Gennaro’s Tomato Pies

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Storefront certified

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No shirt, no shoes but I still get service.

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Half n’ half

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Mama’s balls of meat.

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Real hero.

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“Why are these guys taking so many pictures of themselves?”

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A trio of pizza masters.

Gennaro’s Tomato Pies
1429 Jackson Street

Plichter:

With the endless pizza possibilities these days, it’s easy to stray from the traditional pies we grew up on. It’s nice to try new and outrageous concoctions every once in a while, but sometimes, you just can’t beat an old-fashioned pizza. Enter: Gennaro’s Tomato Pie, a pizzeria frozen in time and rooted in simplicity. Michael Giammarino, operator of the famous Lombardi’s in New York, is the mastermind behind this quaint pizzeria located at 1429 Jackson. If it were anything like Lombardi’s, South Philadelphia would be one lucky area.

My indecisive nature almost always makes ordering a pizza much harder than it has to be. But the manageable menu at Gennaro’s makes ordering easy, since it only consists of a few salads/appetizers, some desserts, and PIZZA. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “This is what we have, and you don’t need anything else.” And they’re absolutely right. We heard great things about both the white and tomato pies, so we decided to split it up; half white with garlic spinach & sliced tomato, and half tomato with meatball & red onion. About ten minutes later, it was time to dine.

Along came our well-done pie, which I could literally smell as it made its way to our table. I knew right off the bat that I had to go with the red side first, since the onion and meatball aroma was flooding my nostrils, and sending impending pleasure signals to my taste buds. The pungent red onions were an excellent compliment to the homemade meatballs, which were incredibly tasty on their own. Their crushed tomato sauce had such a rustic taste, as if it were simply smacked to a pulp with a mallet before being spread over a thin sheet of dough. And speaking of their dough, this was quite possibly the thinnest crust I have ever had. If you’re into thin crust pizza, this is the place for you.

Although I’m not much of a spinach fan, I do appreciate it on white pizza if done correctly. In this case, the spinach had a real garlic taste that only added to the flavor. The sliced tomatoes were so finely baked atop the pie that they almost melted in your mouth. And aside from the great taste, the ricotta cheese also provided a consistency that held the toppings in place. (Although it did weigh down the thin crust, but I didn’t mind.) Was it the best white pie I ever had? Probably not, but it was damn close.

Being affiliated with Lombardi’s, you can rest assured that you’re dealing with people who know how to make pizza at Gennaro’s. Isabella’s and Stogie Joe’s used to be my favorite spots in South Philadelphia, but I think a new king has been crowned. Make sure you save room for dessert if you’re headed to Gennaro’s, because their house made desserts are equally as impressive as their pizzas. The pineapple upside down cake served with fresh cream was absolutely transcendent.

Castro:

Very rarely does a pizza joint come along where the anticipation builds up to the point that I find myself googling information before I’ve even tasted their goods. The one word that intrigued me when I first heard rumors flying about Gennaro’s tomato pies, like gossip in an all girls high school locker room, was “Lombardi’s”. In case you’ve been living under a rock and you have no idea what Lombardi’s is, I’ma learn you some knowledge right quick. In 1897, Gennaro Lombardi began peddling tomato pies from his corner grocery store to the local factory workers of Manhattan. This delicious trend quickly caught on and in 1905, Lombardi’s officially opened it’s doors as the first pizzeria in the United States. Lombardi’s has been featured on just about every single notable article or TV show regarding the history of pizza in this country. It’s a historical landmark as far as I’m concerned. I’ve personally never had the privilege to visit Lombardi’s in New York, but since it’s current owner Mike Giammarino opened “Gennaro’s” at 1429 Jackson Street in South Philly, I need not travel 80+ miles just to sample a taste of pizza history…and neither do you.

