Monthly Archives: August 2011

Special Edition: Guest Reviewer Nickki Duban

Plichter:

There comes a time in the life of a Doughboy where personal and professional obligations get in the way of our pizzeria passion. After all, Castro is keeping the bad guys off the streets five days a week and I’m…trying to grow a mustache. Anyways, our good friend Nickki recently took a trip to New York and tried some decent pizza. So without further adieu, here’s our first Doughboys Guest Review. If you’re interested in doing one as well in the near future, feel free to drop us a line either on here or via Facebook.

Nickki Duban:

So the hubs and I decided to take a weekend trip to the big apple two weekends ago with the express goal of being tourists. I’m a pizza freak – one thing I had to do while I was there was have a genuine slice of New York pizza.

You know how in Philly and you get asked which is the better cheesesteak? “Go to Pat’s! Go to Geno’s!” Pshhhhhhhhhh! I’ve learned from living in this fine city that the best spots to get some great grub are actually the corner mom and pop shops. Applying the same logic, we avoided Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s and went in search of a local pizza shop.

Insert Bella Vita pizzeria here. Nestled on West 58th street near Central Park, this cozy (tiny) pizza place looked like Montesini’s pizza in the Mayfair Mall had been smushed into a row home back bedroom. Thankfully, a large tarp sign and a neon pizza sign guided our way. Scaffolding surrounded the building around it. A few two tops by the window, a few 4 tops near the door, this place screamed high delivery or high walk-in/out (like Lorenzo’s on South).

Approaching the counter, the counter dude seemed aloof and the selection was limited. The prices were spot on for the size of the slice $2.50 for plain, $3 for topped. I can dig it. I spotted a pie of tomato and mozzarella swirls. Winner! I ordered a very large slice. The hubs followed suit by getting a slice of pepperoni and a slice of sausage and mushroom. Slices went in the oven first downside – no fountain soda. I love me some fountain coke, but went with a bottled drink.

My slice came out piping hot from the brick oven, bigger than the plate and I was in love. A thin crispy crust topped with tomato sauce and fresh (yes fresh!) mozzarella. Delicious, not too greasy, and just the right amount of everything. I looked at the hubs and my review was complete “I want to go order another slice”.

He didn’t fare as well as I did. The pepperoni slice was good, but the sausage and mushroom was gross. He picked off a piece of sausage for me to try – I couldn’t even finish chewing it. It was a cross between bellybutton lint (in color) and very bland breakfast sausage (in seasoning). That was supposed to be Italian sausage? Yikes! He said he wished he’d ordered two of the pepperoni.

So lesson learned with this place, stick with the classics. They do them big and they do them well. Next time I go to NY I’ll definitely be going back.

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Tacconelli’s

Tacconelli’s

Castro:

Once upon a time…deep in the heart of Port Richmond, lies an establishment that makes a pizza so perfect, it’s almost hard to even believe. Have you ever seen the Usual Suspects? Nobody was sure Keyser Soze was real, but everyone was afraid to doubt his existence. I knew that Tacconelli’s was going to make a delicious pizza, but I didn’t want to believe that it was going to be “the best” I’d ever eaten. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to give that title out to just any pizza either. They were going to have to work for that honor.

After careful consideration on our pizza selections, we called ahead 24 hours to order our dough. This is a must. Don’t be that guy who thinks you can just walk in and get a pie whenever. I wasn’t sure the reasoning behind this until I was informed that Mr. Tacconelli makes ONE batch of dough daily. When that dough is gone, it’s gone. For our pizzas we went with some unusual picks. One white with prosciutto and onion, one margarita and one half-cheese/half pepperoni. This may seem like an abundance of pizza, but we wanted to give a fair review to meet everyone’s pizza tastes.

