8108 Roosevelt Blvd.
“Merc Brothers? Where’s that at?” – Jonny 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.
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!”