Gennaro’s screams old school from the second you lay eyes on the exterior. The giant store front glass windows. The vintage swinging, hanging sign. The black and white striped awning. I felt like it would be the perfect backdrop should I have gotten whacked walking in. The front door could’ve very well been a time portal, because it was as if I stepped into the 1940’s. The walls are draped from the ceiling down to the bright white ceramic tile with authentic World War 2 nostalgia. From the classic “buy war bonds” propaganda to newspapers declaring war on foreign countries, they really went all out in taking you back to that era. Antique knob dial radios hung overhead and softly echoed the smooth sounds of 40’s jazz music. There’s even framed black and white photographs as tribute to the 1st and 2nd generation pizza making Lombardi family members. The classic “pizza shop red” table tops and wooden chairs are the final attributes in making this one of the only truly authentic, old world pizza parlors in Philly.

There’s only 2 styles of pizza here. You can either grab yourself a tomato pie or a white pie. Forget all those specialty buffalo chicken and taco pizzas. If you have a problem with that, then venture to one of the countless other, easily forgettable South Philly pizza shops for your pies. Gennaro’s stays true to their roots and only dishes out traditional throwback toppings; such as pepperoni, sausage, meatball and anchovies. We asked our waitress to hit us with what they’re best known for. We were greeted with 16″ a half red with meatball and red onion, and a half white with tomato and spinach. You couldn’t have asked for a better selection. The pizzas are thin crust and blackened to perfection, just like the old days. In fact, Mike personally had an oven custom built to mimic the taste of Lombardi’s world famous coal oven pizzas, without the use of coal. The mini-meatballs were so tender and juicy, they remind me of sneaking into my grandmom’s kitchen and stealing one of her homemade meatballs from the pot before dinner. The raw tomato sauce was so simple and so crisp, that it was easily identifiable as something passed down in a family tree. Combine the light, chunky sauce with gooey and bubbly whole milk mozzerella and you got something that Philly has been longing for since the dawn of pizza. Mike sticks to the basics and only utilizes the 3 main pizza food groups with his pies. Cheese, sauce and dough. I must add that after you’ve polished off your pizza, you absolutely must sample the “pineapple upside down cake.” Madone de mia. Homemade, moist pineapple cake with freshly made cream on the side. That first bite is like slowly slipping into a warm bath. The perfect way to end your visit to Gennaro’s.

With great pizza comes rules. No slices here. You better carry cash with you, because credit card machines are a no-go. Don’t even think about phoning in a delivery. You want to call ahead for pick up? Mike will surely give you a 15 minute window to grab your pizza, depending on how busy they are. You can be assured that they WILL be busy. He takes these measures to preserve and maintain the highest quality pizza for his customers. Gennaro’s could be one of the greatest things to hit the Philly pizza scene in a long time. If you need me and I’m not at home, then I can probably be found scarfing down a meatball pie or two at Gennaro’s.

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Bufad Pizza

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The new kid on the block

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Tatted to the matted

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boss menus

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Roman’s revenge

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Adding the finishing touches

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Reppin’ the history of 13th street on the walls

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Whatchu know ’bout Boylan’s root beer and spring water imported from Tuscany?

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Order up!

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Margherita? More like, Mar-GREAT-a…

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Oozin’ and drippin’

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Potato and egg and egg and potato

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Smothered in yolk

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Could be my favorite-est pizza of all time.

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Crushin’ that crust

Bufad Pizza
1240 Spring Garden

Castro:

A few days ago, I was reluctantly on my commute into work. I ended up taking an uncharted route that I normally wouldn’t take due to the useless construction on 95. As I miserably sat at the light on Spring Garden at 13th Street, I couldn’t help but notice a beautiful wood sign lining the corner property that read “Bufad”. There was a gnarly window decal of an early 1900’s, mustached-bodybuilder, who’s wearing a wife beater and covered in traditional tattoos on the front door. I immediately pulled over, got out and pressed my face against the glass in hopes of determining what this posh place was; but alas…I was stumped. Intrigued, I did a quick google search on this fancy pants new restaurant that seemed to emerge overnight. The first search results included the words “Wood fired pizza.” Cue my inner fat kid’s wide eyed excitement.

