All the Tomato Pie You Should Be Eating in Philadelphia Right Now

Whether you call it gravy pie, church pie, or tomato pie, these are some of the best bakeries and pizzerias making it in and around Philly.

Liberty Kitchen’s tomato pie | Photo by Jillian Guyette

Philly is obsessed with pizza. We’re the kind of city where folks line up for hours in the cold to get a sought-after pie, even while we have a massive slate of excellent old-school and newcomer pizzerias to choose from. But what just might be the true Philly-style pizza isn’t really a pizza at all.

Tomato pie, our city’s cheeseless wonder, can be traced back to thick, tomato-topped dough slices made in Sicily that traveled here with waves of Italian immigrants — some of whose bakeries still stand as icons of the craft — a century ago. And although New Jersey has its own thin-crusted, cheese-on-the-bottom version, we like Philly-style tomato pie best, with lots of red gravy, thick and tender crust, and just a sprinkling of parmesan on top.

Since tomato pie is best served at room temperature, it’s an almost-perfect takeout option: great when you get it, great for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner the next day. And because many of the tomato pie spots in Philly did a lot of takeout and delivery business in the Before Times, almost all of them are still open. Here are a few of our favorite spots to get takeout and delivery pies right now, with our full list below. (We’ve marked spots that are still open with a star.)

 

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Freelance Pizza, pop-up 
The good news is that this self-described “dude making pizza in his house” started out his business focusing on dialing in a simple tomato pie, so you know it’s going to be good. The bad news is that this is a side-hustle for it’s owner, so availability is sparse and irregular. But if you’re interested in Philly’s latest hard-to-get pie, this is where you’ll find it.

 

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Pizza Plus, South Philly 
Pizza Plus is Dan PizzaGutt Gutter’s second shop, now located in South Philly in a tiny, takeout-only spot that opened just a couple days before coronavirus shut down the city. Just like at Circles and Squares, you can get a tomato pie on his thick-crust option, though at Pizza Plus, it’s a round pie.

 

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Pizza Jawn, Manayunk
It’s not the most traditional version in the city, but Pizza Jawn’s Grandma-style pie with marinara is the super-crispy, well-sauced pie we all want. The bottom of the crust is coated in sesame seeds, which gives it a toasty flavor and adds another layer of texture. Unfortunately, Pizza Jawn has pretty limited quantities that sell out fast, so you’ll have to get lucky to decide if you consider this a real tomato pie.

 

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Pizzeria Beddia, Fishtown
Pizzeria Beddia has come a long way from it’s days of in-person only, super-limited quantities. In the midst of the coronavirus shutdown that closed dining rooms for months, they finally gave in and started offering delivery. That means you can now get their super-fluffy, bright-red sauced tomato pie delivered to your home in half or whole sheets – a much better fix than the old days where they only served individual slices.

 

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Cacia’s Bakery, South Philly, Cherry Hill, Blackwood, Williamstown, Hammonton, Audubon (NJ) 
A lot of places are trying to figure out how to do takeout well while they have limited capacity in their dining rooms, but not Cacia’s. They’ve been turning out excellent tomato pies (among other delights) from their brick ovens for four generations, so you know they’re doing it well. Their gravy pie is extra-saucy, which we find particularly appealing.


 

best tomato pie philadelphia suburbs

Corropolese Bakery | Facebook

*Corropolese, Norristown, Audubon, Limerick, Di Bruno Bros. in the Ardmore Farmers Market, and Douglassville
You’ll find boxes of this Best of Philly-winning tomato pie stacked at the bakery’s four locations around the ‘burbs northwest of Philly (and at lots of chain grocers in Delco and Montco). They offer a ton of different topping options, from white cheddar to eggplant, but it’s the plain red gravy original that’s truly iconic.

*Pizza Shackamaxon, Fishtown
This Girard Avenue slice shop is of the few new-school pizza spots in Philly offering tomato pie — and their fat, square slices with crunchy crust and zingy tomato sauce are some of the best in the city. Don’t forget to shoot them an email two days in advance if you want to bring home a whole pie.

