An Appreciation: Tony’s Place


When my mom was a kid, the waitresses at Tony’s Place would elbow you in the head.

Not always, and with good cause. If you were in their way — if your feet were sticking out of the booths, for example — they would elbow you. It worked: Once you got your head bashed in once, you wouldn’t get in a waitress’ way again.

By the time I started going to Tony’s, the waitresses weren’t elbowing people. The waitstaff at Tony’s is quite nice! But they still have a certain attitude — gruff with a heart of gold — that’s reminiscent of great dive bar waitresses across the city.

There’s a lot to like about Tony’s Place. The pizza — “tomato pies” in Northeast Philly parlance — is probably the best in the city. It’s certainly my favorite pizza place in the city. The beer selection is now pretty solid. The thick steak fries are mouthwatering. I’ve never ordered anything but pizza there, but I’ve been told the other food is good. Mostly, though, Tony’s feels the same as it did when I was a little kid. I might have a beer instead of a soda when I visit, but a meal at Tony’s at 33 is pretty much the same experience I had when I was three.

The news earlier this week that Tony’s Place would be sold to three Bucks County regulars came not entirely as a surprise. A little over a year ago, Northeast Philly scuttlebutt was that Tony’s might close outright. The last day for owner Joe Mallamaci is Sunday. The new owners report there will be renovations, but the menu and staff will largely be the same. Still, I can’t help but be a little sad. Read more »