The pizzas are cooked to perfection in an 18’X18’ oil-fired, brick oven. At 800 degrees, your pizza generally only takes about 4 minutes to cook. This oven has been around for decades. It has been modified within the past 20 years, but essentially it’s the same oven the first generation Tacconelli baked bread in back in the 1920’s. Remember the episode of the Simpsons when Homer eats that box of baking soda in the back of fridge? And he has an antacid trip from all the different tastes of absorbed food? It’s comparable to that. You can actually taste the built up char from the thousands upon thousands of pizzas from years past. In my opinion, the crust was the absolute best part of this experience. It was super crunchy, and just tasted the way fresh, handmade dough should taste like.

The white pizza with prosciutto and onion was pretty good. The ingredients for the white pizza consist of nothing more than salt, black pepper, cheese and fresh garlic. I think the combination of prosciutto and onion gave it a sweet yet salty taste. As Patrick Bateman would say, “It was a playful, but mysterious little dish.”  I wouldn’t recommend getting this pizza and ONLY this pizza, but it’s nice addition to a red sauce pie. The margarita pie was a little better than the white. The sauce was amazingly sweet and tangy. You can definitely taste the fresh basil. There was only a small presence of mozzarella cheese but it was just enough to know it was there. It was even topped with some pieces of fresh picked basil leaves. But the main attraction was the cheese pie with pepperoni. I can’t explain the feeling you get after biting into it for the first time. The crust, the cheese, the grease, the pepperoni…all the players worked together to make this pizza my favorite of the night.

I really don’t understand why people go out of their way to give Tacconelli’s anything less than 5 stars on review websites. People complain about the staff being stuck up and the pizza being overrated. Our waitress Liza went out of her way to make sure we felt at home and had an amazing first time. I have literally eaten thousands of slices of pizza in my life. Some were incredibly bad and some were indescribably amazing. Some I’ll always remember, others were just a meal because I was hungry. Tacconelli’s isn’t just another place to go out to dinner. It was an experience. The jukebox played “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole at just the right volume, while we polished off a total of 19 slices between the 3 of us. This pizza was truly unforgettable. It was simply “the best” I’ve ever had. I feel like I was Johnny Lawrence and Tac’s just crane kicked me in the face while Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best (Around)” plays as a soundtrack to this review.

Plichter:

A visit to Tacconelli’s is not unlike being a part of some sort of pizza secret society. For starters, you have to order your pizzas a day in advance. That fact alone furthered my fascination. Not only that, but they stick to only making pizza the same way they have since 1946. If you’re driving down Somerset Street, there’s a decent chance you’ll miss their neon storefront tucked between Philadelphia row houses. But once you’re inside, you’ll know it was worth the effort for such an original pie.

At the advice of a coworker (Genine M? No, that’s way too obvious. Let’s just call her G Murphy.) I felt obligated to try the margarita pie that had been hyped up so much. Other than that, and being bored with the usual pizzas I’ve been eating, we also ordered a white pie with prosciutto and onions. Even though they claim they don’t deliver, the waitress had no problem delivering the pizzas right to our table. (That was supposed to be a joke, but I understand if you think I’m stupid.) I dove mouth first right into the white pie, which was literally covered entirely with prosciutto and onion. To be honest, the onions were a bit overwhelming, but delicious nonetheless. Along with the garlic and salt, the toppings came together in a pungent flood that made my mouth water. It was tart, but in a good way. Following such a sharp slice, I bit into the margarita and understood why so many people have raved about Tacconelli’s for ages. Their sauce is unlike any I’d ever had before. The finely smoothed tomato sauce that blanketed the pie was sweeter than most other places. Accompanied by large pieces of fresh basil and a simple slab of mozzarella, it was the sauce that stole the show. Needless to say I’ve been eating a lot of pizza lately, and none of it has tasted like this. It was truly original. I usually don’t talk about the crust in most my reviews, but this one is definitely worth mentioning. As Castro mentioned above, the charred edges contain a baked in flavor of all the pizzas that have been cooked in their oven. Everything to that point had been interesting to say the least, and it continued to be with every bite.

