Suburban restaurants are often doomed by the difficulties they have to overcome: lack of foot traffic, low customer counts, competition with the big-box chains that spring up on every major corner. But the one thing they have going for them? Their neighbors. Because when a great restaurant comes to a place previously served only by the mediocre and the lame, it can become the center of a community the way no urban restaurant ever can. Forno Antico is one of those places — a sprawling BYO that opened in a terrible location behind a jewelry store a few months back, but that’s been working hard to win over every single customer who comes through the doors. The pizzas come out of a traditional Neapolitan oven brought over from Italy (the name means “antique oven”), the alfredo tastes nothing like what you’ll get at the Olive Garden (meaning it’s wonderful and rich and buttery and creamy in the way that only a scratch-made sauce is), and the meatballs are huge, perfectly textured and delicious, even when, like me, you just ask for two orders to go so you can eat one in the parking lot before driving home.
Forno Antico [Foobooz]
Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine
Sweet Corn Pizza from City Tap House
City Tap House is rolling out a new seasonal pizza menu and they’re making a big deal about it. In fact, they sent over three pizzas today and we thought, seems like an odd time to be trumpeting what looked like ordinary pizza. But hey, pizza is pizza and we dug in. That’s when we realized there was more going on than we imagined. The salumi pizza was topped with pepperoni made with Cantimpaolo chorizo. The second pizza appeared to be the standard ham and arugula but instead it was Benton’s Farm ham with fresh peaches. Peaches on a pizza? It worked. The third pizza featured Jersey corn, roasted and pureed with a little cream and then topped with raclette, cilantro pesto and spicy pickled fresnos.
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… in New Jersey. But except for making the trip, there isn’t much else you need to do to get a pie. That’s right, the new Tacconelli’s location in Maple Shade, which opened Thursday, won’t be making guests call ahead to reserve their dough. All you have to do is show up and feast. In fact, it’s first come, first served, no call-aheads accepted.
The new Tacconelli’s location will be at 27 W Main Street in Maple Shade.
We’re happy to see Joe Cicala standing next to just delivered wood-fired oven. The video that Cicala posted of the delivery guys attempting to get the behemoth into the open wall at Brigantessa didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
The wood-burning oven will be at the heart of Cicala’s new East Passyunk restaurant that will focus on Southern Italian cooking and pizzas. The oven was manufactured to order in Italy for Briganessa and is hand-made from volcanic ash. Brigantessa is aiming to open this August.
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Throw on your favorite team’s jersey from the World Cup and head over to Bufad for the buy one Neapolitan pie and get the second for free deal. All you have to do is place your order, show up representing your team and you’ll walk out with two pies for the price of one. This special offer will be available Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until the final game on July 13th. So that means if you want to eat pizza in the comfort of your own home while watching the USA versus Germany on Thursday, this is an option.
Some people hate burnt pizza. Some people love burnt pizza. The latter group should know that Dave Magrogan’s Stella Rossa restaurants are now offering a “charred” option for all of their pies. The burnt pizzas get an extra 45 seconds in the 900-degree Forno Bravo brick oven. Read more »
SliCE and Di Bruno Bros. have teamed up to create a special Margherita di Burrata Pizza topped with cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, Di Bruno’s handmade burrata and finished with fresh basil and sea salt. The pizza is available all month long and today only, free samples will be available from noon to 7 p.m. at all three SliCE locations (1740 Sansom St; 1180 S 10th St; 137 Egg Harbor Rd, Washnington Twp, NJ).
In addition to the burrata pizza, SliCE is also offering a burrata caprese salad for $10.95.
Photo by Courtney Apple
Joe Beddia would’ve flunked out of Wharton for sure.
Consider the pizzaiolo’s business plan. He offers three pies, whole only, in a Fishtown storefront that’s legally prohibited from seating customers. There are no logos on his takeout boxes and no takeaway menus on the counter, and the restaurant has no phone.
And a year after he opened, Beddia is a veritable pizza superstar.
At first it was just the neighbors coming — which was all he really envisioned. But then people started schlepping in from Center City to line up outside his door. And then from Delaware and D.C. And soon, Bon Appétit “Foodist” Andrew Knowlton was horning in on the action.
So how does this happen to a place that is open four evenings a week, routinely reaches hour-plus waits less than three minutes after unlocking the door, and requires takeout orders to be placed in person?
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Photo courtesy Neal Santos
They’ve had a few weeks to get their legs under them, but now the crew at the new Zavino at Chestnut Square is ramping things up with longer hours and a new happy hour program.
First, the food and booze. Happy Hour deals will be constantly changing depending on the whims of chef Carlos Aparicio, his guys on the line and the staff behind the bar. But from 4:30 to 6:30 every day, look for things like “Bartender’s Choice” cocktails, $3 beers, $4 wines by the glass, $7 margherita pizzas, a variety of croquets, cheeses and veggies, and a $5 plate of meatballs that I kinda want right now.
In terms of service, Zavino is now offering lunch and dinner every day.
As always, follow Zavino on Twitter or like them on Facebook in order to stay in the loop on daily specials and whatnot.
The team behind Tria Cafe has opened a pizza-and-beer joint. That would be one way to describe Tria Taproom, but not a particularly apt one. The Taproom offers flatbreads, not pizzas. A co-worker wondered if the only difference was pretense, but from my point of view, the Tria team can call them whatever they want as long as they keep making them, whether topped with burrata, balsamic onions and lemon zest or gorgonzola, duck confit and foie gras mousse. The Taproom lives up to its name as well, with 24 beers on tap from a system that’s one part work of art and one part peek into the future. The tap handles are mounted on an illuminated marble backsplash. iPad-based menus describe the beers, which come from Norway, Nebraska and Downingtown. The iPads also illustrate just how much beer remains in the keg, so you’ll always know when one is getting down to the dregs. The wine program is also entirely on draft—a system that promises fresher-tasting wines and incidentally befuddles the city inspectors trying to enforce Philly’s mandatory recycling program: What do you mean there’s no waste? Since this is a Tria operation, cheese, the third fermentable, plays a part on the menu, with options ranging from Approachable to Racy—which is an altogether accurate description of what you get at Tria Taproom.
Tria Taproom [Foobooz]
First appeared in the April, 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.