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Iannelli’s tomato pie going national

Photo by Mike Prince

Iannelli’s Brick Oven Bakery on East Passyunk Avenue is adding a new wrinkle to the way it has done business for more than a century.

The famous South Philly tomato pie and gravy shop will now offer its tasty products online and has begun shipping nationwide. Now, fans of the famous 18-by-24-inch “gravy pies” can have their favorite items delivered, even if they are no longer in the Philadelphia area.

Third-generation owner Vincent Iannelli said he is excited to ship his special recipes around the country.

“It all starts with the gravy,” said Vincent, who grew up in the Italian Market working between his grandfather’s businesses: Claudio Specialty Foods and Iannelli’s Brick Oven Bakery. “It’s all about quality and not quantity, and I make everything myself. I’m excited to ship these products nationwide, because tomato pie is a classic item that so many people love, but you can’t get an authentic tomato pie just anywhere.”

The tomato pie’s origin dates to 1905 in New York before migrating to Philadelphia five years later. Iannelli’s was one of the first in the area to begin serving tomato pies to hungry South Philly customers. They’ve been in business at 1155 E. Passyunk Ave. since 1910. Vincent said he starts with the same dough he uses for his stromboli, with a crust that tastes like homemade bread, curled up at the edges to keep the dense gravy pooled in the middle.

Iannelli’s is open for walk-in operations only 15 days a year during the fall and spring, but customers are now able to order online as long as there is inventory in stock. Vincent said he plans on shipping 150 pies a month.

“That’s just how it is,” Vincent said.

Perishable items will be shipped Mondays and Tuesdays, with a freezer pack in a box with insulated containers. Iannelli’s will include heating and serving instructions while also making video instructions available. There will also be a bundle pack option that comes with a seasoned pan, dough and gravy.

The first phase of nationwide shipping will include tomato pie and gravy. Eventually, pizza kits and cookie kits will follow. Currently, Iannelli’s offers Crab Gravy, Diablo Crab Gravy, Grandma’s Gravy and Diablo Gravy.

For more information, visit http://iannellibakery.com.

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