Big Ben Pizza
7726 Rising Sun Ave.
This week’s review was kind of an off the wall place to try out. I’ve never even heard of Big Ben’s except for the utterance of a few mind-blowing words. “Thirty two inch pizza.” They produce arguably one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) Philly has to offer. I’ve seen everything from a personal pan to a 28” pie on our quest, but a 32” is just plain stupid. That’s legendary right there. Big Ben carries every size up to the 32” just in case you’re not man enough to attempt such a feat. The doughboys opted against the behemoth today and decided to battle the 20” giant. The last time we tried a twenty incher was at Pete and Elda’s in Jersey for our free t-shirt, and that ended with us feeling like what Whoopi Goldberg looks like on a daily basis. Here’s to hoping we leave feeling like champions.
Ben has some of the most creative toppings I’ve seen to date. Tuna melt, Fruitella, Shrimp Alfredo, and Boardwalk pizza. They’ve got them all. I counted over 30 specialty pies and countless variations of your standard toppings. The one that stood out to me the most was Veal Parmesan. As soon as I seen that on the menu, immediately I knew this was the chosen one. Nothing makes me feel more like a man than consuming a freshly killed baby cow. To compliment the veal, we kept the 2nd half in the parm family. Chicken parm. The gigantic pizza box covered half the table. It was an endless ocean of fried animals and marinara. The Veal Parmesan was love at first bite. The veal was tender, thin and super crispy. You can actually taste the delicious cruelty they endured on the farm! Ben even blanketed the pizza with heaping portions of it too. The sauce was sweeter than regular pizza sauce. It was perfect for the parm style pizza we went with. I thought the saucy equator that separated the two halves was great. Even the dough was lighter than usual which made it easier to fit 3 of these slices in my stomach.
Overall I was extremely pleased with what Ben had to offer. The joint is extremely clean. They have ample seating and French doors so you can easily maneuver your potential 2 ½ foot beast out the door. I was impressed on how good the pizza was. I figured the abnormally sized pizzas were just a gimmick to get you in there, but they definitely put in work. Big Ben and Johnny G’s at the same intersection? Five points just became my new hangout to eat pizza and buy illegally prescribed painkillers.
I think it’s safe to say that whenever we hear about a pie that’s out of the ordinary, we have no choice but to try it. We ate at Pete & Elda’s solely because we wanted to prove we could eat their abnormally large pizza and walk away with free shirts. The unique specialty pizza combinations at Mojo’s were enough to bring us in the door. So when I heard about the 32 inch monster at Big Ben, I knew my fate was sealed.
As much as I would like to say that we ordered the “Big Ben” and destroyed it, I cannot. The size of the box alone would deter anyone from attempting such a feat. That doesn’t mean we didn’t indulge ourselves anyways. At 20 inches in diameter, the “Giant” pie was more than enough to feed our faces. Add chicken parm on one half and veal on the other, and you’ve got a combination that would piss off any PETA member. (Note: I have nothing but the utmost respect for all my vegetarian and vegan friends. I don’t even really like veal, but Castro insisted.)
They certainly weren’t kidding when they dubbed this thing the “Giant” pie. As soon as it arrived at our table, all the doubts that flooded my mind about whether or not we should’ve ordered the “Big Ben” were washed away. We had a hard enough time putting away this thing, let alone something that was a full foot larger. The slices of this behemoth put to shame any of those on South Street, in size and taste. If you’re into having a base that can support the amount of toppings they pile on, you might want to ask for your pie to be well done. The crust was a bit doughy and probably could’ve used another couple minutes in the oven, but it didn’t ruin the pie nonetheless. Whereas most chicken parm pizzas usually have strips, Big Ben uses diced bits of breaded chicken and veal that dresses the entire pie, which was a welcomed change. The sauce and cheese were also both pretty decent, which was more than I expected. To believe that this pizzeria relies on an overly large gimmick is a fallacy. To my surprise, they know how to make a pizza.
Don’t let the location fool you; Five Points has some decent pizza to be had. Once you get past the fact that the neighborhood resembles a Croatian ghetto, you’re sure to enjoy the surrounding pizzerias.