Great new spot for pizza freaks in nearby Germantown. Two styles of amazing pies, and a variety of slices. Stanton Street’s Gary Chlapaty’s review, plus the results of our taste-test.
The saying goes that “even bad pizza is good,” but truly sublime pizza can be life-changing. For most aficionados, pizza nirvana is all about the crust: golden-brown all over, with a crispy-chewy texture.
Neighborhood pizzerias like Tacconelli‘s in Port Richmond and Fishtown’s “Beddia” serve a devoted following who think nothing of reserving dough a full day ahead of time, or waiting patiently in line to order their favorite pie. Now, our area has its own pizza mecca, a casual-upscale Germantown joint by the guys who brought us Falls Taproom.
We first got the scoop from Stanton Street resident Gary Chlapaty, who posted a “heads up” on NextDoor (East Falls):
Finally had a chance last night to check out Pizzeria Nonna. While technically not in East Falls, it’s a short 6-8 minute drive up Queen Lane or Midvale. I eat a lot of pizza in the neighborhood, I’ve tried them all, and I have to say that this new place blows them all away… Definitely recommend checking it out. It was a packed house when I was there for dinner last night.
Of course we had to try for ourselves! According to the comments on Gary’s review, Nonna’s delivers to East Falls (?!) but when we tried calling during listed business hours (Sunday around 6pm), our calls went to voice mail. We tried again the next day, with similar results.
WTF? Did the place close already or something?
Turns out, quite the opposite: Pizzaria Nonna‘s has made such a name, so quickly, the restaurant sometimes has difficulty keeping up with demand. Some days, they run out of dough before the first shift is over.
Seriously? It’s THAT good? Apparently, yes — hand-tossed, thin-crust pies to rival NYC. And Nonna’s also offers a special square pizza (similar to Old Forge-style but peculiar to Hazelton, PA) called “pitz” that’s apparently crazy-good, too — thinner than Sicilian, with a caramelized bottom. Traditionally eaten cold but Nonna’s riff is its own unique style, delicious at any temperature.
Unfortunately, when we finally managed to get through to the place, they were only offering their traditional pizzas so I cannot say whether this so-called “fried pizza” is as delicious as reviewers claim. And I may never try it, because Nonna’s classic round pie is so perfect I doubt I will ever stray.
Since we were in a sampling mood, we ordered two pizzas thinking we’d have enough for two meals and like a snack. Rookie mistake! Nonna’s pies are huuuuuuuge, and come in fixed sizes. One will easily feed four adult humans (three teenagers). The amount we ordered would’ve lasted all week if we hadn’t given up after three days.
We tried two specialty pizzas from what seemed like opposite flavor profiles: a traditional red-sauced pizza with sausage & sweet fresh peppers, and a white one with figs, prosciutto and a startling amount of raw arugula that I failed to notice in the menu description.
Frankly, I’m a bit of a food wimp and when I opened the box I was kinda like, “Uh oh…” I guess I’d imagined the arugula as a garnish, more? And here was this heaping mound of it, hardly even wilted. And I really don’t like arugula. Oh dear.
But now big hand for the chef who balanced this concoction, cause it was so fresh and delicious, just wow. Loved the salty-sweet thing with the ham, cheese, & dried figs, and dammit every leaf of that peppery, balsamic-y arugula worked to marry it all together. Still not a fan of bitter greens by themselves but can totally see their purpose, here. A new favorite way to get my veggies!
Moving on, can’t think of any way to improve on Nonna’s homemade sausage & pepper pizza. Maybe thin-sliced sausage, rather than thick, meaty chunks? I dunno, that’s a way personal call. It’d be an interesting option, at least, to offer both ways. Like they do with the two kinds of tomato sauce (which we have yet to compare).
Homemade seasoned meat fans, Nonna’s also does a similar meatball pizza with sweet peppers and parmesean instead of romano cheese. For next time. Probably with extra mozz. And a long nap afterwards.
We’ll also have to try their other menu items, particularly their pastas & specialty salads could be great hot-weather meal options. Sandwiches, too, often with an upscale twist (ribeye cheesesteak, anyone?).
We’re also flagging this place for a good, quick, local lunch: their pizza slices might not photograph all that well but in person they inspire drooling and lunch-envy.
Pizzaria Nonna sets a new bar for local pies: Neighborhood pizza shop prices & ambiance, but with a gourmet menu and fresh ingredients you’d find at a high-end restaurant like In Riva.
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