Now although it’s unheard of for them to make you a pizza without the day in advance, we thought it was at least worth a shot. We asked our waitress Liza if there was any chance of getting a traditional, half pepperoni pizza. She said sure, and the relief washed over me in an awesome wave. Out of our three pizzas, our final one was my favorite. The sweet pepperoni, blackened crust, and incredible sauce had made me a believer. I’m only sad that I had already filled up on the other two pies, because this one was the best. I tried to force more down my throat, but I was already down for the count after six slices.

Truly a place where social status and inhibitions are left at the door, Tacconelli’s certainly breaks the mold of your everyday pizza joint. They’re simplistic and uncomplicated which is the way they should be. When you do something as well as they do, there’s little reason to change a thing. Excellent staff, friendly atmosphere, and pizza you seriously can’t get anywhere else. I’ve had pizza in different parts of the United States at one point or another, and none of them have a sauce like theirs. I know many have said it before, but there’s only one word that can describe it: Sweet.

Special Edition: Pete & Elda’s Pizza Challenge

Pete and Elda’s/Carmen’s Pizzeria

96 Woodland Ave and Highway 35

Neptune, New Jersey

Castro:

I was eating breakfast in a shitty downtown diner last week when my buddy Nick asked me if I’ve ever heard of a place in Monmouth County, New Jersey called “Pete and Elda’s.” As I forced down a terrible bacon omelet he explained to me that if you can eat one of their double extra large pizzas by yourself, you’d be awarded a t-shirt stating you accomplished such a feat. After careful research, this was found to be the only place in the immediate area that offered a pizza eating challenge. At this point, I was fully aware that there was no other option except to make this 64.9 mile drive and become the newest inductees into the “Whole Pie Eater’s Club.”

As our waitress seated us, I noticed 2 kids (probably 13 years old at most) being presented with the coveted shirts. Was this a joke? Are these pizzas just normal size? Do they give this shirt out to anyone who even attempts the challenge but fails? I immediately looked at Plichter and further stated how we were going to destroy this pizza with the greatest of ease. I went with half sausage and half hot peppers for my selection. Before I get into it, let me explain that this was probably the worst idea I’ve ever had. I assumed they were your standard hot peppers you get as a side order for your cheesesteaks. Absolutely not. These were jumbo-sized jalapenos. And the sausage was huge balls of crumbled meat. If anyone attempts this in the future, please just stick with plain. Your body will thank you the next morning.

As the waitress delivered our 2 massive opponents in front of us, I still was 100% confident that I was leaving with that shirt. So after a few photo ops with our selections, we started eating. The first slice wasn’t bad. I ate it pretty fast and without any hesitation. It was somewhere around the middle of the second slice when I realized this wasn’t going to be easy. After finishing the 3rd slice, I needed a change or I wasn’t going to be able to finish the next 5. I made use of all the condiments that were at my disposal and it still was an ugly uphill battle. I saw Plichter take 2 slices and put them face down on each other, constructing some sort of pizza abortion sandwich. I immediately followed his lead. Slices 4 and 5 went down fairly quick. The next 2 proved otherwise. I recall watching an episode of Man Vs. Food where Adam Richman was eating something, maybe an omelet or a steak, but he complains of hitting “a wall.” I had no idea what he was talking about until I reached the middle of slices 6 and 7. I could not consume anything else without completely saturating it in iced tea and closing my eyes when I swallowed. At one point I coughed and a jalapeno went from my throat into my nose and back down again. I wanted to get up and leave right there. After some reassuring words from Plichter, I loaded the remainder of slices 6 and 7 onto my 8th slice and went to work. I choked it down, bite after bite, looking to the ceiling as I swallowed. I wiped the sweat away from my head with whatever napkins were readily available. Plichter proudly devoured his last bite while I still had a few more to go. I had my eyes set on that shirt. My last bite was within reach. I braced myself and went for the kill. I felt like a true champion with that final bite. As we left we had our victory shirts on. The 20 or so people in line waiting for a table just stopped what they were doing and looked at us as we passed.

