Marra’s Pizzeria

20130925-163347.jpg

20130925-164423.jpg

20130925-164450.jpg

20130925-164515.jpg

20130925-164531.jpg

Marra’s Pizzeria
1734 E. Passyunk Avenue

Castro:

When Plichter gave me the heads up that the next spot we’d be reviewing came from the heart of South Philly, I gotta admit; I was definitely stoked. 2 of my favorite pizza joints are only a few blocks from here. Stogie Joe’s and Gennaro’s. The excitement started to build. All I could think about was that first cheesy bite. The thought of adding another authentic South Phil’ slice to the blog was making my mouth water. On my lunch break, I decided to manuever my way through 20 minutes of stop and go traffic, and countless F-words, to indulge in the neighborhood favorite “Marra’s”.

Marra’s Pizzeria opened their doors to the residents of Passyunk Avenue, 83 years ago; and in turn, the residents of Passyunk Avenue watched 3 generations of Marra’s sling pies with style. The pizza oven that was used in the 1930′s is still being used to this day, and was built using actual bricks from Mount Vesuvius in Naples. That’s-a-spicy meataball. Their website even fires off claims that stars such as Conan O’Brien, John Travolta and even ol’ blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, have crushed a slice or two here. You can’t knock that street cred.

As soon as you make your way inside, you’re immediately greeted with that Italian family hospitality that you’ve come to know in South Philly. They make you feel right at home, kind of like Joe Pesci’s Mom in Goodfellas. You know, when you show up unannounced after savagely beating and stuffing a man in your trunk at 3 a.m for disrespecting you, and then she cooks for you and your friends. “Shut up. You’re always talking.” We didn’t dabble much in their pasta dishes, but from the reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon, people had nothing but choice words to say about them. Their pizzas come in 3 sizes: A personal 10″ banger, a small (which is a 14 incher) and a massive 18″ extra large monster. Trust me when I say that the small is more than enough for 2 human beings. Even though I was urged to try out their veggie pie, I was feeling rather carnivorous today. I couldn’t decide between the pepperoni or the sausage. So, naturally my inner fat kid spoke, and I got both. I fell in love with the crispy edges on the pepperoni. The sun glistened off the tiny pools of grease that puddled up on them. I did, however, have some issues with their sausage. It tasted strikingly similar to pizza hut’s sausage and was roughly the same consistency. It didn’t pop with any flavor, nor did it have that special zing to it. If you’re feelin’ like you need some meat sweats, stick with the pepperoni. The crust was the perfect thickness, but was a tad too chewy for my blood. I’m all about the crunch (and the benjamins).

All in all, it was a fairly decent pie for a decent price. Especially if you’re gonna be dining in. They’ll ensure you leave satisfied and stuffed, just like any Good Italian Mother would. I’d surely come back to Marra’s for seconds, but for now…my South Philly heart belongs to Gennaro’s.

Plichter:

It’s hard to imagine a restaurant that’s been open for over 80 years. Quite honestly, it’s hard for me to imagine even living 80 years. All too often, restaurateurs of today are too preoccupied with quick financial gain. Call me old fashioned, but I appreciate a restaurant with history over the next hip, trendy spot. For a place to surpass the test of time clearly speaks wonders for not only their establishment, but their product as well. Marra’s has done just that.

A staple of South Philadelphia, Marra’s serves up traditional Italian dishes as well as some of the best pizza around. Having drawn quite a bit of notoriety over the years, celebrities including Frank Sinatra, John Travolta, and Conan O’Brien have dined there. (Is it weird that I’m more impressed that Conan has eaten there than Sinatra?) It was a Sunday when I visited, so a veggie pie was in order after pumping my body full of crap the days before. The Pizza Ortolana comes equipped with mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, roasted peppers, tomato and garlic. Decadent seems like the wrong word to use for a veggie pie, but it almost was a guilty pleasure. The spinach and garlic weren’t too overpowering, and the tomato and roasted peppers melted in my mouth. The seasoned broccoli also had a peppery taste, which only added to the whole experience. It was a gloomy Sunday that day, but this pizza was a ray of light.

It’s no secret that Fishtown and South Philly are home to the best pizzerias in Philadelphia. Pizza Hub, Pizza Brain, Pizzeria Beddia, Isabella’s, Stogie Joe’s and Gennaro’s have all done some amazing things. But let’s see if they can last 80 plus years. If I make it to 80, I’ll celebrating with pizza and heroin. (I have a heroin date with someone if I make it to 80. I mean, what difference does it make when you’re that old??)

Pizza Hub

20130918-185653.jpg

The Hub

20130918-185714.jpg

Feeling chalky?

20130918-185744.jpg

The Margherita

20130918-185826.jpg

Sausage and Muzzzzzarella

20130918-185846.jpg

Close up

20130919-075633.jpg

A little duck and a little jazz makes everything alright.

