Tale of the Tape: Francoluigi’s Cheesesteak Pizza

Through bad weather and good, the Year of the Cheesesteak marches on and while some of you might think that a cheesesteak any other way than the original roll/meat/cheese standard is blasphemy, you might change your tune after you try a slice of Francoluigi’s cheesesteak pizza.

Francoluigi’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant
NE corner of 13th & Tasker

Roll: N/A, though Francoluigi’s pizza dough is noteworthy in that it isn’t make with super high gluten flour, but instead with bread flour to yield a more tender crust.

Meat: Ribeye, sourced from Bova Foods and thin sliced.

Onion: Sliced and fried.

Cheese: Mozzarella and white American.

Price: $2.50 per slice or $17.95 for a 18-inch extra large.

Pro Tip: Though not available by the slice, Francoluigi’s also offers a chicken cheesesteak pizza and in the event that you believe the cheesesteak to be a lesser sandwich, they also make a pizza topped with house roasted pork, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone, and mozzarella.

Proprietor, pizzaiolo and opera singer, Franco Borda started making the cheesesteak pie in 1982  thinking, “why have the roll?” when you’ve got an abundance of pizza dough. The pie features thinly sliced ribeye along with a combination of white American (for maximum creaminess) and and mozzarella (for stretch and caramelized brown spots) cheeses. Naturally, you can order it with or without fried onions. Borda’s preference is to have the pizza with ketchup and sliced cherry peppers, just as you might have a classic cheesesteak. While I passed on the former, the latter punched up the pizza with a puckery heat that made the base seem even richer.

The pizzeria itself is small, offering just a few tables to perch for a slice, but they clearly do a brisk take-out business. Plus, while you wait for your pie to bake you’re likely to hear some live opera being performed at Borda’s neighboring sit-down restaurant, The High Note, maybe even by Borda himself.

The Verdict

Best cheesesteak pizza in Philly.  Perhaps anywhere.

Sliced cherry peppers punched up the pizza with a puckery heat.

Sliced cherry peppers punched up the pizza with a puckery heat.