To quote my man Mr. Glass, “It’s hard for many people to believe that there are extraordinary things inside themselves, as well as others.” I’m proud as shit to have earned that shirt. I’m even prouder to have driven 150 miles round trip to attempt such a challenge. Remember when John Candy ate that 96-ounce steak in the Great Outdoors? Yeah, that’s how I feel. Like a boss.

Plichter:

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be in an eating contest… Knowing that I’m also a huge fan of Man vs. Food, Castro really didn’t have to twist my arm to come along on a 150-mile journey to devour an extra, extra large pizza and earn a rad shirt. I knew this task would not come easily, so I spent a couple days looking into how competitive eaters prepare for such feats. Leading up to the contest, I drank close to a gallon of water a day to increase the elasticity of my stomach. I ate rice whenever I could since many message boards claimed it would expand in and stretch my abdomen. Yet even after all the research and planning, nothing could’ve prepared me for the challenge we were about to face.

After driving through torrential downpour and arriving later than expected, we finally reached our destination: Pete and Elda’s/Carmen’s Pizzeria. Even before we entered the front door, we knew this place was legit by their “PIZZA” flag dancing in the overcast sky. Various t-shirts from contests of old lined the hallway that led to the bar/restaurant area. We were seated at a small table, greeted our waitress, and inquired about the contest.

Now my first notion was to order the pizzas plain for simplicity, but Castro insisted on ordering toppings on both. I gave into temptation and ordered half hot peppers/half bacon, while he went with the half sausage and half hot peppers on his as well. Never in my life have I actually felt nervous before eating pizza until the moment before our pies arrived. We had come all the way from Philadelphia to do this. What if I couldn’t live up to the challenge? What if I failed miserably and walked out a t-shirtless loser, only to vomit on the side of the road on the way home? My stubbornness and competitive nature would never allow such a thing.

The pies arrived, and they were MASSIVE. Castro and I both looked at each other and laughed hysterically, knowing that we had made a terrible mistake. But here in front of us were the only things standing in the way of those t-shirts, and nothing was going to keep them from us. The crust was undoubtedly the thinnest I’d ever had, which I thought would make the challenge easier. Unfortunately, the circumference of the XXL pie canceled out the crust. After about 3 slices, my fears were confirmed. The toppings on the pizza were more of a burden to our challenge. The hot peppers were in fact jalapeno peppers, and the bacon was just another unwelcomed layer to worry about. It was at that moment I asked myself, “What would Adam Richman do?” I combined a slice of bacon with a slice of hot peppers to form a pizza sandwich. Tackling two slices at once seemed to make all the difference, not to mention that the bacon and jalapenos really tasted incredible together. I also realized that the longer I took, the harder it would be to finish. I literally stuffed myself with pizza, as quickly as possible, to the point where I could almost feel it filling my lungs. By the time I had made it to my last bite, I was lightheaded and lethargic. I had reached a food drunk that incapacitated me for the remainder of the night. I choked down the last bite and raised my hands in victory. Castro wasn’t very far behind, but needed a few words of encouragement to finish off the little he had left. After which, we decided that we might need a little bit of a break from reviewing pizzas after this trip.

Merc Bros. Pizzeria

Merc Brothers

8108 Roosevelt Blvd.

“Merc Brothers? Where’s that at?” – Jonny Castro

Castro:

I have to be completely honest. Prior to this blog coming together and recommendations being thrown my way, I had no idea this place even existed. I do recall the commercial from the early 90’s with 2 old ladies arguing over cheese pies and tomato pies. However, I didn’t realize Merc Brothers were the masterminds behind such a vintage piece of my television childhood history. Apparently they just celebrated their 20-year anniversary of making pies for the greater northeast. To thrive in a small shopping center off the southbound lanes of the boulevard for 20 years isn’t an easy feat. Not to mention having the same owners since day one. They must be doing something right.

