Another year has come and gone, and countless slices have been consumed by yours truly. In some cases, they were only choked down to give us more ammunition to trash the individuals responsible for such atrocities. However, majority of the pizza that we were introduced to in 2012 were fairly decent and definitely deserve a second look at to commend the shops who hold pizza so close to their hearts. This is our annual year end review, highlighting the best of the best in the city. Even though we share different views on the top 5 favorite pies of 2012, you can be assured you’ll be getting a damn fine slice of pizza wherever you’re hunger decides to take you. Hopefully 2013 will bring the Doughboys an even more delicious list of undiscovered and hidden establishments throughout this fine city.
5. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
Anthony’s director of public relations in Florida stumbled upon us on a web search and requested that we come in for a visit. They made sure we were set up with pizzas and appetizers for days. A mix up of sausage, ricotta and long hots on their “Paul and Young Ron” totally took my breath away. I’m fairly certain anything that they pull out of their 800 degree coal fired oven will make you a believer.
The 50+ mile road trip down the AC expressway to Northfield, New Jersey was well worth it for this old world style Sicilian pizza. Grab a seat at the counter, order a slice of “Grandma’s pie” and shoot the shit with one of their friendly staff. With each delicious bite you’ll be reminded that Mom and Pop pizza joints still exist and continue to chump corporate chain pizza any day of the week.
3. Pizza Brain
I think Pizza Brain’s review was most fun I’ve ever had writing about pizza. The year’s worth of built up anticipation finally exploded when we were there on opening day to experience history in the making. All the pizza memoribilia strewn upon the walls is enough to make your head spin, not to mention a killer assortment of ingenious pie creations this side of the Delaware. Team Pizza Brain waited a whole year to perfect their recipe for some of the best artisan pizzas I’ve ever had. Their plain pie can go toe to toe with just about any slice we’ve ever encountered.
2. Johnny G’s Smokey Doughboy
Johnny G never fails to cook up something original and tasty for us. He always welcomes us with open arms and is an avid follower our pizza ventures. This list would by no means be accurate without the addition of a pizza named after 2 slow witted pizza reviewers. The slow roasted, fall-of-the-bone, rotisserie chicken that’s marinated in a pineapple infused BBQ sauce easily trumps the rest of these pies to take the #2 spot. If you try any pie on this list, please make it the “Smokey Doughboy.”
Nomad was kind of the underdog this year. I never expected a joint that started as a mobile pizza truck, who serviced broke college kids in North Jersey, to pump out one of the most amazing pies I’ve ever eaten right here in Philly. Their locally imported spicy fennel sausage gave me goosebumps the moment it hit my lips. Rest in peace Lorenzo’s. Your time has come and gone. It’s time for a new prince of pies to claim the throne as best slice on or around South Street.
Paulie’s Big Mac
There’s really nothing great to write about Paulie’s. It’s a pizza shop in the city with mediocre customer service; but their “Big Mac” pizza may very well be the most creative pie of the year. Close your eyes, take a bite and you’ll actually believe you’re scarfing down a McDonald’s Big Mac…pickles and all. I ate half a pie in a matter of minutes. Ba-da-bop-bop-bop…I’m loving it.
5. Jules Thin Crust Pizza
Gourmet pies that are made with only locally produced, organic ingredients. That’s Jules. Not only are their super slim, thin crust pies a healthier alternative than most, their chic interior is the perfect setting for pretty much any occasion.
4. Pizza Brain
You had to know this place was definitely gonna be in the top 5 of both our lists. The world’s first pizza museum/pizzeria garnered international attention with its unique décor and pie selection. Plus not too many places have limited-time seasonal pizzas. I can’t wait til next Fall to grab another slice of that sweet potato pizza.
3. Johnny G’s Smokey Doughboy
I’ll never forget laughing at how good this pizza was after that first bite. It was honestly unreal, like a dream or something. If you haven’t had this masterpiece yet, get off your ass and go get it. Johnny, keep up the good work.
Living up to the hype after being on the cover of Philadelphia magazine, a trip back to Rustica for their Pesto pizza is long overdue.
The Grandma’s Pie from Carluccio’s in Northfield was quite possibly my favorite part about living down the shore. A lot of people will tell you that Sam’s, Mack’s, or Manco & Manco are the best of the best down the shore. If you’re one of these people, I strongly urge you to make the trek to Carluccio’s and let them show you what a REAL pizza tastes like.
I can’t wait to crush a couple of these pies and some craft beers next time I’m on South Street.