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Can Pizza Be Better in Burbs than Center City?

I hope I don't regret asking this but what do you consider the best pizza in Center City Philly. My husband is a pizza nut and eats it a few times a week. We are from the burbs but he works in center city (he's a cheesesteak eating, soft pretzel eating Electrician). He tells me he prefers the pizza around home over the pizza in the city. I was suprised to hears this and asked him why? He said the crust is too thick and the cheese sits high on the sauce. Any comments?

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  1. There are three pizza places that are my go to places - although all are technically in Bella Vista/South Philly not center city proper. In no particular order: Lorenzo's at 9th and Christian: thin crust, that kind of cheese/grease/sauce mix that just makes one topping. Slice, 9th and Federal, thin crust, higher end toppings (fresh mozarella, etc). Finally Marra's, 1700 ? Passyunk Ave, thin crust, not much topping, may be slightly burnt to some (or nicely done to others)

    Where in the burbs does he like his pizza from?

    18 Replies
    1. re: Bigley9

      He likes Nat's in Doylestown, Spatolas in Chalfont, Pizza Plaza in Souderton and Maple Glen Pizza in Maple Glen. For cheesesteaks he's a sucker for Mamas in Bala Cynwyd.

      Thanks for your recs.

      1. re: murano

        I have to agree about Maple Glen pizza, it is absolutely the best around (in spite of the grumpy owner and bad service!).

        1. re: AmblerGirl

          Can you tell me more about Maple Glen Pizza? What kind of pizza do you get? Do they sell slices and pies? Do they do cheesesteaks and if so, how are they? I'm in Montco and am always on the lookout for good pizza and steaks. thanks in advance

          1. re: cheesewit

            It is basic pizza, to me. Thin chewy crust, right amt of smooth sauce and great greasy cheese. The slices are the right size, too. Not too small. The owner might seem grumpy because he doesnt speak too much English. They do make cheesesteaks and hoagies but I prefer other places for those.

            1. re: murano

              I completely agree, they serve the best plain pie, perfect cheese - sauce - grease ratio. Perfect thin crust with big slices for folding.

        2. re: murano

          I have to disagree about Maple Glen Pizza. Being a Pizza snob who thinks there is no good Pizza in the Philly area, this one will not change my mind. It's just plain horrible. Stay away.

          1. re: IamStarving

            To save me from reviewing all the "pizza" threads, who do you think has the best pizza? I was going to order from Maple Glen today because it is maybe 5 minutes from my house. Now I am in a pizza quandary!

            1. re: crazyspice


              I'm in the same quandary as you and I also live 5 minutes from maple Glen Pizza. Try La Cucina Fantina, one block from Maple Glen, it's in the little strip mall across from the Glen Glen Pharmacy on 63. There Pizza is quite good, albeit a bit expensive. Best tasting pizza around this area. Also love their sandwiches, try the Godfather.

              1. re: IamStarving

                Do you like TonyA's in Springhouse? I don't like their sandwiches, but I have had worse pizza. My eye doctor is right next to La Cucina Fantina, but I never thought about waling in there. I don't like thick crust. How is theirs?

                1. re: crazyspice

                  Hey Crazy

                  I'm not sure about Tony A's in Spring House, although there is a Pizza place in SH next to the post office I tried. Did not like it, as all. Had a funky flavor to it I could do without. As for the crust at La Cucina, this is where they excel. It kind of reminds me of the old Greek Pizza joints in NE Philly back in the day, very crispy (not NY Pizza crispy), a little thicker than NY pizza. The sauce is home made, and you can tell. Forgot to mention thier french fries, almost perfect.

                  1. re: IamStarving

                    Next to the PO, Il Giardino or something like that. I do not like their pizza either. Well, today it ended up being grilled shrimp, so pizza will have to be had this coming week. Thanks for the rec!

                    1. re: IamStarving

                      After my eye exam on Wednesday, I stopped into Cucina Fantina. I asked for a slice with spinach, tomato and mushroom. They LOADED on the spinach which tasted like it had been frozen. I wasn't impressed at all. the crust was crunchy which I liked, but I left underwhelmed. Another pizza heartbreak!

