Daily Slice: Sam's Italian Market, Willow Grove, PA

Daily Slice

A different slice profiled each day.

Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.

[Photographs: Hawk Krall]

If you've been following my posts on Slice you can see I've been on a little bit of a mission to put Philadelphia bakery-style tomato pie on the pizza map. And for me it all goes back to Sam's Italian Market, a bakery and Italian prepared foods spot close to where I grew up outside of Philadelphia.

I pretty much judge every slice of tomato pie in relation to Sam's. It's thicker than a lot of the versions I've had in the city—almost identical to Corropolese in Norristown but not nearly as sweet. This most recent slice definitely lived up to my expectations—soft focaccia-like crust with just the right amount of sauce that soaks into the top 1/8 inch of the dough, finished with a sprinkle of romano cheese, and delicious eaten at room temperature.

But what really blew my mind was this brand new concoction they're calling meatball parm stuffed focaccia. It's sold like tomato pie, by the full, half, or quarter "sheet" but unlike tomato pie is meant to be served hot. A thick layer of Sam's meatballs and tomato sauce is buffered by mozzarella cheese on both sides and sandwiched between two layers of dough.

I threw a couple slabs in the oven in an iron skillet for 15 minutes, and good lord this stuff is incredible. It's pretty good cold, too, but hot out of the oven the top and bottom of the doughs gets nice and crisp while the inside stays soft, think "stuffed tomato pie" or maybe even "meatball sandwich brownies". Incredible.

Sam's Italian Market & Bakery

3504 West Moreland Road, Willow Grove, PA (map) (215) 657-3666 ‎; samsitalianmarket.net

Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.