When we walked in, there was a young kid behind the counter. 20 years old at most. He was completely confident when we informed him who we were and what we we’re about do. They have a pretty extensive menu as far toppings go, so I asked him his opinion on something different. He recommended the “Mercs Works.” After that travesty of a works pizza at Tony’s, we wanted to go a different route. I asked Plichter, “Yo, meatball or bacon?” His response was absolutely marvelous. “Both.” My eyes lit up like the ex-president’s getaway car after Reagan torched it at the gas station in Point Break. Half cheese on top, half tomato with meatballs and bacon. This was definitely gonna be a good day.

Unbelievable. The pizza was identical to Tony’s style of thin crust but it held up a lot better. It didn’t fold. It was crispy when you bit into it, but it didn’t break down. The tomato pie has the perfect amount of sauce on it. The consistency was thicker and not as runny as Tony’s sauce, which proves that it’s definitely not watered down. There was also a little zing to it, which I enjoyed. The meatballs were giant pieces of meat that tasted like you were biting into a meatball sandwich every single time. The bacon wasn’t as crisp as I normally prefer but it definitely complemented the meatballs.

There’s not many places around that make thin crust pizza like this anymore. Combine that with the fact that they deliver to YOU, and I’m certain I’ve found my new safe haven for dinner. In the battle for northeast Philly pizza, Merc brothers just gave Tony’s a Stone Cold Stunner for the 3 count and has officially snatched the championship belt for best thin crust in town. Merc brothers 3:16.

Plichter:

I’d like to start by saying how impressed I am in my pizza counterpart for not only making a Point Break reference, but a Stunner reference as well. Kudos my friend! Any who, unlike how Tony’s has recently let me down, Merc’s has consistently served up delicious and dependable pizza since I started eating there about 10 years ago. Every weekend after his shift, my buddy Chris would bring a couple pies over to the Goolage where my underage friends and I would be drinking Keystone Light and listening to awesome music. That was when I got my first taste of pure pizza bliss, and I’ve continued to enjoy the feeling to this day. We never went crazy on toppings and never had to. Their plain cheese pie and pepperoni tomato pie were both perfect in their own respects. But as Castro mentioned above, we decided to go with an uncommon combination of toppings for this most recent visit.

I know, meatball and bacon on a pizza sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen. And I’m sure that this blog is certainly bringing me closer to my own untimely demise. But as a pizza lover, I live in the moment. So in this particular moment I thought, “What haven’t I tried yet?” The look on Castro’s face after my suggestion was reminiscent of a toddler on Christmas morning. (By the way, sorry to break it to you all that Santa doesn’t exist in our last post. I was as upset as you.) For every bite of meatball, it tasted like some sort of amazing meatball sandwich pizza. The grated Parmesan cheese only added to my enjoyment. The bacon, although a bit fatty, was also a welcomed change from the norm. This was the first time I chose bacon on a tomato pie, and I can tell you that the combination of bacon and tomato sauce will keep me coming back for more. But what really caught my attention was when the two of them came together. The pizza became somewhat of a pizza burger topped with bacon. It certainly was a playful, yet delectable dish.

My only gripe with Merc’s is the fact that they’re not open on Sundays, because I could imagine stuffing myself with their pizza and beer on Sunday afternoons during Eagles season. Their hours aside, you really can’t go wrong with any pizza on their menu. Personally speaking though, I can guarantee that another meatball tomato will be a part of my immediate future. In the battle over the Northeast Philly tomato pie, Merc’s totally trumps Tony’s. “Ur fired!”

Tony’s Famous Tomato Pies

Tony’s Famous Tomato Pies

Castro:

Mayfair. Tacony. Frankford. Holmesburg. If you live in the northeast, you’ve probably heard of Tony’s pizza. And if you’ve heard of Tony’s pizza, chances are you’ve probably had a slice in your mouth at some point in time. And if you’ve had a slice in your mouth, you already know that Tony’s makes a pretty amazing thin crust pizza.