Bufad is the newest restaurant to partake in the wood fire fueled, Neapolitan style pizza race that more and more Philly joints seem to be chalking on their résumés. They officially opened their doors for business on February 1st. 5 days old and already they’re making a name for themselves in this city. As soon as you enter, you’re greeted by some gorgeous, upscale decor. The interior wallpaper is an homage to Philadelphia’s historic 13th street. A Chinese food take out container that pays tribute to “Yum-Yum”, the chinese restuarant that stood in this very spot for decades before Bufad. A horse, which marks an early 19th century stable house that was housed directly across the street. A loom (sewing machine) that represents the old sewing factory just south of here that’s currently home to Cafe Lift, Bufad’s sister bruncherie. The knives, which recognizes all the local 13th street restaurants throughout the years. And finally, the shears, that are traditionally used to cut Roman style pizzas. I’ve never seen anything like this before. This is the definition of originality and only the beginning of this killer visit.

I knew right away that I needed to have the signature “Margherita” pizza. It came to my table with an exquisite reddish-orange sauce, which reminded me of the moon’s hue on a hot August night. 4 simple ingredients make this pie what it is. Super sweet, uncooked San Marzano Sauce. Fresh clumped mozzarella. Torn basil leaves and a little extra virgin olive oil. The dough? A truly Neapolitan recipe. Nothing but authentic double-zero flour from Italy, salt, water and yeast. The pies here are ready in roughly 3-4 minutes after a blasting in their 850 degree, hickory wood fired oven. I say this often, but San Marzano tomatoes are the best to use in pizza sauce because of their signature sweetness. The warm, gooey cheese just seemed to slide down my throat with each bite. The crust was chewy, with random spots of crispy, blackened char. One of the better crusts I can ever recall eating. Be sure to get at least one of these pies when you make your visit. You’ll thank me later.

The one pie that caught my attention after browsing their menu was the “potato and egg” pie. Paper thin slices of Yukon gold potatoes, slithers of salty prosciutto, a combination of fontina and mozzarella cheeses and then it’s topped off with a single egg; cracked open and dropped directly in the center. The oven heat cooks the egg, ultimately leaving you with a runny, sunny side up egg on top. I was instructed to take my fork, bust open the egg yolk and then spread it evenly on top of the 4 slices. Hands down, one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had the honor of eating. It was almost like a really elegant and classy breakfast pizza. On a side note. I washed my slices down with a bottle of “Boylan’s root beer”. If you don’t know ‘bout Boylan’s, it’s made from pure cane sugar, rather than high fructose syrup or artificial sweetener. It’s simply the finest root beer known to man.

I arrived shortly after Bufad opened for the day and every table was available. 30 minutes later, and not a single table was left unoccupied. Not to mention the line of hungry customers, anxious to see what Bufad was hittin’ for. Keep an eye out for the “mustached tattoo guy” in the coming months. 2013 will definitely be the year of Bufad. Great service, an intimate dining atmosphere and unbelievably delicious pizza. You would think that they’ve been pumping out pizzas for years with how perfect these pies came out. Expect big things from Bufad. They got the pizza game on smash.

Plichter:

The city of Philadelphia continues to amaze me with each and every gourmet pizzeria that opens. Cheap pizzas with low-quality ingredients have given way to delicately crafted artisan pies in recent years. And even though the bar of excellence is constantly being raised on a weekly basis, I can definitely say that Bufad might have placed it out of reach of the competition.

In an area of the city that (in my opinion) has never had a decent pizzeria sits Bufad, the new pizza joint at the corner of 13th and Spring Garden. Although they only have six pizzas on their menu, I can assure you that you really don’t need more than the two I ordered: the Margherita and the Potato & Egg.

Instead of sliced San Marzano tomatoes for their Margherita, Bufad opts to use an uncooked paste to start things off. The torn basil, fresh mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil are all then added in traditional form before being slid into their wood fired oven. As far as Margherita pies go, this one was about as close to perfect as you can get. The San Marzano paste had the freshest taste I’d ever experienced. But the slightly charred crust stood out the most. The handles were a bit doughy, but incredibly tasty. Definitely kept my attention.

