Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Lorenzo's Pizza, Philadelphia Italian Market

The Italian Market, the famous stretch of 9th Street in South Philadelphia, just celebrated its 100th Anniversary. published a nice article HERE detailing its history and current state.

On a recent warm spring day, we walked the entire stretch - from Pat's & Geno's (tourist cheesesteaks) at Passyunk Avenue on its southern edge to Sarcone's Deli on the northern terminus.

Rocky's famous run through the 1970's Italian Market

In that general area of South Philly, one can find a lot of worthy pizza places. Santucci's (briefly reviewed HERE for its appearance at the South Philly Pizza Olympics), the hipster spot Birra, the old-school red gravy restaurant Marra's, and the widely-known corner shop Lorenzo's Pizza, at 9th and Christian Streets.

I've walked past Lorenzo's on several occasions, with little to indicate that it might be worth a visit. Online reviews are mixed, but I decided that I finally needed to experience this pizza. We stopped in and sampled a plain cheese slice.

The friendly counterman popped a few slices into the oven and they were quickly ready. Perhaps a little too quick, because the pizza was somewhere between warm and hot.  It was a big slice for its modest $2 price.

My expectations, too, were modest. We were delighted, then, to find that this thin-crust pizza had an almost ideal balance of crisped edge bottom and a sturdy chewiness as well. The sauce was sweet and lively, and the standard mozzarella cheese blended into that mottled orange that characterizes most pizza.

A look at the nicely charred undercarriage revealed that this was not a mass-sourced dough, and that there is some skill in the preparation. Great crust, punchy sauce, and cheese as a role player. This was a true throwback slice, and a reminder that at one point many decades ago it was easy to find a genuine slice of good New York style pizza.

Lorenzo's in the Italian Market is a gem of a find, and a grand bargain for a two-buck slice. We're at a stage in the nationwide pizza renaissance that you can find a decent Neapolitan pie in almost any major city, but a good slice remains a rarity, even in New York. Simple, elegant, classic. We loved this pizza.

Lorenzo's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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