Tony’s was always my “go to” pizza growing up. My mom would never order any other pizza unless it was Tony’s. We would drive down that abomination of a block, Barnett street, and she would double park. Armed with exactly $9.10, I’d make my way through the door with a purpose. Looking all fat and wearing a Nirvana t-shirt, I’d emerge with the same quality pizza every single time. To this day, if I bring her a slice from somewhere else, her response is always the same. “I still think Tony’s is better.”

The day we reviewed Tony’s was the same day we opted to have a photo shoot, courtesy of http://www.jennycastrophotography.com, for the blog. What better way to showcase your pizza eating/reviewing skills than to order a pizza simply dubbed “the works”? A cheese pie topped with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, black olives and mushrooms. Now because we’re idiots and our eyes are way bigger than our stomachs, we ordered an additional half sausage, half pepperoni pizza.

I wanna start with the sausage and pepperoni pie first. The pepperoni was thinly cut, sweet and crispy to the bite. The sausage they use is the same sausage they’ve been serving for as long as I can remember. It’s huge chunks of spicy, seasoned sausage. I’m fairly certain that they could scrap every other pie on their menu, just serve sausage, and they’d still be a landmark in Northeast Philly when it comes to thin crust pizza. And now, onto the works pie. It wasn’t great. It was just okay. I think because their pizza is super thin, the abundance of toppings made it difficult to eat without a fork and knife. However, it didn’t stop me from crushing 4 slices. You know what really chaps my ass? Their policy on charging $1.50 per topping, bringing the price of the works pie to just about $20. If you’re gonna offer a pizza consisting of a ridiculous amount of toppings, have a set price for it.

Tony’s will forever in my eyes be the greatest place in Mayfair to sit down, drink beer and eat a pie. Do yourself a favor and get a half tomato, half cheese on top with sausage. Hopefully 25 years from now, my kids will be feeding their kids a Tony’s slice and telling them how skinny their grandpop used to be before he started his pizza blog.

Plichter:

There are pieces of our childhood that everyone wishes they could take into their adult years. The precious memories and feelings that you relished as a child just don’t hold up as you age. I’ll never be as excited about Christmas as I once was because I know Santa Claus doesn’t exist. I lost so much respect for professional athletes because I know most all of them are on steroids. The Catholic Church? Please, don’t even get me started on them. These are all situations that I’ve accepted and learned to live with. I really wish I could be as enthusiastic as Castro about this review, but I simply cannot. After my most recent visit, I think I’ve lost faith in an establishment that I held in such a high regard since I was a child: Tony’s Famous Tomato Pies.

Whenever my family would have parties over my grandmother’s house, my cousin Jimmy would always bring over Tony’s tomato pies. Unlike anything I’d ever had before, it was a welcomed change from the chain pizza I was used to ordering at such a young and fat age. But as I got older, something happened. I’m still trying to piece together an intelligible sentence to explain my feelings for Tony’s, but I’m simply at a loss for words. Not to say that the pizza was awful, but it was just…blah. As my cousin Kelly put it best, “Their pizza is nothing to write home about.” But I really wanted to believe their pizza WAS the way I remembered it, atop the pizza place pyramid. Unfortunately, it was just another memory to look back on with fondness.

For this most recent visit, Castro and I ordered two pies (as always) with assorted toppings. The first, a half sausage/half pepperoni, wasn’t bad. The Italian sausage was quite delicious and literally stole the show, leaving the crisp pepperoni not too far behind. But the real disappointment was the second pie. When I order a pizza with “the works” on it, I do so because I expect every topping to compliment the next. However, in this particular instance, they all canceled each other out. What we got was a pizza that was heavy and messy without any distinction. To make matters worse, nobody informed us that every additional topping added an extra $1.50 to our pie. Since a works pizza isn’t on the menu and we were charged for every topping, this bland monstrosity cost us around twenty bucks. Factor that in with the fact that refills aren’t free either, and you get an expensive and subpar dining experience.