On deck was the Potato & Egg. Covered with Yukon potatoes, scallions, prosciutto, fontina and mozzarella cheese, an egg is the final topping that compliments all the aforementioned. I honestly find prosciutto a bit salty and tough for my liking, but this time was different than my last experience. The saltiness of the prosciutto with the potato was outstanding to say the least. And with their slightly buttery tasting crust, this pie will keep me coming back for as long as they’re around. Ladies and gentlemen, the king of Fairmount pizza has been crowned.

Blackbird Pizzeria

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“Blackbird singing in the dead of night.” (courtesy of instagram user becky_ws)

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Chalky white

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Men you

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“The Funghi” A.K.A “The Fun Guy”

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“The Haymaker”

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No animals were harmed in the making of these pies.

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The Seitan Pepperoni

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Not ‘cho nacho

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“All vegan and no meat make John go something something.”

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Poppin’ my vegan cherry.

Blackbird Pizzeria

507 S. 6th Street (between Lombard and South)

Castro:

Let me set the record straight before I even get this next review off the ground. I love meat. I adore meat. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy devouring things that were once alive and innocently grazing this lovely planet. The only thing better than eating meat is eating meat with another side of meat. Over the last 19 months, Plichter and I have consumed countless slices of pizza smothered in glorious shards of seared animal flesh. The one thing that we’ve neglected is a vegan pizza. It’s actually kind of selfish, because I can totally picture the animal friendly community reading our posts and disregarding anything the doughboys have to say…but then again, doesn’t everybody? I gotta hand it to them though. Those who practice these dietary ideals have mad heart. No chocolate milk? No rib eye steaks? No taco bell doritos locos tacos?! Y’all got some issues.

Blackbird pizzeria opened their doors for business a block north of 6th and South about 2 years ago. Apparently the need for an establishment which caters to the pizza needs of the Philly area “veganites” is in high demand. And why shouldn’t it be? Pizza is the best, with or without animal by-products. At first glance of their menu, you can tell that they’ve put some serious time and thought into perfecting their starting line up of pizzas. Blackbird is owned and operated by fellow veganites, who live and die by this lifestyle. They only utilize ingredients that they’d like to see on something that they themselves would eat. Throw them a “like” on Facebook and you can get advance notice on some killer “limited time only” pies. I just missed out on a buffalo chicken, mushroom and habanero pepper pie called “The chicken in the woods”. I’d do terrible random acts of violence for just a little sample of that pie.

Today, I decided on 2 of Blackbird’s top sellers. The first was “The Haymaker”. It’s a 12″ pizza brushed with garlic butter on the crust. Then it’s topped with “daiya cheese”, which is made from cassava root and arrow root. Sounds pretty unappetizing, right? Think again. Even though it’s made from various plant roots, it’s consistency was strikingly similar to fresh mozzarella. Add some red onion, fresh oregano and red sauce. Herein lies my problem. The sauce was extremely thick, almost like a tomato paste. I’m not sure if this is a vegan thing or not but I really wasn’t feelin’ it. The seitan sausage was the final addition. It’s basically a “wheat meat” with a blend of spices that gave it an authentic pork taste. I couldn’t tell the difference. I have mixed feelings on this pie. The savory, buttery crust and spicy faux-sage were delicious, but weren’t enough to get me passed the thick vegan pizza sauce.

My second pie choice (and my favorite of the duo) was the “Funghi”. This pie also starts off with a brushing of garlic butter. Then a handful of truffle oil mozzarella style “daiya cheese” is scattered throughout. Followed by some fresh thyme and then it’s polished off with 8 different types of mushrooms (including shitakes and white truffles) that are imported from a single local mushroom grower. I’m a huge fan of fresh ‘shrooms on pizza…and I stress “FRESH”. I cannot stand when pizza joints pop the lid off of a can of generic mushrooms and dump them on their pies. It’s sacreligious to the fullest. All the different tastes and textures from the various mushrooms were perfect. When I asked for a sprinking of grated parmesan cheese to add some flavor, I was told they have something called “nutritional yeast” which alot of people substitute for the cheesy topping. The name is extremely awkward but it worked really well. The “Funghi” was a home run.

