August 30, 2015

Gennaro's: Is this Pizza Better than Pizzeria Beddia?

Philly has taken center stage in the nation's Pizza Wars with Bon App├ętit naming Pizzeria Beddia the best in America. Sadly, we have not been there yet, and with the lines now reaching preposterous levels, I am not sure we will at all. Anyone want to wait in line and deliver us a pie?

That leaves us chasing the best of the rest, which are probably just as good, like Pizzeria Vetri, Pizza Brain and Square Pie (our current favorite). An overlooked place to throw into the mix is Gennaro's Tomato Pie in South Philly.

Mike Giammarino's cash only, no reservations BYOB serves Philly a little slice of the old NYC Italian pizzerias such as Patsy's or John's of Bleecker Street. It makes sense, considering his family owns Lombardi's in Brooklyn and he ran the Center City spinoff that closed in 2005.

Giammarino returned to Philly in 2013 to open Gennaro's and we're glad he did. His thin crust pies are on par, if not better than, many of the new joints popping up everywhere. Gennaro's low key, neighborhood vibe is enjoyable as well.

We ordered two styles - the white pizza with mozzarella and ricotta cheese and our favorite plain tomato pie with mozzarella, crushed tomato and olive oil. Both were fresh with the distinctive thin crust providing a nice crisp bite.

Old school NYC pizzerias are known for delivering delicious charred taste out of coal-fired ovens. Lacking its own coal oven, Gennaro's suggests cooking their pies a little longer to mimic the flavor. Our pies tasted more burnt than charred so we'd skip that step.

Gennaro's has a new spot on Passyunk Square called Grace & Pat's that serves up "Grandma Style" pies. If the thicker, but not Sicilian thick pizzas, are anything like my Italian grandmother's then I will be a regular visitor. Craig Laban is a big fan. Has anyone been yet?

*Kid-friendly? Yes, Gennaro's is very casual and a fine place to bring kids. There are fun, vintage photos and decor on the walls, and of course the food is right up any kid's ally. It's not huge and the tables are tight, though, so you might want to leave the stroller in the car or by the door.

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