A Pizza My Heart?

Franzone’s makes a play for the Pizza Ninja’s affection.  

Hello pizza fanatics and welcome to the February 2018 Valentine’s Day edition of the East Falls Pizza Review. Will this month’s pizza be love at first bite? Read on to find out.

This time, the Ninja tried pizza from a shop that got its start over 60 years ago in Bridgeport, but now has a location in Manayunk, right off of Main street — Franzone’s Manayunk at 114 Levering Street.

As the hardworking staff at East Falls Local is currently tallying up votes from last month’s column at the time this review goes to print, the Ninja is sticking to the old format for the time being:

  1. Restaurants in East Falls that offer pizza but DO NOT offer delivery

OR

  1. Pizza shops outside of East Falls that DO deliver to 19129.

The Ordering Experience – 1.5 out of 5

You won’t find Franzone’s on Grubhub or any other food delivery service, but it’s worth seeking out through traditional methods. Franzone’s offers phone orders with delivery to East Falls, as well as online ordering directly via their website. The Ninja placed his order at 6:45pm for an XL sized pizza. Faithful Ninja readers will recall that when possible, order the biggest pizza offered. Also, this was a special occasion as mother Ninja and younger sister Ninja were visiting from out of town.

Unfortunately, this is where things went left. A delivery time of 45 minutes was initially quoted which is on the higher end for pizza delivery. The Ninja assured his family that the pizza would probably arrive earlier as delivery normally does in the EF area. But by 7:30, the Ninja was anxiously peering out the front door looking for any sign of a pizza delivery. The Ninja’s high school-aged sister looked over and shook her head in silent disapproval between periods of texting on her cellphone. The pizza finally arrived at 7:48pm, OVER an hour later and more than 15 minutes late. At this point, the pizza was closer to cold than lukewarm, and definitely not piping hot.

The Ninja is awarding a 1.5 score because at least the delivery driver was polite and apologetic, but did not offer up any explanation for the delay:

The Pizza Experience:

Presentation: 3.75 out of 5

This is a generic box. Nothing really of note here, but it is clean, no grease stains, etc. But ‘Oven Fresh’? Really? The pizza is cold! Let’s take a look under the hood:

Uh oh, what is this? The Ninja ordered a plain cheese pizza and this looks like….some sort of pizza-themed hypnotic spinning wheel:

Sauce…on top? After a quick confirmation phone call with Franzone’s, this is in fact how they serve a “plain” cheese pizza. Some call this boardwalk style. More disapproving glares from the Ninjas younger sister as she shook her head and started to audibly question to everyone with-in earshot if the Ninja really is some kind of authority on pizza.

But with that being said, look at this pizza. It’s quite beautiful. Rich, red sauce intermixed with golden brown melted cheese. You know exactly what you’re getting into because it’s all laid out for you. It’s cooked appropriately underneath as well.

Let’s take a taste:

Cheese – 5 out of 5

This cheese hits all the notes. Rich, creamy, hints of salt. If the pizza was hot, I’d say it probably melts in your mouth. But really, an exceptionally tasty cheese.

Sauce – 5 out of 5

A ‘Best of Philly’ winner in 2013 for ‘Best Sauce’ as well as a Montco Best Pizza award recipient, once you taste this sauce, you’ll understand why it’s displayed so prominently on the pizza and not hidden beneath the cheese. It instantly hits the roof of your mouth with a burst of flavor. This is a hearty sauce that takes the commanding role in the pizza construction. It tastes like fresh vine-ripe tomatoes and is very sweet.

Crust – 4.5 out of 5

The crust here is thin. Very, very thin. Quite possibly, the thinnest crust the Ninja has reviewed for a non-thin crust pizza, beating out the previously thinnest crust from Apollo’s. For its purposes, the crust plays a background supporting role to the sauce and cheese. While tasty, it’s mostly an afterthought due to the strong flavors of the sauce.

Conclusion – 4 out of 5

As a cold pizza, this was amazing. The Ninja has even higher hopes for a proper hot version delivered on time. The Ninja would definitely take this pizza on a second or third date.

And now your Valentine’s Day Pizza Moment of Zen:

http://time.com/4300882/pizza-kiss-cam/

 

 

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