All in all, this was an extremely informative visit to this mysterious and meatless lifestyle. I knew absolutely nothing about veganism before walking through the doors. It gave me a better understanding about what they stand for. Having said all that, I think that I’ll stick with my double bacon and extra cheese pizzas when I’m craving the almighty wonder that is ‘za.

Plichter:

After King Lorenzo died, many places in the South Street area have been eyeing up a very prestigious position. Who exactly has the best pizza in the Bella Vista area of Philly? Stella? Nomad? The torch has to be passed on to someone, and Blackbird has officially thrown their hat into the ring.

Over the past couple months, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this strictly vegan pizzeria right off of South Street. A self proclaimed foodie, I was a bit skeptical at first. I mean, I have plenty of vegan and vegetarian friends. But honestly, I think most of their meatless food substitutes taste like crap. Blackbird unjustifiably had its work cut out for them.

I walked in, took a gander at the slice pies, and immediately knew I had to have the Nacho Pizza. I don’t know how vegan cheese is made or what’s in it, but the cheddar Daiya cheese on this thing looked like straight up radioactive orange nacho cheese. (After a little research, Daiya is made from cassava and arrowroot, and is a much healthier alternative to traditional cheese.) Topped with avocado, caramelized onions and jalapeno peppers, this was honestly one of the most impressive slices of pizza I’ve ever had. Again, since my expectations for vegan pizza were exceptionally low, I was thoroughly impressed.

Next up was the slice of seitan pepperoni. A meatless substitute, seitan is a wheat gluten that’s an alternative to soybean-based products such as tofu. The uneducated would probably mistake it for sliced steak meat, or maybe even leather. It’s not exactly pleasing to the eye to say the least. It was grey and dry looking, but had an interestingly spicy taste to it. It won’t be my first topping of choice in the future, but it’s worth a try.

Personally, I believe that humans are natural carnivores. But if I had to live in a world without meat, Blackbird would be my restaurant of choice. While you’re there, be sure to try some of their natural sodas as well. But do yourself a favor and get that nacho pizza before you do anything else.

Trios Tomato Pie

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Trios in the light

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Straight cookin’ pies

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Sausage, Pepperoni, Prosciutto and Plichter

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The stylin’ and profilin’ hawaiian

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Pineapples? on pizza?! Now I’ve seen everything…

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A terrible twosome

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He put away 9 squares

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Gimme dat, gimme dat, gimme dat cheese.

Trios Tomato Pie

402 Easton Road. Glenside, PA.

Castro:

I’m super excited and honored to write this review for Trios Tomato Pie. Back in late 2011, we visited “Trios Trattoria” in Northern Liberties. They fixed us some damn good pizza. So good that it finessed it’s way onto our best slice of the year list. In early 2012, Trios opened a sister location on Easton road in Glenside, not far from 611. Trios’ Facebook page reached out to us and extended an invitation for the boys to stop in for a few pies. How could we pass up an opportunity to destroy another fine creation from the imagination of Trios?! Their Glenside location managed to snatch some prime real estate on Easton Road, which somewhat reminds me of the fictional Main Street from the movie “Pleasantville”. A perfect, quaint little spot to grab a slice of ‘za in town. The interior is completely modernized. Wall-to-wall glossy hardwood floors lined with a handful of posh tables, enough for roughly 20 hungry patrons to enjoy an intimate dining experience. I absolutely loved the self serve Coke refrigerator, stocked with 50’s style glass bottled Coca Cola. Right away, I noticed that their pizza by the slice was identical to the pizza that I adore from “Trios Trattoria”. I knew from the rip that this was gonna be a killer Sunday lunch.