20130918-185858.jpg

Breaking Pizza

20130918-185910.jpg

Rats off to you

Pizza Hub
221 E. Girard Ave.

Plichter:

Oh hey! How was your summer? Yeah, mine was awesome too. Thank you for asking!

Now that we got that outa the way, let’s dive right into the review. I know you’re probably already thinking “yeah, like Fishtown really needs another trendy pizzeria.” And as much as I’d like to agree with you, I can’t. If they can compete with the rest, they can stay. But with the Fishtown pizza community churning out some impressive pies, Pizza Hub certainly had a lot to prove.

Being only a block away from Beddia, Pizza Hub is also in the general vicinity of Pizza Brain and Trios as well. As far as ambiance goes, this place was my favorite of the group. Sure, Pizza Brain has all that memorabilia inside. But I sometimes feel as if it’s a bit gimmicky. The inside of Beddia is nothing to write home about, and Trios is pretty average. This place looked cool on the outside and had decent music playing inside. (I believe they were spinning Frank Sinatra records if my memory serves me correct.) We watched as our pizza was built and cooked within about 10 minutes, which was already impressive enough. Just by the saucy look alone, I knew I’d like it. Sweet and abundant, I could’ve sworn that they picked and crushed a bushel of tomatoes right before we entered. The drizzled olive oil over the fresh basil really complimented the sauce, giving it a really authentic Italian taste. Could there have been more cheese? Maybe. But regardless, their pizza was awesome just the way it was. Pizza Hub has passed the taste test, so stop in and welcome them to the club.

Castro:

Guess who’s back in the muh’fuckin house, with a brand new review for your sweater and your blouse. So, the boys of dough decided to take the summer off from gorging our faceholes with pizza in an attempt to get back into shape. (You’d be surprised at what consuming over 1100 slices in a single year can do to the human body.) But we’re back, and yet again we’ve ventured back into the gates of Fishtown to savor a fairly new establishment which opened their doors a little over 4 months ago. I’m talking about Pizza Hub. That’s Hub, not Hut. Get it right, sucka.

Pizza Hub is just a stones throw away from some of the best pizza joints that I’ve ever had the opportunity to review. Rustica, Beddia, Trios, Pizza Brain. They’ve all offered something new to the Philly pizza pallet. Naturally, Pizza Hub needed to bring the noise if they’re gonna sling pies in the Town of Fish with the rest of them. The owner Scott, who is just about the nicest person you’ll ever meet in your life, summed up what Pizza Hub is really about in a single paragraph. “Were not here to be pompous, bourgeois assholes. We’re not here to compete with all these other pizza places around here. We’re here do our own thing. We make boardwalk style pizza that won’t break your wallet.” I can dig it. He then proceeds to throw on a “Sonny Stitt” jazz record on his record player and begins to fix me a batch of his finest slices. Have you ever listened to some 50′s smooth jazz saxophone while watching someone make your lunch? It’s very relaxing.

What Pizza Hub brings to the table is a truly original, wafer thin crust on their pies. A sheet of razor thin pizza dough is brushed with some olive oil and a layer of mozzarella/provolone mix is generously layered on top. It’s then tossed into their 600 degree conveyor oven which melts the cheese down and crisps up the crust. This ensures that the toppings and sauce do not penetrate the dough, and ultimately turn your pie into a soggy pile of garbage. Brilliant engineering I must say. Next were some zig zags squirts of sweet sauce made from only the best crushed Jersey tomatoes. Top it all off with a handful of their spicy fennel sausage, guaranteed to open up your sinuses. Finally, a block of pecorino romano cheese (which is imported from the old country) is meticulously shaved on top. The shavings softly rained down like a heavenly dairy snowstorm from the Italian gods. Perfection to say the least. My second slice, “The Daffy”, is topped with duck confit, carmelized onions, baby arugula and some balsamic vinaigrette (also fresh off the boat from Italy). I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but duck confit are hand pulled shreddings of seasoned duck, cooked slow and low for about 6 hours in it’s own fat. This recipe was passed down to him from Scott’s father. It was fantastic. The tender duck and the sweet onion went extremely well with the bitterness from the balsamic dressing. By the time I was finished, my hands were super sticky; like a 6 year old kid after he’s done eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I couldn’t help but lick my fingers clean.

You ever heard the saying “less is more”? Well Pizza Hub definitely took that phrase to heart. The simplicity of this place is what makes it so wonderful. They can go slice to slice against any of the big boys in the area, or in the entire city at that. I had 3 giant slices, slathered from edge to edge in some of the best toppings you can possibly ask for, for only a few bucks. Pizza hub, I think I speak for us all when I say welcome to the family. Salud.

Pizzeria DiMeo’s

20130530-155813.jpg

Dimeo’s Pizzeria Napoletana

20130530-155935.jpg

Classy door, yo

20130530-160013.jpg

Bread team go

20130530-160038.jpg

Family first

20130530-160056.jpg

It’s raining menus

20130530-160138.jpg

Gettin’ it in

20130530-160153.jpg

Oak fired to perfection

20130530-160232.jpg

974 degrees. Blastin’ pizzas in 90 seconds.

