Opened in 2012, Providence Coal Fired Pizza is a relative newcomer to the national scene, but its 900-degree cooked, Pennsylvania-coal-fired pies pretty immediately captured the attention of pizza lovers living in the Creative Capital. The original location (a second opened in North Kingstown), within walking distance of the Providence Performing Arts Center and the city’s convention center, is in the historic, 130-year-old Conrad building, whose eclectic architectural mix of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance styles may be as close to Gaudí as you can get in Providence. And its co-owner and co-founder, Richard Allaire, who worked at Radius in Boston (now closed) and counts on his résumé cooking experiences with Gary Danko, Mario Batali, and Susur Lee, is a Rhode Island native.
The pizzaiolos make a dough with more water than flour so it can stand up to the intense coal heat, and shoot for about a 20- to 30-percent char on the outside of their pies (you can watch them being made if you want — just go up to the “pizza bar”). Among their 11 standards, the rocket is the restaurant-described signature pizza — a Margherita topped (right from the oven) with fresh arugula and pecorino.
If a salad-topped pizza doesn’t get the tomato sauce in your veins pumping, try the much-lauded pepperoni, or the pizza named for the building, The Conrad (roasted onion, sausage, roasted peppers, mozzarella, pecorino, and rosemary). There’s also an interesting clam pie that pairs fingerlings with local clams and adds roasted red onions, rosemary, pancetta, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. For something else you don’t see very often on a pie, get The Steak (shaved steak, roasted onions, creminis, hot peppers, provolone, and Great Hill blue cheese). Don’t forget that they cook other things in the oven besides pizza, most notably the crunchy coal-fired wings.
— Arthur Bovino, 101 Best Pizzas in America 2015, 8/6/2015