As I reviewed the menu, I was smitten that they offer a Hawaiian pizza. Since the birth of the doughboys, we have yet to sample a Polynesian pie. What immediately caught my eye was that instead of the same old pineapple and ham toppings that’s been done thousands of times before, Trios scratches the ham and opts for some crispy bacon strips instead. That alone was enough to seal the deal for this pizza. However, It was the freshly diced pineapple that really deserves some blog action. The explosion of sweet and fruity juices from the pineapple totally complimented the salt and crunch from the bacon. It’s almost sexy the way it hits you at first bite, like a chocolate covered strawberry or some sea salt caramel. This pie just wouldn’t be the same if the crust and handle weren’t as thin as they were. I just kept eating and eating like a big, stupid dog who doesn’t realize that he’s full.

The “Meat Lover’s” idea was all Plichter’s doing for a secondary pie. It wasn’t tickling my fancy right away, but after I read that it was smothered in sausage, pepperoni AND prosciutto, I just had to add it to this review. A truly tasty threesome of succulent pork products that would have any vegetarian cringe in disbelief. The sweet sausage had a little zing to it, but my favorite part of this pie were the fatty pieces of cured prosciutto; an aged meat that definitely should make an appearance on more menus. It’s the only meat that’ll be delightfully delectable come it’s 2 year birthday. Believe me, the meat sweats are very real, and I experienced them after putting away 9 slices between these two powerhouse pizzas.

The Trios family of restaurants never ceases to amaze me. You can be assured that a visit to any of their 4 locations within Philly and the surrounding areas will surely end with top notch service, one of the cleanest dining areas you’ll ever lay eyes on and a belly full of some truly fantastic pizzas. I walked away wondering why more places can’t take notes of the success that Trios has had over the last few years. Keep banging out those killer pies, guys!!

Plichter:

I would expect any affiliate of Trios Pizzeria & Trattoria to serve up the same quality as the one I first visited at 4th and Girard many years ago. The original location was my go to place whenever I was at the Fire across the street. So when we were invited to visit their second location in Glenside, they had a lot to live up to.

In my opinion, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than watching a Flyers game and stuffing your face with pizza. Sure enough, the game was on the television as we entered. (Good start.) The last time I had a Hawaiian pizza had been ages ago, and since I should start incorporating more fruit into my diet in 2013, this was an easy first choice. And to counteract the pineapple from the first pie, going with a meat lovers only seemed natural.

Personally, I always advise whoever visits Trios to go with the thin square pies. Not that there’s anything wrong with their round pies, I just personally prefer the thin crust of the squares. The white Hawaiian pizza blended a mix of sweet pineapple, salty ham, and robust garlic. It was, in all honesty, one of the best Hawaiian pizzas I’ve ever had. And although I usually don’t order the Hawaiian often, I think I’ll reconsider from now on if I’m at Trios. Now the toppings of the  meat lovers were the standard, but their delicious sausage stood out as the primary flavor of the pie. Sometimes a meat lovers can be a little too much for some. So if you’re adventurous enough, go for it. But if you had to pick just one meat  topping, def go with the sausage.

Trios, to this day, has never let me down. Whether you’re at 4th and Girard or in Glenside, you can expect the same great quality and taste.

Margherita Pizzeria

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Misspelling? Or hilarious rhyming pun?

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First pies of the day.

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Peppy and Mark Buffalo

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Globs of cheese are the best kinds of cheese.

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Working on my lunch break.

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“Don’t mind me…just taking a lil’ selfie.”

Margherita Pizzeria
60 S. 2nd Street (2nd and Chestnut)

Castro:
2nd Street, between Market and Chestnut, is a general hub-bub of activity during the infamous Olde City nightlife. There’s plenty to keep busy with down there, especially on a cold Friday night in January. In a 1 block radius, I counted at least 10 notorious bars where you can surely tie a killer load on. The only obvious thing to accomplish once said load has been successfully tied on would be to stick something greasy in your mouth. What better way to accommodate such a craving than with a giant slice of delicious pizza. The fact that “Margherita” stays open well past last call guarantees you an early a.m grease fix. I remember playing some wrestling quizzo a few years ago at “Drinkers” and getting destroyed by a bunch wrestling nerds. Margherita Pizzeria would have been a clutch move on my part after that evening of demolishing $1.50 high lifes and making jokes about Chris Benoit.