20130530-160303.jpg

Antimo’s little pet.

20130530-160325.jpg

Strictly business.

20130530-160419.jpg

The Margherita

20130530-160609.jpg

Leopard spots.

20130530-160623.jpg

The fica

20130530-160636.jpg

The panna.

20130530-160710.jpg

Mexican coca cola. Pure sugar cane, son.

20130530-160736.jpg

Nutella wrapped in pizza dough. Straight aphrodisiac.

20130530-160819.jpg

Chewin and chewin.

20130530-160837.jpg

Have you heard? Plichter rules.

20130530-160858.jpg

Crushing shots of limoncello.

20130530-160937.jpg

Like father, like son.

20130530-160953.jpg

The baddest dudes in Roxborough.

Pizzeria DiMeo’s

8500 Henry Avenue (Andorra Shopping Center)

Castro:

Roxborough. A working class, blue collar neighborhood. One of the few areas left in Philly where you’ll surely find a tight knit community of residents who really do know everybody by first name. Personally, I consider it a suburb of Philadelphia rather than an actual section of this awful city. It’s quiter, there’s virtually no crime and it has some pretty good drinking spots. However, one thing that Roxborough lacks is a decent pizzeria. What’s that you say? What about Roma’s? Maria’s? Tony Roni’s? Fiesta? Stop it, you’re embarrassing yourself. I’ve had them all, and they should be ashamed to bare the title of pizzeria. Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me introduce you to Pizzeria DiMeo’s .

Pizzeria DiMeo’s is tucked away within the confines of the Andorra shopping center; almost acting as a shield to protect it from any outsiders looking to expose this hidden gem. Trust me. The 15 minute drive across Henry Avenue from the Boulevard is worth every second of your precious time. The moment you walk through the front doors, you’re instantly greeted with Authentic Italian decor and hospitality. A gigantic painted mural of Naples’ Mount Vesuvius and a handful of blown up photographs of the DiMeo family overlook the crowd of die hard diners who came for one thing and one thing only: The infamous wood fired, neopolitan pizza.

On this particular occasion, Scott Stein, DiMeo’s head of marketing, welcomed us with open arms. He immediately sat us down and schooled us on their history and their ultimate goal. One of the first things he said to us was “we feel that our pizza can hold it’s own against any pizza in not only the city, but in the country as well”. That’s something Scarface or Frank Lucas would say. Confidence and pride in a product that they firmly and wholeheartedly believe in. It rocked me to my core. He could’ve been trying to sell me a vacuum cleaner or a chia pet and I would’ve bought 12 of them based off his personal assurance and determination in what it is they do here. They’ve been open for a little over a year now and business has been steady booming. Sunday nights are considered “Italian night” at DiMeo’s. Italians from as far away as Newark, Vineland and Pottstown flock here to talk with their hands while they down a bottle of red with this truly authentic Pizza from the old country. They can’t pump these pizzas out quick enough. Not that that’s a problem, considering they’re running an oak fired pizza oven. Pizzas blasted at 900+ degrees are done in no more than 90 seconds.

Antimo DiMeo eventually greeted us and sat down to get our take on things. Let me paint you a picture of this guy. He’s 20 years old, looks and parties like Andrew W.K and literally knows anything and everything about pizza. He didnt have a single sauce stain on his fresh, white t-shirt and slacks. His pony tail had many godlike features. It reminded me of John Stamos’ hair when he was in his prime. Gracefully blowing in the heat emanating from the 974 degree oven. You know what I was doing when I was 20? I was wearing thick glasses and trying to sell kitchen knives door to door. This guy has one of the most up and coming pizzerias in the city, and will undoubtedly go on to accomplish many great things with this business. He has strived everyday since day 1 to perfect this recipe. “Pizza is an art, that’s what people don’t understand”. He says “the perfect pizza can be described as the crust having an eggshell skin with a warm pillowy center.” Such a detailed description made my mouth water and had me demanding the main course. Let’s eat.

We tackled 3 of their of most popular pies. The first was the Margherita. It’s the pizza that started it all at DiMeo’s. Simple. Elegant. Just like it’s done back in Naples. Nothing but crushed San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. The crust was littered with perfectly placed leopard printed burn marks. This pie was absolutely stunning. It easily puts some of the finest wood fired margheritas that we’ve had to shame. It’s a similar style to Bufad’s or Nomad’s Margherita pies but with a taste just superior on every single level. If you come during lunch hours, you can get this big, beautiful bastard for only $9. I implore you to make this one of your 2 picks when you finally grace them with your presence.

