Monthly Archives: May 2013

Pizzeria DiMeo’s

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Dimeo’s Pizzeria Napoletana

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Classy door, yo

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Bread team go

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Family first

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It’s raining menus

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Gettin’ it in

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Oak fired to perfection

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974 degrees. Blastin’ pizzas in 90 seconds.

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Antimo’s little pet.

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Strictly business.

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The Margherita

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Leopard spots.

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The fica

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The panna.

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Mexican coca cola. Pure sugar cane, son.

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Nutella wrapped in pizza dough. Straight aphrodisiac.

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Chewin and chewin.

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Have you heard? Plichter rules.

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Crushing shots of limoncello.

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Like father, like son.

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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.

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Pizzeria Beddia

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Store front

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1970’s directory

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Purrr-fection

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Dr. J bobblehead approves.

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1/8th’ing this bitch up.

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Sausage in the house.

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Hal A. Pain Yo’s

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Vic Mackey would be proud.

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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

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New and Improved

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Pizza wall murals are always cool.

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The infamous slice.

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It sureeeeeee is.

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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.