*Circles & Squares, East Kensington
Chewy, focaccia-style, square pies are the cult favorite at Pizza Gutt’s first brick-and-mortar location. You can get the pies with several different topping combinations each night, but they pay homage to Philly’s pizza scene by offering a classic tomato pie sprinkled with just a little oregano.

*Sarcone’s Bakery, Italian Market
Taste the history of Philly-style tomato pie at this century-old 9th Street institution, where each one is baked in a massive brick hearth oven till crispy on the edges and juicy in the middle.

*La Rosa Pizza, South Philly
If you’re craving something cheese-less, this square pie destination on South Broad Street has you covered with their “gravy pie,” topped with nothing but their signature red sauce and a few glugs of olive oil.

*Joe Santucci’s Square Pizza Bar & Grille, Northeast Philly
Yes, everyone pledges allegiance to their favorite Santucci’s sub-chain (there are three branches of the family operating three different businesses under the name). Yes, all three of them offer tomato pie. But this one is our favorite.

 

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*Conshohocken Bakery, Conshohocken
A Montco favorite, Conshy Bakery has been turning out classic tomato pies for 45 years — topped with gravy only, then a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of cheese and garlic powder on top.

*Gigi Pizza, Queen Village
Gigi is mostly known for their Neapolitan-style pizza, but they also bake off one tomato pie a day and sell it by the slice until it’s sold out.

 

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*New York Bakery, South Philly
Grab slices of this bright-sauced tomato pie to go (New York Bakery is takeout only) at this long-running spot on 11th just north of Wolf Street.

best tomato pie philadelphia suburbs

Carlino’s Market | Official

*Carlino’s Market, Ardmore
Rather than the typical smooth red sauce, Carlino’s house-made pies are topped with a chunky tomato sauce amped up with fresh basil.

*Morabito Baking Company, Norristown
This long-running Italian bakery has something of a regional monopoly on supplying supermarkets with thieir signature tomato pies. If you can’t make it out to the bakery in Norristown, just grab one of their red-striped boxes at your local Acme, Giant, or ShopRite instead.

*Liberty Kitchen, Fishtown
Liberty Kitchen’s tomato pie comes with the option of adding mozzarella, anchovies or pepperoni. We’re not saying you should do this, but it is an option.

*Stogie Joe’s, East Passyunk
Okay, so we’re stretching the no-cheese-but-parm rule a bit with this one: Stogie Joe’s technically serves what’s known as upside-down pizza, which features cheese beneath a layer of red sauce. But since it earned them a Best of Philly, we’ll allow it.

*Gaeta’s Tomato Pies, Rhawnhurst
This sweet-sauced take on tomato pie is a Northeast Philly icon, though it originated at a bakery called Scalea’s in Germantown more than 75 years ago before moving east under a new name and new ownership.

best tomato pie philadelphia northwest

Marchiano’s | Photo by Victor Fiorillo

*Marchiano’s Bakery, Manayunk
For old school, nonna-approved tomato pie, look no further than Marchiano’s, which has been making a southern Italian recipe passed down from the owners’ grandmother since 1984.

*Iannelli’s, South Philly
Though this long-running Italian bakery has incredibly irregular hours – they’re open on holidays and big game days, and basically whenever Vincent Iannelli feels like it – but when you finally make it, the brick-oven baked tomato pies are worth the rigmarole.

*Tony Roni’s, Roxborough
Hit up one of the seven locations of this local pizza chain in Roxborough or on the outskirts of Philly for a crisp, thinner-crusted take on the classic tomato pie.

Francoluigi’s, East Passyunk
This classic South Philly pizzeria serves thick-crusted, Sicilian-style square pies in addition to rounds made with thin crust, and their tomato pie — dusted with cheese and seasonings plus a bit of olive oil — is one of the best.