The second pie we got, at the suggestion of our tour guide, was the “fica”. Simply my favorite of the night. A jelly fig spread, burrata, baby arugula, truffle oil and some of the most succulent prosciutto you will ever have the pleasure of tasting. This is the part where I’d usually talk up how delicious the prosciutto was, but the sweet fig jam was the show stopper here. It’s like a light grape jelly which is spread on the pie, in lieu off any type of sauce, and explodes in your mouth. It amplifies the taste of every other ingredient and really brings them all together. The sweet jam combined with the salty meat was an incredible combination. I highly recommend sampling this pie for yourself. You will NOT be disappointed.

The last pie we were put up against was the “panna”. DiMeo’s sexy buffalo mozzerella, a little house made cream, red onion, oak roasted sausage that’s cooked within the walls of their 900 degree oven. Finally, it’s polished off with a fine grating of parmagiano-reggiano cheese that’s imported straight off the boat from Italy. The cream sauce that Antimo whips up himself from scratch was a new addition to my pizza palett. I thought it was paired well with the spiced sausage.

It’s always a plus when the owners of a pizzeria are equally as passionate and share the excitement for a good piece of pizza as yourself. I loved everything about DiMeo’s. The intimate atmosphere. The top notch, impeccable service. The unbelievable pies. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to review. DiMeo’s definitely stole this doughboy’s heart with a Margherita pie that will go on to live in Philadelphia pizza infamy.

Plichter:

The most impressive thing about Pizzeria DiMeo’s? They fly in their ingredients from Naples on a weekly basis. It’s a welcomed change of pace from most of the slop served in Philadelphia. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really decent pizzerias that get by on using what they can. But the little extra effort that DiMeo’s puts into their food really makes all the difference.

Before a restaurant can even worry about the ingredients, they need to have the right team in place. Scott Stein brings years of marketing and restaurant management to DiMeo’s, while Antimo and Pino bring years of dedication to the kitchen. And yes, I said years, despite the fact that Antimo is only 20 years old. When he sat at our table and began talking about the pizza, I couldn’t believe how articulately he described his pizza making process. When I was 20 years old, I slept til 2pm every day and worked at a shitty hospital. This guy puts in 12 hour days almost seven days a week. Impressive.

We almost always have to try the Margherita everywhere we go. That’s a no-brainer. And even though we’ve had plenty of plain Marg pies in the past, the quality of the ingredients made all the difference this time around. It doesn’t put Bufad or Nomad to shame, but it does taste better. The oak-roasted sausage of the Panna pie really brought out the secondary flavors of the red onions, house made cream, mozzarella di bufala and parmigiano reggiano. But my favorite of the night had to be the Fica pie. With fig spread, burrata, prosciutto, arugula and truffle oil, it was both a salty and sweet treat. I’ve had prosciutto on pies before, but this was undoubtedly the best I’ve ever had. The prosciutto at Tacconelli’s or Bufad cannot compete with this. And I don’t even like prosciutto!

Scott asked us an interesting question while at DiMeo’s. “Where else can you get this kind of quality at this kind of price?” The answer is nowhere. You will not get a better dining experience for the price anywhere around. It’s elegance with thriftiness. And while you’re there, be sure to try their delicious desserts that you can wash down with their homemade limoncello.

Pizzeria Beddia

20130523-014014.jpg

Store front

20130523-014030.jpg

1970′s directory

20130523-014045.jpg

Purrr-fection

20130523-014053.jpg

Dr. J bobblehead approves.

20130523-014122.jpg

1/8th’ing this bitch up.

20130523-014137.jpg

Sausage in the house.

20130523-103850.jpg

Hal A. Pain Yo’s

20130523-103927.jpg

Vic Mackey would be proud.

20130523-103936.jpg

Smile harder.

Pizzeria Beddia
115 E. Girard Ave.

Castro:

This week’s review belongs to a Philly newcomer. The Rookie of the year of cheese and sauce if you will. This is one that will surely turn heads in the near future. This spot easily has some of best pizza joints in the city taking the walk of shame, like a college freshman chick whose mascara is smeared down her face on a Saturday morning. I’m talking about the 10 week old “Pizzeria Beddia” in Northern Liberties. Located just a stones throw from the ever bustling and ever growing Frankford and Girard, I can almost guarantee you that they’re gonna have the dinner time rush on lock in the coming weeks. Forget Rustica. Forget Trios. This is the new jawn.

