The whole time I’ve been on this pizza quest, people have been asking me, “Have you been to Tacconelli’s yet? Have you been to Taconnelli’s yet?” The hype for this place is enormous, and in reading other online reviews, Tacconelli’s always scores high. Then, on top of that, they make you order your dough ahead of time, making dinner an event, not just a meal. So it was with enormous expectations that I entered this unassuming restaurant on 2604 East Somerset with Trivia Art, Mary Anne, and Ginger. Seriously, it was Mary Anne and Ginger. The people I brought along were kind of excited, so there reviews are a little wordy. Let’s start with Triva Art:
Sometimes you worry when things get too hyped. Whether they be thoroughbred horses, pitchers named Cole, or science quizzo, it’s tough to live up to the hype. And that’s the spot Tacconelli’s was in. Could a Port Richmond pizza
spot possibly live up to the pressure placed on it by all the people out there hyping it? Well that was the question Tacconelli’s had to answer. Earlier that day I had been surfing around the Internets and read some playa
hatin reviews of the place. Oh boy, had they slipped, rested on their laurels? There was definitely some trepidation as I walked into the Somerset St storefront shortly after seven last Sunday night. The ambiance didn’t
bolster my confidence. Picture your grade school lunch room with booths. Add to that the silence of a broken jukebox and I thought, uh oh. But then I reconsidered, b/c Goodtimes would only wind up playing some Johnny Cash anyway. Goodtimes thinks it’s a law that every juke box must be played, and Johnny Cash must be among the songs selected. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, grade school gym. Freaking nuns. No wait, oh yeah,Tacconelli’s. We ordered two pies, one white, half sweet peppers, and a regular, half pepperoni, half prosciutto.
The white pie arrived first, topped with ample garlic and olive oil it was a lovely pizza, with a thin crisp crust supporting the toppings. It was a perfect blend, the salt and pepper really bringing out the flavors. It was
going to be a tough pizza to beat. Next arrived the red pie. Pepperoni crisped, just the way I like it. The
pepperoni had a nice spice, the cheese, played the Pippen role to the sauce’s Jordan. Supporting the star, but in no way overpowering it. After the peperoni slice I sampled the prosciutto. The prosciutto, crust, sauce, and cheese combination wowed me. This is what the pizza hunt was about. That perfect bite. And I had found it, in a little
storefront in Port Richmond. Four and a half stars, might even get five if you get your prosciutto pizza to go.
Wow, so Art loved the place. What would Ginger and I think? Read on after the jump..
Here’s GInger’s take: We were greeted by more artificial red carnations than I have ever seen in my life— I was hoping the caliber of the pizza surpassed that of the decor. There was a huge awkward gap in the middle of the floor, no immediate hostess accept for the aforementioned horrid flowers and two random white hats symmetrically strung on the wall. The good news was that it was a byob, and in tradition, we took full advantage. Johnny and I stopped by the one and only (not for long- check out up and coming location at 2nd and popular) Foodery and 10th and Pine. We picked up a good variety ranging from Belgian Delerium Tremens to the Rogue Chocolate Stout for dessert. And for those of you who aren’t in the know, pizza and pints make a great marriage. “Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” -Dave Barry.
We ordered a white pie. Little Garlicky for my taste, but I didn’t anticipate getting any action that night, so I didn’t really care. I am glad we started off with that and moved onto the sauced pizza second. The crust was the best pizza crust in recent memory. And when you research the history of the pie, you learn that perhaps crust is the most important. It was in the 6th Century B.C. At the height of the Persian Empire, “that the soldiers of Darius the Great (521-486B.C.), accustomed to lengthy marches, baked a kind of bread flat upon their shields and then covered it with cheese and dates. ”
I thought the crust was a little greasy, though, but when Art explained to me that it was merely olive oil, and olive oil is good for you, that made it seem okay. The Sauced Pie, was 1/2 pepperoni and 1/2 Proscuitto. The Proscuitto was high quality. And I was very impressed. I was getting a little tuckered at this point after the big field trip to Camden and was kind of ready for the whole night to be over. Just to throw out a little caveat–Being Johnny’s sidekick for a Sunday takes a lot of energy…I leave you with the infamous lyrics of Dean Martin, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.” And despite the lack of ambiance (did I mention the broken juke box?) I did love my Port Richmond pizza experience at Tocanelli’s so I will give it 3 1/2 pepperonis.
Alright, their reviews were a little wordy so I’ll keep mine short and sweet. This was perhaps the worst ambiance of any place I’ve been to yet. It also had the best pizza, perhaps just a smidge better than Tony’s. However, if the world was gonna end tommorrow and I had only one pizza place left to eat at (and it had to be in Philly), I would make it Tony’s, b/c the pizza was so great and I really think the vibe of a place counts for something. Tacconelli’s gets four pepperoni’s, easy, and moves into my second favorite spot to have pizza. In retrospect, I think I may, when the contest is over, upgrade both Taconnelli’s and Tony’s to a 4 and a half, b/c as good as Mama Palma’s was, I don’t think it was on the same level as these two juggernauts, and I don’t think there can really be two grades higher than these two pizza haunts. But for now, I’ll stick with 4.