Upper Crust

Local foodie breaks down Philly’s pizza scene (and why we’re second to none!)

The pizza wars between New Jersey and New York never seem to end, but Philly folks don’t mind; they just sit back and enjoy their own delicious version of the Italian classic, thank you very much.

Plenty of tremendous pies in and around the city and one-of-a-kind pizza spots that are destinations on their own, offering unique menu options based on generations of family history. But where to start? After much delicious investigation (you’re welcome), I came up with a few of the best pizza spots around:

Let’s Roll is a short drive outside the city in West Chester. It’s a dine-in, takeout, and delivery spot offering specialty pizza, American-style egg rolls, stromboli rolls, steaks, sandwiches, and sliders. This spot’s new storefront location has all your game day essentials and even offers catering services for the best tailgate meal the K lot at the Linc has ever seen.

We started with cheesesteak, pulled pork, and hot honey chicken egg rolls, all complemented by their signature dipping sauces: cheese wiz, chipotle ranch, and malt vinegar pickle aioli. The specialty pies come in personal, medium, and large sizes, with gluten-free crust available upon request.

The meat supreme pie, with large slices of pepperoni, bacon, and sausage, was my favorite. The cheesesteak Boli Roll was another star, with hot mozzarella and American cheese, fried onions, and chopped steak creating a gooey and delicious center. Do your taste buds a favor and head your way into Chester County as soon as possible.

“Boli Rolls”

For a more dressed-up option in the city, Bar1010 is a wood-fired pizza and cocktail bar sure to please the most adventurous pizza lovers.

Their signature pies are all personal-sized and pair well with their hand-crafted cocktails, especially their espresso martini, which has gained the restaurant some hype on social media. There is also a craft-your-own cocktail option where you pick your spirit and tell the server what you’re in the mood for, and the bartender will pour you a custom creation. I told the server I wanted rum and something fruity and refreshing and ended up with a spiked blackberry lemonade, which did the trick.

As for food, you can’t leave without trying their cheesy bread appetizer with fresh marinara sauce. You can judge a good pizza shop by how good their plain pie is, and the Plain & Perfect earned them big points in my book.

The restaurant has a rotating specialty pie, so check their Instagram @bar1010philly before you visit to see what pie they’re firing up that week.

If you’re looking to catch a game or grab a beer while enjoying some ‘za, Top Tomato Bar & Pizza at 11th & Sansom is the perfect spot. Originally a small storefront, the new and improved bar is a smaller pizza shop downstairs and a lively sports bar upstairs.

As you’d expect from a classic Philly sports bar, they’ve got wings, sandwiches, wraps, appetizers, and more. Their pizza, however, is the main attraction.

Top Tomato has over two dozen specialty options in personal or large sizes, with gluten-free and vegan options with room for endless customization. I love the Philadelphia Steak pizza, a white pie with chopped ribeye and garlic. You can’t go wrong with their fried zucchini sticks with fresh tomato sauce for an appetizer.

When it comes to the eternal pizza debate, it’s clear that the City of Brotherly Love has carved out a delicious niche.

So the next time you hear the New York Bros and the Jersey Boys getting worked up about who’s best, get to one of Philly’s finest spots for some cheesy bliss.

FEATURED IN THIS POST:

Let’s Roll (Dine-in, Pickup, Delivery & Catering)
Parkway Shopping Center, West Chester
Open daily 11Am – 9PM (Fri/Sat till 10PM)
610-719-9900 / letsrollfoods.com

Bar1010
701 N. 2nd Street (at Fairmount), Northern Liberties
Open Sun-Wed 11AM – 10PM (Thurs/Fri/Sat till 1AM)
267-930-8486 / bar1010.com

Top Tomato Bar & Pizza
116 S. 11th Street, Center City
Open Mon – Fri 10AM – 2AM (Sat/Sun opens 11AM)
215-592-8242
toptomatophilly.com

❤️🍕  HONORABLE MENTION (from the editors Steve and Carolyn):

Founded Pizza & Coffee Family-owned by Turkish war refugees, we love the variety of pizzas available by the slice here — all the classics plus inventive combinations like General Tso’s Chicken and Chicken-Bacon Ranch. Currently, the neighborhood is obsessed with their Margherita-Burrata-Pesto, an original creation you won’t find anywhere else. Our favorite, though, is their Detroit-style pizza: a rectangular pie with an addictively chewy crust and a golden-brown bottom. Our local go-to in NW Philly but worth the trip from anywhere. **NO PORK PRODUCTS ** (they use beef pepperoni/sausage & turkey bacon)
3300 Henry Ave, East Falls
Open 9AM – 9PM (Fri/Sat till 10PM)
267-900-5338 / foundedcoffeeandpizza.com

COMMENTS WELCOME! Have you tried any of these pizza places, or do can you recommend other favorites we’ve missed? Tell us below in the Comments, or catch up with me on Instagram @gingersliketoeat. If you enjoyed this feature, please check out last month’s column on Veda modern Indian bistro and lounge.

About Eleni Finkelstein 22 Articles
Eleni Finkelstein (aka @gingersliketoeat on Instagram) is a South Jersey and Philadelphia-based food blogger and journalist. She loves traveling, trying new foods, and cheering on Philly sports teams. You can check out her book, "Eat Like a Local: South Jersey" on Amazon.

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