As I stood outside of this 2 story brick front building, I had no idea that I was staring into the face of one the finest pizzerias known to man. Other than the decal on the front door window, one might be lead to believe that it was simply a doctor’s office or a nail salon. Blink and you’ll totally miss it. As I entered, the scent of newly dried paint and freshly sanded wood, combined with the heavenly aroma of thin crust pizzas being blasted to perfection changed all that. Behind the counter stood single man sporting a throwback 76er’s snap back as he crushed an ice cold Kenzinger. Confident, comfortable and ready for battle he was. His beard glistened from the softly lit track lighting overhead. His weapon of choice? A deadly pizza peel constructed out of wood and steel that he surgically whipped around like a samurai’s katana blade. I tell you he was ten stories high if he was an inch. This was the man who was solely responsible for this Mecca of bubbly goodness. Not only does he own this newly birthed establishment, but he’s the head chef. Actually, he’s the only chef. You see, Joe Beddia is nothing short of pizza master. If there were a belt ranking system in the kitchen, he’d surely be a 10th degree black belt. He slings pie after pie from 5:30 to 10:30, 4 nights a week (that’s right, a 20 hour work week for all you math nerds). In some cases, he’ll completely sell out his dough halfway through the evening. Who else do you know that can put in half the hours as the other guy and still manage to destroy the competition? The answer is no one. He doesn’t even have a phone here. Oh, you want some pizza? Then strap on your crocs and beat feet to put your order in. It’s actually rather hilarious that Beddia’s advertised phone number is 215-555-5555. Joe jokingly told me that he might get it printed on some t-shirts. I love this idea. Even local critics on “Yelp” are stark raving mad about Beddia; and who can blame them. Nothing but 5 stars all around. Well, except for that one clown who barked “they were a bit pricey for me.” Hey chief, if you’d rather go to Tony’s and grab yourself a half assed, subpar pizza for ten bucks, then that’s your business. Me? I’d rather shell out the Andy Hamilton for a truly great dinner and walk away feeling like I could walk on water. Man, I wish I could beat that imbecile to death with his own shoe.

Beddia’s pizzas are like nothing you’ve ever had the opportunity of tasting. Just watching Joe lay out the foundation of sweet sauce with his trusty ladle, like he was conducting the London symphony orchestra, was mesmerizing. The hand pulled chunks of fresh, whole milk mozzerella were meticulously and cautiously placed within that circle of life. I opted for the ever succulent sausage that Joe grinds up and spices himself from scratch, using pork that’s imported directly from Lancaster County. Some of the best sausage I’ve ever tasted as a topping. After a brief 6 minutes in their 650 degree oven, the finishing touches were put on. This includes a generous grating of old gold gouda and a garnish of a fruity Californian olive oil. Mouthwatering. Bliss. Euphoria. Goosebumps. Just some of the many traits you’ll experience when this pizza hits your lips. I think the final addition of the extra virgin olive oil and grated cheese were what won this Filipino over. I gotta tell you, this is and will forever be the standard for what pizza should taste like.

I fell in love with everything Beddia has to offer the moment I stepped foot through the door. From first bite to the final crispy, blackened crust bubble. I was swept off my feet. If you’re gonna hit this place up, make sure you do it in the near future. I promise you, the pie line will surely wrap around building in the coming weeks. The summer of 2013 belongs to Joe Beddia and his masterpiece. Well done my friend.

Plichter:

There’s a certain comfort that comes with visiting a pizzeria with a short list of options. Such a menu exudes confidence, as if there’s no need for them to offer an abundance of frills; that their pizza can stand on its own. It’s a bold move to say the least, especially for a newly opened establishment that has to compete with the popularity of Pizza Brain. But I can honestly say that Pizzeria Beddia is up to the challenge.

Only a few steps from Johnny Brenda’s, Pizzeria Beddia has seen an amazing response since opening their doors about ten weeks ago. Open four days a week and five hours a day has created quite a buzz, almost similar to having to order your pizza a day in advance from Tacconelli’s. It’s almost a privilege to get there and order a pizza. Don’t plan on eating on eating inside though, since they can only accommodate about eight customers at the most. Personally, the wait time (a little over an hour) and lack of indoor seating wasn’t an issue for me. A couple beers at Johnny Brenda’s made the wait seem nonexistent.

This was one of the few pizzas where you open the box and become immediately excited. The thin crust, charred edges, and hot pickled peppers made my mouth water without even a bite. It was everything I thought it would be and totally worth the hype. I’m actually having a really hard time describing the tastes, but sometimes perfection can’t be described. You can absolutely expect this pizza to be in our top three of 2013. Between Pizzeria Beddia and Gennaro’s Tomato Pie, I am thoroughly impressed with the delicious and rustic pizza coming out of Philly. Crazy concoctions and specialty pies are nice, but nothing can match a finely made plain pizza. Just make sure to check their Twitter before making your way to Beddia. Word of mouth is starting to spread, and they’ve been known to run out of pizzas before closing for the night.

Lorenzo and Sons

20130507-151526.jpg

New and Improved

20130507-151741.jpg

Pizza wall murals are always cool.

20130507-151825.jpg

The infamous slice.

20130507-151909.jpg

It sureeeeeee is.

20130507-171511.jpg

Big slices for corporate america.