                      1. re: crazyspice

                        So sorry for your experience. I feel slightly responsible for the recommendation. I've always had it plain, no toppings. Again, keep searching, there has to be a good pizza joint in the suburbs, or, maybe not!

                        1. re: IamStarving

                          No big deal. Maybe I will stop back for a piece of plain. I was right next door anyway. So far I still like Tony A's in Springhouse the best.

                  2. re: IamStarving

                    Oh, Cucina Fantina is great, I love theior sandwiches. Godffather is good, but try the Godmother, its awesome!!!!!!

                    1. re: AmblerGirl


                      I agree. It is truly a gem in the barrens of the suburbs. Got to try their cheesesteak, hope it matches the rest of their great fare.

            2. re: Bigley9

              Oh yeah. He loves Mack and Manko in Ocean City, as do I.

              1. re: murano

                Always torn between Mack and manko's in OC and Mack's in Wildwood. Lorenzo's is probably closest to that style of pizza that I have found. But order by the slice not a whole pizza, for some reason it doesn't taste the same

            3. I like Joe's on 16th, if you can get past the 'tude. the place on 13th (zio's?) is decent. i used to like michaels on 10th or 11th (i htink that's the name - it's right next to where la boheme used to be) but i stopped going there because i personally don't like listening to fox news, which they always had on, but if you don't mind that it's worth checking out.
              that said, i tend to like a thicker crust, and a fair amount of sauce.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bob Loblaw

                I've never encountered any attitude, and I eat lunch at Joe's. It is a pretty decent spot, though.

                Another decent Center City spot is Pietro's, which is an entirely different atmostphere than the usual pizza parlor but is a pretty decent pie in a city awash with fairly mediocre pizza. (Why is that? With all the folks scrambling for good pizza in this city, you'd think there'd be more good spots to be found.)

              2. If you are anywhere near Doylestown, it isn't too far to travel to Trenton for Delorenzo's...

                9 Replies
                1. re: phungi

                  DiLorenzo's is the best pizza in the metro area, followed by Tacconelli's in Port Richmond (Tacconelli's is often unjustly maligned on this site....not sure why; they produce a nice thin crust, perfectly baked pizza). I have yet to have any pizza in the burbs that come close (and yes I have tried Jules Thin Crust in Doylestown........not even close. And stop it with Rizzo's in Glenside.....mediocre at best).

                  1. re: G Goo

                    Personally, I find Delorenzos red pie to be tops among red pies, and Tac's White (spinich tomato) to be best in class among white pies.... Of course, you cannot go wrong at either place... although I like the "feel" of Tacs (hard to call it "atmosphere") over the single room at Del's.

                      1. re: saturninus

                        Trenton.......shhhhhh.......don't tell the moderator.....

                        1. re: G Goo

                          Let's stick with recommendations located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, please.

                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                            Trenton IS close to those of us that live in Bucks County, which is also close to where the original poster lives as well. Delorenzo's recently won the Best Pizza in PHILADELPHIA, not just Trenton.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              yeah, i disagreed with including diLorenzo's in a philly pizza contest... not that it's not the best pizza. i can't say, i've never tried it - mostly because, well, it's in trenton. which isn't near philly.
                              bucks county is near philly. trenton is near bucks country. but this is a situation where near+near=far.

                              1. re: Bob Loblaw

                                Right but the poster was talking about Bucks County. Nats in Doylestown, along with Italian Delight, are decent representations of NY style thin crust pizza.

                                Dilorenzo's is known for Tomato Pies, a style of Pizza that while it might have originated in Trenton, can certainly be found in the NorthEast Philadelphia, as well as Manyunk among other place.s

                                1. re: Bob Loblaw

                                  Exactly. Trenton is over an hour from me.

                  2. I am a huge fan of Tony & Joe's in Conshohocken. My husband a pizza snob from NY said that all the time he spent in college in Philly he never really found a slice he loved. When we were in town visiting my family I took him over to Tony & Joe's for slice. Needless to say he's a fan. Tell him to give that place a try.

                    4 Replies
                        1. re: yumyum palace

                          pizza really is THE most subjective food. so many different qualities of it - thin vs thick, crispy vs doughy, sweet sauce vs tangy, oily moz vs more dry, chewy moz, freshly made vs settled into its flavors... etc...