When you read the window decal on the front door, you’ll be inclined to notice that it distinctly says “Margheria Pizzeria”. A Google search clearly states their name is “Margherita Pizzeria.” Honestly, I could care less if it’s a typo, if the Internet is wrong or it’s just their attempt at some confusing nursery rhymage. I simply found it hilarious enough to include in this review. Anyway, depending on what your inner fat kid is telling you to get, “MARGHERITA” has a huge selection of slices to choose from. I wanted to splurge and sample either the meat lovers or the 4 cheese. I decided to keep it real with the original gangsta of pizza, pepperoni, and a slice of juicy buffalo chicken. Pretty standard choices that almost every pizza joint should readily have on deck. If they don’t, then they’re doing something wrong.

Both pies were freshly blasted out of the oven, since I stopped in as soon as they unlocked their doors for the business day. Superb handle. Extra crispy. Medium style thickness on the crust. So far so good. The pepperoni was fairly decent. Perfect ratio of grease glaze from the cured meat. It wasn’t a slice that I couldn’t get from any other pizza place, but they did it up well. The buffalo chicken was the better of the two picks. I was really in the mood for some wings when I stopped through. The buffalo sauce they incorporated in their pie was better than most wing places use. It had just the right amount of kick. A lot of places generally use bigger chunks of chicken on this style pizza, which bothers the shit out of me. Margherita walks the road less travelled and uses finely chopped chicken instead. Definitely goes down a lot smoother.

All in all, the pizza was fairly good; but it’s nothing that I’d make a big stink about. It’s clean, open really late and serves up a product that won’t hurt your pocket after you stumble out of the blue martini at 2 am. If you’re in the area, stop in and drop a $2 bill on a slice, y’all. However, don’t waste your gas strictly for the pizza.

Plichter:

I’d like to state for the record that this is the second review I had to write for Margherita Pizzeria, after my first review didn’t save (for some reason).

Margherita Pizzeria certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for pizza when around 2nd Street. With Soho putting out some of the best pies in the city, I’d almost always take my business there. But on this particular day, I stumbled upon Margherita Pizzeria when walking down Chestnut Street. It was far past my lunchtime and the place looked legit, so I figured why not?

Be forewarned that Margherita doesn’t take debit cards, so make sure you bring cash unless you wanna pay four bucks at the ATM across the street. After finding this out the hard way, I scoped out the six different slice pies and settled on the buffalo chicken, and the margherita. I’ve had quite a few buffalo chicken slices in my day, which usually feature hefty chunks of chicken that fall off the slice the moment you bite into it. Margherita uses chopped, buffalo chicken cheesesteak meat, which is firmly held in place by the mozzarella cheese. It also seems to have been sitting in the buffalo sauce before hand, instead of just being topped with it at the end. The result is a slice that delivers big buffalo taste without the mess.

Next up was the margherita slice, which I knew I had to have when I saw how saucy the bastard was. With such a thin crust, I was amazed that they were able to fit so much sauce atop without compromising the sturdiness. After eating so many specialty pizzas as of late, I was long overdue for such a tomato topped treat. The heaps of mozzarella sat like islands in a sea of red, awaiting to be devoured. I was pleasantly surprised.

Margherita Pizzeria was good. There’s no better way to put it than that. Would I go out of my way to get it again? Probably not. But if I’m right there and it’s lunch time, I’ll give it another go. Odds are though that I’ll walk myself down to Soho for a slice of their BBQ pizza.

Year End Review: Best in 2012

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.

CASTRO:

5. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

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Check out those long hots :0

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.

4. Carluccio’s

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Counter top seating at it’s best

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

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Pizza brainiacs

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

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The pizza that changed everything

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.”

1. Nomad

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And the wiener is…

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.