Lorenzo and Sons
305 South Street

Castro:

This review is a long time coming, especially considering how we’re supposed to be these big time Philly pizza connoisseurs and whatnot. I’m going to be completely and utterly honest with what I have to say in the next few paragraphs. I will undoubtedly gain a rather large following of haters for speaking my mind on this topic. Lorenzo and sons pizza. A South Street landmark for as long as I can remember. It’s always been one of the more popular spots in the city for slices. When I was 13 and my mom first allowed me to take the train by myself, my day would usually consist of buying movie posters, CD singles from tower records, various things from condom kingdom that I would never use (probably because I was fat, ugly and stupid and no girl would ever think twice about touching me) and i’d cap it all off with a mammoth slice of za’ from Lorenzo’s. There’s no mistaking those gigantic slices that easily cover 2 whole paper plates.

Now that I’ve gotten my personal history with Lorenzo’s out of the way, I’d like to state my case on why Jonny Castro dislikes this particular pizza. This is in no way a new gripe or concern either. I’ve felt this way about them ever since I first laid bite on this slice 17 years ago. Lorenzo’s is nothing more than a novelty item. Something someone made as a joke one day and ended up sticking. Okay, we get it. You make really big pizza. Probably the biggest anywhere within 100 miles of Philly; but it tastes like every other pizza I’ve ever had…except you get roughly 2 1/2 slices worth of pizza for the price of one and it’s open until 4 am. This pizza is nothing more than a fake flower you wear on your tuxedo that squirts water. A hand buzzer. A pen that shoots out disappearing ink. It’s a gag. It’s the Macarena dance of food. I feel like the hype should’ve died down a really long time ago. Could I possibly be the only person alive that feels this way about Lorenzo’s pizza?! Is this like the twilight zone episode where the girl thinks she’s ugly and gets plastic surgery to look like everyone else, when in reality, it’s everyone else that’s ugly?! I guess I’ll never understand what people see in this place.

You wanna grab a slice from Lorenzo’s? Cool, I’m down. But don’t insult me and Plichter by hashtagging “#bestpizzaintheworld”. I’ll get super shitty at Manny Browns and then walk down the street at closing time to satisfy my drunger (drunk hunger), but that’s the extent of my love for LZ and sons. They’re an overrated pizza parlor that pumps out a pie that only someone from the suburbs would call “the best.” Lorenzo should have threw in the towel while their ashes were still smoldering.

Plichter:

Whether or not you’re a fan of Lorenzo and Sons, I think we can all agree that they’re a part of this town and South Street. For me, their presence is more about the nostalgia than the pizza. I had spent many a night there in my heyday, drunk on cheap beers from Makos and trying to formulate an order. But that was the old me, which was also ironically the young me. Makos doesn’t exist anymore, and my pizza tastes have developed over the years. This venture back was going to be interesting.

If you’ve had their pizza before and liked it, you’ve got nothing to worry about at Lorenzo and Sons. Despite the fact that they’re using new ovens, their pizza tastes exactly as I remembered it: like… pizza. It’s nothing to write home about. It’s neither good nor bad, but the value and memories outweigh anything else. I mean, can you really get a bigger slice of pizza for around three bucks?? You can’t even get a sandwich at Wawa for under seven bucks, and you have to be wasted to actually enjoy it. (I should mention that I’m REALLY disappointed with Wawa food as of late. The only time that it’s acceptable to consume is when you’re wasted beyond belief, and even that’s questionable.)

So in closing, I implore you all to once again embrace this newly revamped Lorenzo and Sons Pizza. For what they lack in originality, they make up for in character and value. They’re by no means my favorite in Philadelphia, but it’s good to have them back in the pizza community. I hope that Makos somehow follows suit and reopens so I can pretend to be 22 all over again. Welcome back.

Garces Trading Company

20130418-204933.jpg

The Garces Trading Company

20130418-204956.jpg

It’s pronounced “Gar says”

20130418-205021.jpg

Bread and cheese and pizza oh my.

20130418-205054.jpg

Oozin’ and snoozin’

20130418-205116.jpg

Slices for yo’ ass

20130418-205131.jpg

“I’m ready for my close up…”

20130418-205154.jpg

It’s a fork and knife kinda evening

20130418-205253.jpg

Classy caucasian business man seeks delicious, fun loving, deep dish pizza to devour.

The Garces Trading Places
1111 Locust Street

Plichter:

This was an interesting experience to say the least. We pledge allegiance to the thin, east coast style pizza for life. But that’s really only one half of the pie. There’s a whole world of deep dish pizza out there that we typically don’t devour; mostly because of its scarcity, but also because of our preference. Never one to back down from the exotic, our latest review brought us to Garces Trading Company for their deep dish pizza.

Being more of a casserole than a pizza by definition, the deep dish from Garces typically takes about forty minutes to cook. Fortunately for us, Garces has an extensive wine selection and is also BYOB. (I saw nothing wrong with sipping on a glass or two of red while waiting the forty minutes for such an elusive dish.) Forty minutes and a few glasses later, the wait was over. Although it was probably about ten inches in diameter, about three inches of its thickness was nothing but cheese. The buttery crust was baked to perfection, and tasted closer to a legitimate pie crust than a pizza. Atop the freshly piled mozzarella was the oven roasted san marzano tomato confit, which was delightfully acidic in its own way. If I had it my way, the sauce to cheese ratio could’ve been a little more comparable. The dish was probably about 75% cheese, but will keep you cheese lovers coming back for more.