                          what's going on at tony & joe's that i never experienced? i always found them to be totally boring. i used to order (when i lived in conshy) from tony a's at ridge + butler. it's totally unique, unsweet sauce - almost orange. i'd always ask for extra sauce and dip my pizza in it. :) still, i'd give this pizza a mere 7/10. (there's only 1 10/10 i've ever had, and it's in gaithersburg maryland - still going strong on recent visits)

                          in the city, i've tried a looooot of the pizza places recommended. i just didn't 'get' tacconelli's though i do want to try them again. also, though i enjoyed it more, thought marra's was pretty... average. pietro's, meh. i thought old city pizza churned out an edible pie (though many here i know would disagree!) when slathered with toppings. if you like a thicker pizza that is. rustica - LOVE it, but it doesn't really satisfy my PIZZA craving if that makes sense. i mean, it is delicious food, but their crispy gourmet pies are a far cry from the floppy salty doughy pies i often crave! so last night (after reading this thread... thanks guys) i went to celebre's. take away half the grease, and that's nearly 100% of what i'm looking for (although the sauce was a little sweet for me but i'll live)... however, brought it home and it doesn't reheat well at ALL! and it's no good cold. but for fresh, eat-in pizza, that's the happiest i've been with pizza in phila.

                          i know we were comparing phila to burbs and i guess i don't have much experience comparing. i mean, when i lived in conshy i ate pizza in conshy, and now that i live in phila i eat phila pizza. we would really need to stage a side-by-side pizza tasting for me to really pass judgement on an entire area!
                          anyway that said... i'm wondering if there is anywhere, city or burbs, where one can go for thick, chewy, doughy pizza? i think this is a relatively new obsession of mine fueled by celebre's crust. mmmmmm.

                          1. re: rabidog

                            After spending 2 years avoiding the bowling alley type pizza in Delaware, I found Alpha Pizza on Rt 4, just south of Wilmington. Greek style with a thick crispy crust and garlicy sauce. Totally addictive. It's a total mom and pop place, where they don't even have a take out menu- just a business card with their hours and phone number. We've quickly become regulars. I know it's further out from Philly, but is worth it if you're a thick crust fan.

                        2. A good pizza place to try in Doylestown is Spatolas, next to Dairy Queen . It is Brick oven , this crust New York style Delicious pizza, you wont be dissapoitned!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: lisabomp2

                            Do you like that branch better than the one in New Britain/Chalfont? I have always heard the latter was the best. Has anyone compared the two?

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              I have been to both and I definitely like the location in New Britain better.

                              1. re: cwdonald

                                I like New Britain better. The crust is thinner and tender.

                                1. re: murano

                                  the Spatolas in doylestown is independantly owned , it has no ties to the other spatolas in the area, try it out

                            2. WOW ! Mack N Maco's...is THE best PIZZA.....We have literally gotten a whole pie and freeze dried in for the ride home to PA..... not often, but we love it. I have always wanted to try Mama's in Bala- heard rave reviews

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: tracyeann

                                Never had Mamas pizza but the cheesesteaks are one of a kind. Not your typical cheesesteak. They are bursting with meat on a crispy roll. Order it with light cheese since they go super heavy on the cheese. They are so successful that they have limited hours. We always get them to go since the dining area is tiny.

                                1. re: tracyeann

                                  Last time I had Mama's was back when I was going to school on City Ave...and it was really good stuff then.

                                  1. re: tracyeann

                                    We get our Mack and Manco pies "half baked" to take home and either freeze or, usually, finish heating and eat.

                                    I like Sal's in Gateway Shopping Center and Vito's in KofP. Both remind me in some way of MnM's.

                                  2. I'm going to give a few suggestions of what I consider my "best of pizza". I'm a bit of a pizza junkie and I've had it from all over with many great ones coming to mind. Here is my list of great places in the burbs.
                                    Best Sauce: Franzone's in Bridgeport & Plymouth. They make a sweet sauce with a ton of basil. If you like your pizza sauce sweet and you like basil, this is a must. I always get a pie with extra sauce, or ask for more on the side.

                                    Best Crust: Charlie's Pizza in East Norriton. Charlie's uses corn meal to keep this crispy pie from sticking to the hot oven. Try it with the "red top".

