Where We’re Eating: Gennaro’s Tomato Pies


Mike Giammarino—who operated Philly’s Lombardi’s pizzeria on 18th Street before that location succumbed to 10 Rittenhouse and, eventually, Serafina—is back, baking New York-style pizza in Philadelphia, where he belongs. Giammarino has opened Gennaro’s Tomato Pie just off West Passyunk Avenue, and despite the fact that it debuted just after New Year’s, the place already feels like it’s been here for decades. The World War II model planes and 1940s-era posters and advertisements certainly help, but somehow even the tattooed servers fit right in.

Though the pizza is available for takeout (no delivery), these pies are meant to be eaten right where they’re made—inside the 34-seat pizzeria, while the mozzarella is still melting, the chunky, herb-filled tomato sauce is still dangerously hot, and the snappy well-done crust can still stand up to the toppings without a hint of floppiness. If you can’t decide which kind to get (though really, there are no wrong choices), the pleasant staff will offer the option of divvying pies up by halves. But that politeness aside, this remains pizza worthy of being called New York-style.

Gennaro’s Tomato Pie
1429 Jackson Street

First appeared in the June, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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  • Old_Salt

    Very good pizza. When I went they gave us a free sample of a new pizza they were still working on, as well as some complimentary dessert. However, I was left with a $50 tab on two pizzas and a couple of cokes, which didn’t sit well. If you get a pizza with half and half toppings, they charge you the same as two full toppings ($6!!). They will make you a half white/half red pie which is pretty cool. Also, the meatballs and pepperoni are outta control yummy.

  • tabby13

    The owners are taking you all for a ride on this one. They tell you how everything is homemade here and imported for different places giving you the quality ingredients and that would compensate for the high prices. In reality the homemade meatballs that they make right there are actually frozen meatballs that they get shipped there from their distributor Cremosa. I never knew that taking a frozen meatball and cooking it actually qualifies for making it homemade, but in their eyes we re just South Philly trash and we don t get good quality food . We re all idiots as the owner would say. And their homemade sauce that they make with the tomatoes imported from California is actually made from Cento tomatoes. They only difference is that they grind up the tomatoes instead of buying the actual sauce, but again….we re just idiots in their eyes. And their homemade pineapple upside down cake is just Duncan Hines pineapple cake mix with Dole pineapples and coconut milk. Which per slice you pay $6.50. You re better off making it yourself and getting a whole cake…..then you too can make it homemade . Now let s go on to cleanliness of this place. None and I mean none of the employees there wash there hands. Their kitchen on some nights only has two people working back there. Think about it. Any dishes, trash that needs to be taken out, money giving back and forth between the cooks and waitresses for errands, touching their hair or face, cleaning up messes or after they eat….they DO NOT wash their hands. That must be where all the extra flavor comes from. Not to mention the fact that the owners do not believe in letting employees take off when they are sick….so even more extra flavor for you. Now after you have sat there ordered your overpriced food with the extra flavor this is the part of the meal where usually the owner will come over himself and talk to you. This is by far the most disturbing part. . While he s sitting there talking to you he ll take his left arm and put it behind his back and stick his hand down the back of his pants and keep the there while he s talking to you. Then when you re finsished your conversation he ll proceed to give you a hand shake or a pat on the back or even go back in the kitchen and touch more ingredients….extra flavor without fail it happens every night.

    Lastly there is the way the view and treat people which is just absurd. They talk about everyone, even if you re a regular they talk about you. Laurie Phillips a really good regular that they do cater to, they ll say how she s a linebacker and a beast, but are so completely nice to her face. If you dare to mention that their prices are high then you re just a low life piece of trash from South Philly in their eyes which they point out all the time. And how people in South Philly are stupid and they just want trash food. And we just don t know any better. If you bring in anything that isn t wine you re looked down on. They re insane. The owner s wife even told me that at 50 she still takes prenatal vitamins which is just crazy but if you dare wear flip flops to an interview you re insane. Also gambling and taking drugs and talking about drugs like their son does who works there is okay, but they fired me because the new waitress screwed up the register and I said something. They also have their employees work off the clock and run errands for them like paying the electric bill and phone bill because I guess that s beneath them. Which they don t pay you for and that is illegal. But they ve done it to enough of us that now it s just time to get a lawyer especially since I have all the ex employee contacts still. Not to mention the fact they make you work with the flu or lose of a voice, if you don t wear makeup you re washed out and get yelled at, and they refuse to hire males. I m pretty sure they just think we re all idiots.

    In the end, they re just taking everyone for a ride because we re beneath them

  • Old_Pepper

    Tomato pies are pointless (and generally flavorless) – who wants pizza without cheese and toppings?

    • asb165

      This is not a pizza without cheese or toppings.