Will I go for the deep dish from now on? Probably not. I’m a thin crust guy and always will be. But that’s not to say that this pie wasn’t delicious. This was more of an overall experience than just grabbing a couple slices. Aside from the pizza, the wine and atmosphere made this a review I won’t soon forget. If you haven’t been to Garces or tried the deep dish pizza, I feel sorry for you. I can assure you that a follow-up review will be coming soon to give their traditional pizzas a try.

Castro:

A few months ago, one of the doughboys’ devoted fans (A Californian at that) posted a link on our facebook wall to an article which highlighted 75 pizza places in America that you absolutely must try. 7 of them were located within the Philadelphia area. The list was nothing new to me. I was more than familiar with them all except for one. The Garces Trading Company. The article went on to describe their pizza as a truly authentic Chicago deep dish style pizza. This immediately got my attention because I’ve always had a hankering to sample the wonder that is Chicago deep dish, but never really had a chance to make it out that way. The closest that I’ve ever gotten were the DDP’s that Pizzeria UNO churns out. Don’t get me wrong. Their DDP’s are quite alright in my book. We actually reviewed them a while back. I mean, they do hold bragging rights for inventing the word “deep dish pizza”. Having said that, I wanna be able to taste what Chi-town residents take for granted every single day of their lives. I want to know what mid-west pizza has that we don’t. I want to be able to savor legit deep dish pizza before I die; and tonight…I may very well get that chance.

As you enter, you’ll take notice that it’s not only a restaurant, but an adorable little market in which you can purchase hunks of imported cheeses and deli meats sliced by the pound. Do you consider yourself a coffee guru? Then scoop a pound of their freshly roasted coffee beans. Oh, you’re one of those weirdos that request that your friends refer to you as an olive oil aficionado? Then grab a plate and dip some of their freshly baked bread in a puddle of their delectable homemade olive oils. The point is, there’s a buttload of different things going on at the GTC than just sitting down for lunch or dinner.

Now, back to the pizza. I came here for one thing and one thing only. To sink my teeth into the deepest of dishes. A little word to the wise: These pies are roughly 3 inches thick, so you’re looking at a minimum bake time of about 45 minutes. I called ahead and placed my order. This way, when I sat down my pie was just about ready, Freddy. As my waitress laid this beast onto my table, I was in complete awe. This thing had to weigh 5 pounds and could easily feed 4 linebackers. The second you separate your first slice with your own personal spatula, you begin to understand the concept of deep dish pizza. A combination of molten, ooey-gooey gruyere and mozzerella cheeses as well as a super chunky, sweet San marzano tomato confit just completely blanket the inside walls of this pie. My favorite part of this experience was taking the crust, smothering it with the fallen puddles of hardened cheese and clumps of sauce. The thickness of this bad boy reminds me of slicing into a freshly baked, double layer birthday cake. I fell in love at first bite. Next time, I want some candles put in it so I can make a wish for world peace and more deep dish pizza joints to pop up around Philly. My expectations of what an authentic Chicago deep dish pie tastes like were easily surpassed with this visit to the Garces Trading Company. Hands down, doughboys approved in this Filipino’s eyes.

PEACE A PIZZA

20130402-195101.jpg

PEACE A PIZZA

20130402-195123.jpg

Choose your fate

20130402-195413.jpg

The marvelous margherita and the beautiful backyard BBQ

20130402-195431.jpg

The classy Mediterranean

20130402-205130.jpg

It aint easy bein’ cheesy

20130402-205205.jpg

Spicy chicken

20130402-205439.jpg

“If eating pizza with a tie on is cool, consider me Miles Davis.”

20130402-195450.jpg

That awkward moment when you have to take pictures of yourself in a crowded restaurant

PEACE A PIZZA

4 Station Road, Ardmore PA

Castro:

Every now and again I truly cherish those rare times in this business where I get to depart this filthy city and enjoy a slice of pizza in the suburbs. In this case, I got to watch as the dilapidated row homes of West Philly slowly turned into the luxurious Bruce Wayne style manors of beautiful Ardmore. What better way to cap off such a relaxed drive then to scarf down a few slices at PEACE A PIZZA. Normally, I would gladly pass on the opportunity to review yet another chain restaurant, but word on the street is PEACE A PIZZA has got it goin’ on. Located just steps away from the Septa Train junction in downtown historical Ardmore, PEACE A PIZZA surely has the hungry “9 to 5″ commuter monopoly on lock.

