One thing hasn't changed since Mineo's Pizza House first fired up its Squirrel Hill gas oven in September 1958. "It's the exact same pizza recipe my dad" — Giovanni "John" Mineo — "used when we opened," says owner Dominic Mineo.
What has changed are the extras: the famed rivalry with Murray Avenue neighbor Aiello's that began in the 1970s; ice cream, introduced in the late 1990s; and takeout beer service that began four years ago. This month, Mineo's introduces what might be its biggest change so far: a full-service bar.
"This is something we've had in the plans for years," says Dom.
He built the bar in the adjacent storefront that formerly housed Engel's Market. It's anchored by a granite-topped horseshoe bar framed by two elevated tables lofted with wine barrels.
Spirits and mixed drinks are available, but the neighborhood bar is focused on wine- and beer-drinkers, since wine and beer are better friends to pizza than a craft cocktail.
There are twelve taps. Guinness, Stella, Miller Light and Yuengling are fixtures, and the other eight taps will feature a rotation of craft and imported brews. The wine list, meanwhile, is Italian-only: "My family was born in Sicily and I want to support Italian wines," Dom explains. Wines are available by the glass and bottle, and cover a broad range of both price and quality.
Not surprisingly for a bar attached to a pizza joint, it's a great place to watch a game, and boasts one 52-inch and two 65-inch TVs. Dom says that there will be beer specials all summer long ($2.50 Bud Lights) during Pirates games.
Along with the recent opening of nearby Independent Brewing Company, Mineo's bar is another addition to the increasingly diverse drinking scene in Squirrel Hill. And for an established local favorite with a rich history, it's a nod to the future. "It's a whole new dimension for us," says Mineo. "We're taking it all to another level now."