There is a pizza place on every third corner in South Philly, but most people have their go-to spot that they tend to stick with. Ours is FrancoLuigi’s and whenever I order from anywhere else, I kind of feel like I’m cheating on it. But, last night we tried Santucci’s for the first time, and I may have a new favorite.
Santucci’s is a family-run business that has been around since 1959. There are five locations in the Northeast, and the first South Philadelphia location (which is BYOB and cash only) opened last summer in the Italian Market area. It specializes in square pizza, but the menu also features a variety of flatbreads, strombolis, hot and cold sandwiches, pasta dishes and salads.
When we arrived at around 8 p.m., all of the 30 or so seats in the restaurants were taken. The waitress told us we would have about a 15 minute wait for a table, but we probably waited closer to a half and hour. Once we were seated, the service was a little rocky at first—for example, there was some confusion over which staff member was assigned to our table, and it took awhile to get utensils and water. But, as the crowds thinned out throughout our visit, things went a bit more smoothly and our server was attentive and friendly.
While we waited for our pizza, we shared the antipasti, which included a generous helping of Italian meats, cheese, and veggies. I was a fan of the inclusion of arugula and pickled onions. I haven’t really seen these on an antipasti platter, but they are two of my favorite things, so I was pretty happy.
Our sausage, onion, and mushroom pizza arrived shortly after our appetizer plates were cleared. I judge a pizza by its crust, and Santucci’s was perfect—not so thin that the slices were difficult to hold, but not thick and doughy either (which is why I don’t usually prefer Sicilian style pizzas). Santucci’s preparation is also unique in that the cheese is at the bottom, the slightly sweet and peppery sauce on top, and the toppings distributed throughout the middle. This ensures that you get a bit of everything in each bite and keeps the toppings from sliding off.
Although Santucci’s offers take-out and delivery service, I think that its style of pizza is probably best enjoyed on the spot because the crust did lose some of its nice crispy texture as it sat out (plus, I have read a few reviews that indicate that delivery is unreliable and slow). Nevertheless, we are still enjoying the leftovers today, and I’m looking forward to returning to try out some more of the items on the menu.