I can already tell you that there’s definitely gonna be some haters regarding this particular review. Some of you will compare this place to the likes of a liberal sbarro, serving nothing more than mediocre pre-made slices on-the-go. I did a quick yelp search to see what people were saying about PEACE A PIZZA and the reviews were absolutely horrendous. One thing I’ve learned from doing this is that you can never, EVER, trust Yelp. It’s mostly idiots who want to be assholes because their pizza came out 5 minutes too late, and will stop at nothing to completely trash a place’s reputation just because it’s their only way to get the last laugh. Anyway, from the moment you enter, you can tell that you’re gonna have a tough time deciding on what kind of za’ you’ll want. They have anything and everything under the sun to satisfy your pizza needs. If you can imagine it, they probably will make it. Today was payday, so I figured I would ball out of control and get me 3 slices.

The first on deck was the Margherita, or as they call it, the “Fresh Mozzarella.” A nice way to start my visit. The juicy sliced plum tomatoes complimented their chunky, sweet red sauce. My favorite part were the melted puddles of gooey mozzarella cheese that littered my slice. It definitely lived up to it’s name and left me anticipating my next client.

The second slice of this trip went to the “Backyard BBQ”. Clumps of succulent pulled pork infused with a little smokey BBQ sauce were, without a doubt, the backbone of this backyard wonder. It was smothered in a deadly combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and garnished with a little chopped red onion and fresh cilantro. I was particularly impressed with this slice. Every ingredient worked off the next. The hickory BBQ sauce and the hint of lime that the cilantro gave off were the MVP’s. It was reminiscent of Manayunk’s couch tomato’s pulled pork pie, only a tad bit better.

My third and arguably most delicious slice of the day goes to the “Mediterranean.” A meatless gem that took me by surprise and swept me off my feet. First the stretched dough is sent into the 550 degree oven with a coating of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, ultimately transforming it into somewhat of a cheesy bread of sorts. After it cools down, it’s generously topped with a variety of garden-esque toppings. Baby spinach, diced tomato, red onion, kalamata olives, artichokes, roasted red peppers, feta cheese and a sprinkling of olive oil. Then…it waits. It lies motionless with complete confidence on the counter among the all other pizzas, stalking it’s prey. When an unsuspecting victim chooses this underdog, it’s tossed back into the oven, reactivating the cheeses and breathing life into all of those healthy greens. The first bite explodes with juices from the endless array of fresh vegetables. The garlicky taste from the twice baked cheesy dough is the dominant flavor until you toss your last crust to the wayside. For a split second I felt like one of those people that doesn’t eat meat. What are they called again? Oh yeah, weirdos…

I loved everything about this visit to PEACE A PIZZA. I half expected at least one of my 3 slices to be a complete letdown, but they came out strong and totally killed it. If you’re in the area of St. Joe’s or just want to take a leisurely drive out to Ardmore to see some gorgeous mansions that you’ll never be able to afford, stop in for a quick bite to eat. Decide for yourself if PEACE A PIZZA is the slice king of Montgomery County.

Plichter:

One perk of buying a car on the Mainline is that fact that PEACE A PIZZA is within walking distance. For that matter, having to return to the same dealership for whatever reason becomes less irritating when PEACE A PIZZA is within walking distance. While waiting for my free oil change, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by strolling around the corner and indulging in their interesting pie selection.

For over 15 years, PEACE A PIZZA has been serving up some of the best za right outside Philadelphia. Classic pies are always my favorite, but I thought I’d give their Mac n’ Cheese and Spicy Chicken pizzas a chance. Starting with a layer of crème fraiche, the Mac n’ Cheese pizza is completed with ziti pasta, creamy cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses before being seasoned to mouth-watering perfection. The neon orange of the cheddar was enough to catch this Doughboy’s eye. Five minutes later, and this gooey bastard was ready to be hoisted into my mouth. But I noticed right away that something was missing, and that was the lack of cheddar flavor. Everything else was there, but it seemed a bit bland without that cheddar kick. I’ve almost always steered clear of pies with pasta, and this was exactly why: it just seemed like a pile of mush in my mouth. The crust was impressive enough to save this one, but not by much. In my opinion, I’d avoid this one.

Following that disappointment, I got working on the Spicy Chicken slice. Topped with bell peppers, onions and chunks of chicken, I knew pie would redeem its predecessor. Or so I thought… Again, I was a bit let down with this slice. Not only were the bell peppers dull, but the ratio of chicken to peppers was WAY off. I basically got a mouth full of onion flavor in every bite. Don’t get me wrong, I like red onions. But I also like to taste the other ingredients involved.

I’ve been to PEACE A PIZZA about three times in my lifetime, and this was the most disappointing experience. Considering how hungry I was, I envisioned that this visit would be a slam dunk of deliciousness. However, please do not let my disappointment deter you from visiting and trying their other pies. Before this last visit, I had their Chicken Parm and Chicken Bacon pies and both were outstanding. I’m all about trying new things, but I should’ve stuck to what I knew this time around.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.