In a town where tomato pies are becoming a popular option, Tony’s can’t compare to the competition. If you insist on going there, avoid the additional toppings and stick with the sausage or pepperoni. Although I understand that nothing gold can stay, I can always think back to a time when Tony’s was the best around. R.I.P.

Vince’s Pizzeria

Vince’s Pizza
1900 Grant Ave.
215-464-8998

Castro:

Let me start this off by saying Plichter and I created this blog because we are avid pizza lovers. We believe that we all deserve a local place that we can count on to consistently serve up great pizza. Vince’s is that place. Never have I been this anxious to get home and write a review until this visit. From the moment you walk in it has an unmistakable feel to it. Almost like an old school, corner pizza shop. Between the two toned tiled floor, the lidless “one size fits all” soda cups, and the one sided laminated menu which limits your choices to either pizza or stromboli, you know exactly what you’re getting. Framed pictures litter the walls of the Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin and the Rat Pack. Everything about it created such an intimate and friendly atmosphere that is seriously tough to find in the endless array of crappy pizza places in Philly.

Our waitress Valerie, the 16-year veteran of the 24-year-old establishment, greeted us upon taking our seats. Not only was she the only waitress on duty, but she also made us and every other customer feel welcomed and at home. I went in there with all intentions of getting the broccoli and white pizza based off Philadelphia magazine’s praises. However, after explaining to Valerie who we were and what we were doing, she immediately suggested we try the white pizza topped with spinach and tomatoes and half sweet/hot peppers. As for the secondary pie, half plain and half steak seemed in order.

In the distance I noticed 6 massive, 500-degree ovens, each capable of taking on 5 pizzas at once. Normally, it would seem like an unusual amount of ovens for the standard pizza shop’s arsenal. However, the man wearing the badass Captain America bracelet who was slinging pies behind the counter informed me that on any given Friday night they would be firing off roughly about 500 pizzas. They also have their own personalized pizza boxes. For some reason I took that to heart. Almost every place that serves pies to go has the standard “hot pizza” box or the stereotypical mustached Italian guy gripping a wood paddle box. This tells me that Vince sells a product that he stands behind and that he’s proud of.

The moment my teeth bit down on that white/spinach/tomato pie it was like an epiphany. I’ve never gotten goose bumps from biting into pizza before, but I promise you they were there. The cheese stretched from my mouth back to the slice, reminiscent of pizza from early 90’s cartoons. It had the perfect balance of garlic and olive oil. The thick cut, seasoned tomatoes exploded with juice. Every topping complimented the next. I’m watching my cursor on my computer blink as I try and find the perfect words to describe this slice of pizza, but my only recommendation is you NEED try it first hand. It was flawless to say the least. The hot/sweet pepper slice was such a unique pick for me but it definitely was a great addition to my slice repertoire. The hot peppers were monstrous and flavorful. I couldn’t have asked for a better pizza.

If you live in the Northeast and haven’t tried a pie from Vince’s, please drop whatever it is your doing at this very moment and pick one up. It took me this long to make it there and I live less than 10 minutes away. I’ve been wasting my life with mediocre pizza when perfection is only a few traffic lights on the boulevard away.

Plichter:

There isn’t only one specific quality that makes Vince’s as amazing as it is. A conglomerate of assorted traits and attributes are the reason why they belong in the upper echelon of the Philadelphia pizza scene. For starters, they only serve pizza and stromboli. This allows them to focus on what they know best: pizza. Secondly, any place that doesn’t deliver and can still stay afloat for 24 years is obviously doing something right. Their pizza is so good, it’s totally worth the short trip to Grant Avenue to dine in or take out. Those aspects aside, one more thing you’ll notice about Vince’s is the relationship between the staff and the clientele. In fact, scratch that. I wouldn’t even call them clientele. Every customer in Vince’s seemed to be intertwined with the next, almost as if everyone in the restaurant was one big family. This was truly a place where friends and family came to meet; where people came to talk the talk and chew the crust.

