipasti, insalate, panini and pizza along with a full-bar and of course, the gelato.
A long, gleaming case, filled with dozens of gelato flavors, greets customers as they enter Mercurio’s, a larger version of the Shadyside location, a “little rustic and a little modern,” says Crucitt.
“We have won numerous gelato awards from the National Ice Cream Retailers Association,” says Crucitt. “Our chocolate gelato is based with nine different chocolate powders.”
Popular customer gelato flavors include Death by Chocolate, Dulce De Leche, Mint Chunk, Black Cherry Bordeaux, Chocolate Hazelnut and Stracciatella.
Customers can view behind-the-scenes operations at the creamery via large windows inside Mercurio’s, as mom Linda Mercurio and sister Lisa Mercurio manufacture gelato.
“We all know what needs to be done for our family business and it’s our name on the door, “ says Crucitt, referring to working with family members — seven days a week.
“We all stay in our own lane,” jokes Joe Mercurio, on keeping the family peace while operating two bustling restaurants.
Future plans at the O’Hara site include adding an exterior patio next season, which will add more than 20 seats to the current 100 available.
“Our goal has always been to create an authentic Italian dining experience for our guests. We want customers to feel like they just dined in a little restaurant in Italy,” Crucitt says. “And we are very family friendly.”
The gelato, dough, mozzarella and pizza sauce are made in-house daily.
Customers can peek at their pizzas baking (only takes minutes) in the large wood brick oven, personalized with the family surname.
Choose from more than 20 custom thin-crust pizzas — all offered in one size.
The top-selling pizza is the Margherita, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and extra-virgin olive oil and multiple vegetarian pizza options, such as the Primavera, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, artichokes, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and extra-virgin olive oil, are available.
Gluten-free dough is offered Monday through Wednesday for an additional $4.
The Mercurio family hails from the Calabria region in southwest Italy, with brothers Joe and Michael both recently earning their Master Pizzaiolo certifications in Italy.
Their pizza making skills have garnered awards, too.
Mercurio’s took first place in the Neapolitan Pizza Division and second place in the Gluten Free Division at the 2018 North American Pizza Competition held in Atlantic City, N.J.
“Customers are excited about not having to park in Shadyside and excited that we can accommodate much larger parties here,” Crucitt says. “The greatest reward is having a new group of customers fall in love with our products.”
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.