Santucci’s Square Pizza


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I was about to review a high-end restaurant when a friend who lives in Bella Vista told me about Santucci’s Square Pizza, a new pizza restaurant at 10th and Christian streets.

“It’s the best pizza I ever tasted,” he said.

Cousin Myna, who is Cousin Carl’s sister, was attending a conference in Center City and joined us for what turned out to be one of the most pleasant dining out experiences I have had in recent memory.

I called ahead and discovered Santucci’s is a cash-only BYOB equipped with a television so we could watch the Phillies.

Some may consider Santucci’s a bare-bones, no-frills place. There’s an old exposed brick wall with a large blackboard which lists the specials. A large round clock hangs on one wall and there are red awnings outside to protect you from the sun should there be a wait for a table. There’s also a bench if you care to sit. We were comfortable sitting at a highly polished wood table and were greeted by two smiling young women who made us immediately feel at home.

We toted along a white wine from Sardinia that was placed in an ice bucket. Another woman brought us wine glasses and menus.

Santucci’s is famous for its square, thin-crust pizza, but there is so much more on the bill of fare.

I knew we had to sample two salads, a plate of meatballs and spaghetti, a pizza and a sandwich. Each dish we relished was outstanding.

Square, white china plates were placed on the table along with modern styled, stainless flatware and a pile of napkins.

Classic Caesar salad ($7) was prepared with a roasted garlic dressing and crunchy homemade croutons, which were baked or sautéed with olive oil. The romaine was cool and crisp, napped with shavings of Parmesan.

The star of the Granny Smith Apple Salad ($7) was the delicious homemade pickled red onions, which played off well with fresh bibb lettuce leaves, small chunks of imported Gorgonzola, crunchy candied walnuts, small slices of celery and sliced apples tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.

Our server advised us the spaghetti and meatballs ($10) was large enough for three. Indeed it was. The homemade thin spaghetti was topped with four relatively large meatballs, made with a mix of beef, veal and wild boar. They were so outrageously delicious I decided to try to duplicate the recipe. The sauce was obviously lovingly prepared in house and clung to the pasta and meatballs like a happy child holding on to his mother’s skirt.

Pizzas come in several sizes. We ordered the 12-inch medium size made with spinach, cheese and sliced red ripe tomatoes ($11.40). The square pizza, which was baked on a sheet pan, had a thin, crispy crust and immediately brought smiles to our faces after Myna, Edward and I took our first bite. A large stainless-steel spatula arrived with the pie for easy serving.

We packed three slices to-go.

The braised short-rib sandwich served on a soft roll ($9) immediately earned three toques after Edward and I proclaimed the beef so tasty, juicy and tender I doubted any chef could top it. The beef was perfectly seasoned by the way. Never once did any of us ask for salt and pepper. Hand-cut french fries dusted with sea salt came with the sandwich. There is a choice of sweet potato fries if you prefer them.

As we watched the Phillies win, several families arrived with babies and toddlers in tow. The staff immediately doted on the children who were so happy eating at Santucci’s never once did any of them whine or cry.

I did some culinary sleuthing and discovered Santucci’s is run by Alicia Santucci whose grandparents, Philomena and Joseph, began the restaurant chain in 1959. They began in North Philadelphia but now South Philly has, in my opinion, the finest pizza in the area. Santucci’s, which opened nearly two weeks ago, just might become the area’s No. 1 family restaurant.

Three tips of the toque to Santucci’s. SPR

 

 

Santucci’s Square Pizza

901 S. 10th St.

215-825-5304

www.santuccis.com

Contact the South Philly Review at editor@southphillyreview.com.

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Jane Kiefer
Jane Kiefer, a seasoned journalist with a rich background in digital media strategies, leads South Philly Review as its Editor-in-Chief. Originally hailing from Seattle, Jane combines her outsider perspective with a profound respect for South Philly's vibrant community, bringing fresh insights and innovative storytelling to the newspaper.