Hello, and welcome back to another edition of ‘Where To Go!’ This week, I decided to focus on what’s right in my backward – Philadelphia. Now, Philly is my homebase, and I felt it was only fitting that I do an article around the City of Brotherly Love. You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t Philly all about cheesesteaks?” And yes! This is true! But the pizza this city has is seriously slept on. One of these days, I’ll get around to writing about the cheesesteak places that get all the attention. For now, let’s take a look at my personal favorite pizza stops that I hope you’ll find yourself in the next time you’re in Philadelphia (ya know, when there isn’t a pandemic, lol).
First up, Santucci’s. With three locations all around Philadelphia, it is the proclaimed “Philadelphia original square pizza.” Right off the bat, for you square pizza haters, it might be a turn off. But before you discount it, hear me out. This pizza is everything you want in a pizza. Let me break it down element by element:
The dough is soft. It has a thickness to it that you only find in Chicago, but it’s not a Chicago deep dish. It’s soft on the inside and cooked so the outside has a firm shell. The flavor is immaculate. And by that, it just tastes like fresh dough, because it is.
The sauce is tangy. It has a nice tomato kick to it that activates your taste buds in such a way you want to keep going back for more.
Now, y’all don’t come for me — I am really boring when it comes to my pizza tops. My go-to pizza is a margarita style pizza. And Santucci’s really hits home with this. Not heavy on the basil, but it’s present enough that you know it’s there, giving you an additional flavor experience. The mozzarella tastes fresh. Not overly thick, but not too thin either. For my fellow lactose intolerant friends here, it’s nothing your lactaid can’t handle.
Now for those who are not like me and not boring, my boyfriend has raved about their buffalo chicken pizza. I trust him wholeheartedly when it comes to food — he doesn’t play around when it comes to food.
All in all, this pizza does not disappoint. It hits the spot and fills you up — no question. The only thing is that the pizzas can tend to run small and pricey. But other than that, it is how you say, superior. Overall ranking: 9/10.
First things first, we need to address the elephant in the room. What is a ‘jawn?’ For all my non-Philadelphian/Pennsylvanian folks, Dictionary.com says it’s “used to refer to a thing, place, person or event that one need not or cannot give a specific name to.” I, for the life of me, cannot think of any other way to describe it other than just giving out the definition. Now on to the pronunciation. With some ‘John’ undertones, it’s essentially ‘lawn’ with a ‘j.
I am going to start with my complaint first, and by the end of this, hopefully you will understand why. This joint is only open Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s. And if that isn’t bad enough, you have to sign up to get a pizza on their website… I’m sorry, what?! Yep, that’s right. You have to sign up in advance for the type of pizza and the time. And if they don’t have any slots available, that’s a big sad face because you aren’t getting any pizza jawn.
That’s all my complaints.
Now, onto the goods. This pizza is hands down maybe the best pizza I have ever had. No doubt. As stated before with Santucci’s, I am really boring when it comes to my pizza toppings. With their classic round pizza, their cheese pizza is something out of this world. The sauce and the cheese pairings are nothing crazy. It is just a standard pizza. But they have to have something in it because the combination of their sauce, cheese and dough is something that God himself had to have crafted. When you get it, it’s the perfect temperature where you think everything will fall off of it when you pick it up because it is that warm, but it doesn’t. Immaculate. The crust is the perfect thickness for what they are going for — not too thin and not too thick. It is just perfect. The color of it looks like something out of a catalogue. It is the perfect shade of cooked pizza. This is such a pretty looking pizza that someone should make an eyeshadow palette out of the colors you can see in it. This pizza is an experience. If you do anything in Philadelphia, get a pizza from Pizza Jawn.
For my little more ~exciting~ readers, their grandma style pizza is no joke, too. This varies because it is a square pizza. But likewise with the crust, it is not too thin and not too thick. And it is so incredibly different from Santucci’s. The pièce de résistance for grandma style is the bottom of the crust. Yep, you heard me right, the bottom. It is covered in sesame seeds. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have never had something like that. And boy oh boy, my life will never be the same. It was a different experience. The last time I had their grandma style, I had it with mushrooms, onions and peppers. Even though they were boring ingredients, this was somehow still one of the best pizzas I have ever graced my taste buds with.
Want another bonus for this place? They take venmo (and cash only, but who cares).
Overall ranking for this: 11/10. It is unchallenged. It will leave you speechless.
Now last, but no least, Franzone’s. With three locations in the general Philadelphia region, this pizza does not compare to Santucci’s or Pizza Jawn, but only because it is a different type of pizza that you get for different reasons.
Franzone’s has a crust that when you bite into it, you get a nice crunch. But the crust is slightly thinner than the past two places we have talked about, so don’t picture it on the same level.
What sets this pizza apart is the way the sauce is done. There’s a stupid thin layer and then cheese and then more sauce in like a sprial, if you will, on top. And somehow, it works. At first, I was hesitant about it, but the sauce is what really drives this pizza home. It has a rich tomato flavor that has a nice kick to it that is easily simmered down by the cheese and crust.
This is the type of pizza that belongs in a college town. It is the type of pizza that you order after being out with your friends all night, when you don’t feel like cooking, when you’ve been traveling or when you just need a quick pick-me-up.
Overall rating: 8.5/10. Definitely not the worst pizza, in fact, it made this list, so I clearly must have liked it. But, would I fight someone for a pizza from Pizza Jawn in place of getting something from Franzone’s? Yep.
Until next time, think about all the eating you’ll be doing when there is no longer a pandemic and you can travel again!