As Castro mentioned above, we had all intentions of trying the white with broccoli that Philadelphia magazine dubbed “a vacation from the spicy, rubbery norm.” It wasn’t until our waitress Val stepped in did we realize the error of our ways. After all, why would we want to review a pizza that’s already been reviewed in Philadelphia magazine? So at her suggestion, we went for half white with spinach and tomatoes, and half red with sweet and hot peppers. For a more traditional route, we also ordered a half plain/half steak pie as well.

Now I’m not gonna lie; I’m not a big fan of tomatoes. Never have been, and probably never will be. But in this case, I decided to give in to curiosity and take Val’s suggestion. And boy was I glad I did. The cheese, garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, and spinach all came together in an orgy of flavor. The texture of the cheese was just right; more than the average amount, but not overbearing. The tomatoes were cooked in such a way that they almost melted in your mouth. This was more than just a pizza; it was an experience. But as good as this pizza was, the runner-up deserves a great amount of praise as well.

I’ve always loved spicy foods. Anything doused with hot sauce will automatically taste better to me. That being said, it’s funny to think that I’ve waited this long to have a hot and sweet pepper pizza. And looking back on it, I’m glad my first one was from Vince’s. The smell of the peppers flooded my nostrils as soon as it was placed on the table, instantly causing my mouth to water. (It’s kinda pathetic, but just thinking about that pizza is making my mouth water right now.) The tomato sauce and peppers were a winning combination to say the least, almost reminiscent of when my grandmother used to put peppers in her pasta with meat sauce. Our second pie, the half plain/half steak, was equally as impressive. In the future though, I’d probably add steak to the peppers pie as well. The thinly sliced pepper-steak morsels would’ve been an excellent compliment to the hot and sweet peppers.

Our meal was over, but the leftovers remained. As I rushed to work the next morning, I glanced at what was to be my lunch sitting in the passenger seat and knew I had no choice. If there’s ever food in my general vicinity, especially pizza this delicious, I will consume it. At 9 in the morning, I scarfed down two slices of Vince’s pizza while driving like a mad man to work. It was (sadly) the best part of my day.

Mezze, Mediterranean pizza

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Mezze
Reading Terminal Market
12th and Arch Street

Castro:

The Reading Terminal Market has been an iconic part of Philadelphia ever since its doors were first opened in 1892. People flock from all over this fine country to check out not only historic Philadelphia, but Philly’s impressive eats as well. Almost as if it’s a supermarket of the world, it’s one of the only places in the city where you can find almost any kind of food under one massive 78,000 sq ft roof. Dutch? Cheesesteaks? Pizza? Asian? Southern? They got it. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and I still love everything about it. Although I’ve tried most all of the vendors here throughout my many visits, the one place that I’ve overlooked is “Mezze.” It’s a small Mediterranean eatery that has an extensive menu including a rather unusual selection of bruschetta and hot sang’wiches.

On the counter, staring at me like an ugly dog in a pet store window was a slice of breakfast pizza. I normally wouldn’t mix the 2 foods but my mouth was watering at the sight of this beautiful bastard. A diced up fried egg, provolone and fresh mozzarella cheeses topped with sweet, sliced breakfast sausage. The crust had some nice, crispy char spots on it too. After spending a few minutes in their 500-degree, all gas fire, door less oven…my breakfast/lunch/pizza was ready for consumption.

This slice was outstanding. The sweet taste of the breakfast sausage hits you in the jaw like a roundhouse kick from the pizza delivery kid in the secret of the ooze. The combined forces of the provolone and mozzarella were a perfect selection for this particular pie. And if you’ve never had egg on a pizza, you’re seriously missing out and you’re probably gonna die a miserable person. If you’re unlucky enough to get picked for jury duty or you’re just downtown getting sued for child support, do yourself a favor and stop by the terminal for this pizza. At $3.25 a slice, you can’t possibly go wrong.