At the southern end of Philadelphia's East Passyunk corridor—past Capogiro Gelato and Cantina Los Caballitos—you'll find Stogie Joe's, a tavern that opened two years ago, stubbornly holding on to the neighborhood's South Philly Italian roots. It's a nice break from the always-packed bars up the street and serves some of the most unique pizza in the city.
Stogie Joe's serves upside-down pizza, which in Philly means the cheese layer is topped with sauce. The super crispy, square crust, much thinner than Sicilian, is light and crunchy. Covered in mozz and a thin layer of slow-cooked, slightly sweet sauce flecked with herbs, it's on the same sort of comfort-food level as a grandma slice or bakery pizza, but really clean tasting. Even when scattered with fat knobs of sausage, a Stogie Joe's slice is still pretty minimalist and not greasy at all.
Upside-down pizza came to life in Philly in the Fifties at Frank Pica's and Santucci's. The owner of Stogie Joe's is related to the Santucci family by marriage, and uses their recipe for the pie. Purists say it's pretty close to the real thing.
It's great place to watch the game or relax with an ice cold Bud Light Lime with some old timers from the neighborhood. The menu also offers sandwiches and your classic red gravy pasta dishes, but good luck making it past the pizza.
Stogie Joe's Passyunk Tavern
1801 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148 (map) 215-463-3030
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