Straight Up New York Craft Spirits Festival: Warwick, NY
Eating in Philadelphia: Parc and oysters and white wine

New York Italian Style Bakery: Tomato Pie in Philadelphia, PA


On our way out of Philadelphia, we stopped at New York Italian Style Bakery to get a few slices of tomato pie. I knew I was going to try a slice when I got in the car. I didn't think I'd be eating two in quick succession. Maybe the excitement stemmed from this being my first experience with tomato pie (a style of pizza that seems to be unique to Philadelphia and its suburbs), but this pie really made an impression on me.


We would have never considered this stop or knew about New York Italian Style Bakery if not for a conversation with a lovely bartender at the pretty-damed-good Lolita during lunch one afternoon. We got to talking about food, as I do, and she recommended this small bakery that makes bread, and also this tomato pie. "Just get a few slices and bring them back to the hotel for later tonight," we were advised. That sounded like a fine idea, but once I saw they open at 6 am on Sunday, stopping on the way home seemed like an even better idea. Now I can't imagine visiting Philly without incorporating this stop into the itinerary.


They are giving this stuff away. A slice (about 6 inches in length) is about $1.50. We got four, and the pleasant girl dutifully laid two slices together, sauce side to sauce side. The other two packed into the paper the same way, perfect for taking this stuff to go. Indeed, there is nowhere to sit at New York Italian Bakery. It's a strictly to-go operation. And don't expect a hot slice from the oven. It seems that this pizza is served room temp.


I tried a slice as soon as we got into the car (well, soon after I laid the slices on the backseat and snapped a few shots). Frankly I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed that first slice. As we were making our way to the Turnpike, I couldn't get it out of my head. I finally caved and had to grab a second slice. It was, just as good as the first.

This tomato pie is a complex enigma. The sauce looks as though it's over-powering and plodding, but it's light, bright, with just enough sweetness and herbal undertones, and applied with a deft hand. The crust appears thick, dry, and lifeless--and quite unexceptional if you share my Neapolitan-bias--but it's thinner than you'd think, and delightfully crisp and chewy at the same time.  This is a perfectly conceived and executed pizza.

Two hours later, at home, I found myself staring at the remaining two slices, and a big hunk of the delicious fresh mozzarella that you can get at the Ridgewood Farmers' Market. I realize that I just noted that this tomato pie is perfectly conceived and executed, but I couldn't stop myself from tearing up some of that luscious cheese and dotting the tomato pie with it. A quick run in the oven to slightly melt everything, and, well, I don't have to tell you how much I enjoyed it.


The missus just tried a slice (without cheese), and proclaimed "this is addictive." I couldn't agree more.

Cheesesteaks can go suck it. I'm all about the tomato pie now.

New York Italian Style Bakery : 2215 South 11th Street : Philadelphia, PA : 215.389.5912