                                    Best Sicilian Pie: Via Veneto on Markley Street in Norristown. Perfect combination of crispy outer layer, soft, doughy inside, perfect acid/sweet balance of the sauce, mozzerella cooked just enough. If anyone knows of a better Sicilian pie, please let me know. This one is really tough to beat.

                                    Best Spicing: Pepper Mill in West Goshen. It's been a few years but they had a nice, oily, spicing that they did on the cheese. I would hope that they wouldn't have changed that up.

                                    Another place to check out is Oaks Italian Deli and Pizzeria in Oaks, PA. They have a well done, crispy crust that is hard to recreate outside of a brick oven.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: weeare138

                                      Oaks pizza is very good and they also make an excellent cheese steak. Parking can be a bit hairy but there's a lot across the street which helps.

                                      Rocco's has always been good - I usually go to the one in Collegeville.

                                      Giovanni's in Royersford is also great pizza.

                                    2. Update:

                                      Just tried my first pizza at Spatollas (Sp?) in Horsham and have to say, meh! I ordered a plain cheese pizza which was tasteless and horribly thin. It made Maple Glen look good.

                                      1. The pizza is not great where we live (Blue Bell), but lately we have been enjoying the pizza at Dolce Luna in the Whitpain shopping center (on 202 south of Skippack Pike). The place is clean, the owner is always there and the decor is nice for a pizza/pasta place.

                                        1. wow, i was just extremely pleasantly surprised by the pizzas at dock street brewery! i got my favorite, a plain ole margherita - delicious! very smoky crust, very herby sauce (was that sage?). so... different... but so light and fresh and perfect for a beautiful day! oh, and the beers were good, too. ;)

                                          1. Moved here from NYC 2 years ago, and the best pizza we've found in the Doylestown area (other than Jules which is a different thing altogether) is Pina's III on Swamp Road in Doylestown.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: bucksgirl

                                              Slice on 10th and Federal is great!

                                              1. re: bucksgirl

                                                Actually I prefer Italian Delight to Pinas... their sauce has more garlic and I like their crust better. Its closer to what I am used to in the NY area.

                                              2. I'm uncertain about the burbs versus cc thing but here's a few philly neighborhood pizza recommendations:
                                                First, a second to both Slice and Dock St., their pizza alone warrants a trip to the respective neighborhoods. The plus of Dock Street is that you can sit down and have damn fine beer too, the negative that service is notoriously uneven. And don't try anything else at dock street - trust me, stick to the pizza.
                                                In center city Pietro's and Mama Palma's produce consistently above average pies, though usually the wait and service at Palma's is not worth it.
                                                Lastly, just slightly north of the Italian Market is a lovely bakery called Sarcone's that has some unbeatable traditional s. philly tomato pie. Worth picking up after a weekend stroll in the market.
                                                Avoid the oft-commended Lorenzo's on South. I just don't get it - this place is tourist greasathon trap. Serves no gastro purpose unless you need to absorb quite a bit of alcohol.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: w.phillyeater

                                                  Actually, most of the commendations for Lorenzo's are for the Lorenzo's at 9th and Christian. A slice through the window - a whole pie is somehow different than what theyprepare for slices (smaller?)

                                                2. How does everyone feel about Pizzacato in old city?

                                                  1. My favorite pizza in the burbs is Michael's on butler Pike in Broad Axe. My fave in the city is definitely Tacconelli's.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: christie21

                                                      I have never tried michael's pizza (I'l have to now) but Michael's has the absolute best chicken parm, and its a complete hole in the wall, so you would not expect, but it could be the best chicken parm I've had.

                                                    2. For a great , cheap, greek style pizza - New Haven's in West Chester (plus it's 2 blocks from home). Next, closest to Mack N Mackos w/o the drive . . . Grotto's in Wilmingotn, DE + other locations. My # 1 FAV. but more effort than I often have (between ordering dough & the drive --- Taconellii's). Then Some other place with super huge slices , one a corner, near Graduate Hospital, maybe on South St., not a city girl, (sorry), -- the best, biggest, cheapest awesome slices. Does anyone know the name of that great place?? You don't have to even like it, just a name. THANKX

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: keby

                                                        I'm shocked only 1 person mentioned Michael's in Broad Axe! The pizza is amazing especially for all of you looking for thin crust.