Honorable Mention:

Paulie’s Big Mac

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Big mac attack.

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.

PLICHTER:

5. Jules Thin Crust Pizza

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Jules rules!

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

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Bizza Prain

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

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On top of old smokey…

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.

2. Rustica

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In God We Trustica

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.

1. Carluccio’s

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Grandma always said it best

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.

Honorable Mention:

Nomad

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That margherita though!!

I can’t wait to crush a couple of these pies and some craft beers next time I’m on South Street.

Johnny G’s: Holiday Edition

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Mur’ Krismas

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Almost there

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The Holiday Pizza

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Close up festivities

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Silent slice. Holy Slice.

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All is yum. All is nice.

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Literally, worst beer ever.

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Cold sippin’ on that pizza brew

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When you’re as rad as us, you get free pizza threads

Johnny G’s Pizza
7315 Oxford Avenue.

Castro:

Everyone’s heart belongs to local pizza shop that they call home; one that they can always rely on ordering the same quality and great tasting pie each and every time call. Johnny G’s is, without a doubt, our home away from home. When we’re not sampling what pies this city has to offer, you’ll surely find us hanging onto the front counter, anxiously awaiting our take out orders after a hard days work. We’ve already posted 2 seperate reviews of various Johnny G creations (one being a pizza that he even named after us, all hail the smokey doughboy.) This week he summoned the doughboys to stop in and sample a super secret pie that he invented solely for the holiday season, and strictly for us 2 morons to eat. It’s so newly birthed that it doesn’t even have a name yet. I’m talking about a pizza that screams deck the halls. Simply reciting the different toppings used on this pie is enough to make you want to run to the store for a freshly baked pumpkin pie.

It all starts with a base layer of stretchy provolone cheese followed by Mr. G’s homemade stuffing that he himself assembles from scratch. It’s the same stuffing that he would whip up for his own flesh and blood at the dinner table. Next the he tosses on the gorgeous, thinly sliced, slow roasted turkey. His turkey is literally a 25 pound plump bird that’s placed into an oven on super low temperatures and forgot about for half the day while it bastes in it’s own juices and spices. Next he adds a combination of American and Mozzarella cheeses to give it that “pizza texture”. Two dozen spoonfuls of cranberry sauce are strategically flung throughout until it’s finally finished off with a drizzling of chicken gravy. This pizza was unbelievably delicious.

My very first bite had a little of everything in it and it was a match made in heaven. The slow roasted turkey infused with his handcrafted stuffing was the meat and potatoes of this pie. The sweet and sugary taste of the cranberry sauce off set the homestyle gravy and blended extremely well. You would think a pizza with this many toppings, especially ones as heavy as these, would fall apart with the greatest of ease. This was not the case. In fact, this pizza held up better than most places could ever even dream of. I made my voice known that Johnny needed to add this to his menu ASAP, or at the very least, he needed to make it readily available on November 1st and run it through New Years. It really is the perfect holiday pizza. A pizza with balls this big can’t be strutting around the streets of Philly nameless. I’m leaning toward either “The Tryptophan” or “The Griswold”. Lastly, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas from the bottom of our sauce filled hearts.

Plichter:

With the unique selection of items at Johnny G’s, I could probably eat there for the rest of my life with no problems. It’s no secret that he truly believes in the products he sells, unlike so many other pizzerias in the area who simply throw together a slice pie and try to make a few bucks. Everything there is delicately made with care, which is a rare trait in this day and age. So of course when I heard about this specialty “holiday pie” I knew we were in for a treat.

I can honestly say this pie was better than most turkey dinners I’ve had in my lifetime. What really stuck out for me was the three different kinds of cheese used, which brought a different taste with each bite. Aside from that, Johnny is a firm believer in making sure you get a taste of each topping in every bite, which applied to this pie as well. It was glorious to say the least, and I can only hope he makes it a regular menu item so the rest of you can enjoy it in the near future. I’ve got one slice left in my fridge, but I’m nervous to eat it because I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to again. Anyways, Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!