A few weeks ago, Joe Moore (of the sketch team Dog Mountain), his wife Emily (of the Camden County Library System), Brian Kelly (of the sketch group Secret Pants) and I met at Tony’s, in Mayfair, to eat tons of their awesome tomato pie as well as their regular pie. If you aren’t from Philly, and more specifically, from somewhere around the northeast, you might not know Tony’s. It’s actually a bar & restaurant (with great red vinyl booths that you can’t even find anymore), that sits on a weird angle of Frankford Ave, across from the old Devon movie theatre (I saw “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” there for a buck when I was kid.).
Since there were 4 of us, we ordered a bunch of pies. The first being the Famous Tomato Pie! A tomato pie had the sauce on top (altho some tomato pies have no cheese at all). A lot of people compare Tony’s to Tacconelli’s, for they both have the thin crust people love so much. I love it too, and Tony’s never disappoints.
It’s not skimpy on the sauce, which is sweet but not as sweet as Tac’s, which I am a-ok with. They also use a square cheese which is delicious and doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a tomato pie. What I am saying is that the cheese is like the supporting player: it makes everything else look good without taking much glory for itself.
The crust is thin but, well, there is a difference between thin and “crumbles like a taco shell once you take a bite out of it” thin. This crust walks that line confidently.
We also ordered a two other pies for our little booth!
Next up is the Pepperoni Pie! It was a pretty awesome pie. They were not skimpy with the pepperoni, and while it wasn’t thick slice, imported, artisinal pepperoni that foodie people whine about, it still was delicious and plentiful. There were no breaks in the cheese, it was a solid covering, with just a little bit of sauce peeping out at the crust. Frankly, that’s the way I like it. I like cheese and I like a lot of it. This pie fit the bill!
Next up is the green pepper and onion pie. This is one of my favorite combos. The onions weren’t burned but almost roasted and the green peppers were soft and absorbed some of the grease from the cheese so that they were almost buttery.
Again, the cheese was a solid sheet over the pie, but this time there was a little more sauce peeking out of the top to announce it’s presence.
The pizzas at Tony’s are flat out amazing and do not get the props they deserve in this town. It’s a quiet jewel among the throngs of pizza places that clog the streets of Philly. Do yourself a favor and drive on down to Tony’s and treat yourself to some amazing pies (and they also have a full menu of other things as well as a vast assortment of beers!).
Joe Moore has written up some of his thoughts on Tony’s as well, as he is our reigning Pizza Expert here at DidjaEat:
My favorite pizza in the country is technically a “tomato pie” and depending on who you talk to, it’s a night and day difference. Cheese on the bottom, sauce on top. This really forces the tomato sauce into the spotlight, and you pay more attention to what it’s doing with the pizza when you’re looking at it right in the face like that. Fortunately, Tony’s sauce is great. I think I preferred their tomato pie over the regular cheese-on-top slice.
Ah, pizza. The one food I could eat everyday, for every meal. The one food my grandpop would not eat, even when his army buddies got him drunk. The one food people have very specific likes of: thin crust, thick crust, deep dish, pepperoni, white pies, cold pizza, hot pizza, frozen pizza from the toaster oven, steaming hot right out of the oven pizza. The list goes on and on.
Anyone with half a brain can make a pizza. But to make a great pizza requires skill and a really great oven. This brings us to Tacconelli’s. Tacconelli’s is a pizza place in my neighborhood, the Port Richmond section of Philly, on Somerset street. They have a very cool brick oven and they know how to use it.
You can’t just pop in there and order a pie. I mean, you can, but it is easier to call ahead and order your dough. You can tell them what to do with it when you get there but you better call ahead, because it’s a one man, one person oven and they only make so much dough every day. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Needless to say, this makes the pizza desirable, to say the least.
My friend Joe Moore is from the Jerz, and had not had really any good pizza in the Philly area. Every time he would say that, it occurred to me to mention Tacconelli’s and then I would forget. We finally got it together and got on over there. Now, you have to understand, Joe is no ordinary pizza shmoe. He is what would call a connousseur of pizza, a lover of the pizza pie. He was also really excited about the outing, as was I!
We decided on getting the Regular pie (with a little cheese and sauce) and a Margherita pie (with fresh basil and fresh mozzerella) and a third pie with pepperoni.
All of the pies were great! The thin crunchy crust was perfect, and Joe was surprised by the sweetness of the sauce.
I liked that the pepperoni was sliced a little thicker. Some places slice it super thin (or, I should say, buy thin sliced pepperoni). It may have added grease, but pepperoni grease is delicious (you know it, I know it and everyone else knows it).
As you can see in the picture here, the crust is super thin, so you can really put away a lot of this pizza. In fact, we put away about 75% of it. I don’t know about Joe, but I had to actually stop myself from eating because I would have gone on and mowed through the rest of it (thank god we saved some for his wife Emily, or I would have really hurt myself).
If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say the pepperoni one was the best, but the Margherita wasn’t bad either. The pepperoni pieces were smaller then you would get at a regular pizza place, but they were a tad thicker and they are not stingy with it. If you are a regular reader at all of this blog, you know I hate stingyness!
The fresh basil on the Margherita really gave it some depth, even tho I could have done with more of it. The problem with basil is that too much and you end up with everything tasting like basil (and not this Basil). Overall it was delicious, thin, crispy and slightly sweet.
Joe, being the pizza guy he is, wrote up a little piece about what he thought of the pies as well:
I had heard a lot about Tacconelli’s pizza and was pretty excited to finally try it.