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  • Taryn Varricchio: If you're visiting Philly

  • for the first time, this rectangular loaf of bread

  • dressed in red tomato sauce

  • might not be at the top of your food bucket list,

  • but locals will tell you it's a must-try.

  • This is tomato pie, and it's one of the city's

  • oldest and most favorite dishes.

  • Customer: It's a legend. Staple.

  • Doesn't get any better than this.

  • Taryn: We're in South Philly today,

  • which is basically like

  • the Italian neighborhood of Philadelphia,

  • and we're heading to Sarcone's Bakery

  • to try tomato pie.

  • I have never heard of it because

  • I'm not from this area, so we wanna know,

  • why are Philadelphians so into tomato pie?

  • Let's go find out.

  • Tomato pie has been a beloved piece

  • of Philly's culinary scene for decades.

  • It starts with a thick bottom layer of bread dough

  • molded into a rectangular shape.

  • At Sarcone's, the pie is partially baked

  • in a massive, decades-old brick oven

  • until lightly crisped.

  • Current owner Lou and his father, Luigi,

  • use a 15-foot peel to pull it out

  • before spreading on heavy helpings

  • of the family's original tomato sauce,

  • what they call "gravy" at the shop.

  • Once the gravy is spread evenly,

  • the pie heads back into the oven

  • for several minutes more,

  • ensuring the crust cooks all the way through

  • and turns a golden brown.

  • It becomes firm on the bottom

  • with a soft, fluffy texture on top

  • that absorbs each bite of savory gravy.

  • Customer: Been eating it since I was a little kid.

  • By far, this is my favorite tomato pie.

  • It's got good gravy on basically a loaf of bread.

  • Taryn: Lou sprinkles a handful of Parmesan cheese,

  • but the pie is otherwise void of dairy.

  • From just one look, this red sea of sauce

  • is the most notable feature of the dish

  • and what makes it distinctly not pizza.

  • Customer: Whenever I tell people about it,

  • they're always confused, and they just go,

  • "Is that pizza?"

  • And it's not pizza. You know, it's totally different.

  • So, I think it is something

  • regional and special for here.

  • Taryn: Thick square slices are set

  • at the front of the store,

  • where they're wrapped in wax paper

  • and often served at room temperature.

  • Some customers grab a slice on the go,

  • while others pick up whole pies

  • to bring back to the office.

  • Customer: I started eating it really young.

  • I think it is special for here,

  • you know what I mean?

  • So when I have a chance to share that

  • with other people that maybe aren't from around here,

  • I think it's a really cool treat to bring them.

  • Taryn: The same goes for Jimmy Rubino,

  • who owns the oldest Italian restaurant

  • in Philly, right next door.

  • Jimmy Rubino: My grandmother made her own dough,

  • and she made her own tomato pie,

  • Friday's usually 'cause we didn't eat meat.

  • Yeah, grew up on it.

  • Love it.

  • Taryn: I'm eating this room temperature right now,

  • and so it more of less

  • reminds me of an appetizer,

  • like focaccia with sauce on top,

  • and so, like, I can imagine eating this before a meal,

  • before I had pasta for dinner, or picking this up.

  • And, like, people were telling us

  • this is a grab-and-go snack for them.

  • Tomato pie is a century-old tradition

  • started by Italian immigrants

  • who settled in South Philly

  • and began working at bakeries in the early 1900s.

  • At the end of the day, they would turn

  • any leftover bread into tomato pie.

  • Louis Sarcone III: What bakers used to do back then,

  • whenever they had leftover dough,

  • they would just,

  • instead of having it go to waste,

  • they would make pizza shells out of it.

  • So, it's

  • a little bit different than a normal pizza,

  • 'cause the dough is not a pizza dough.

  • It's a bread dough.

  • Taryn: It has much more of a bread-like texture.

  • It's not pizza dough, as Lou was telling us,

  • and so it's very airy

  • and kind of light.

  • So you're biting into it,

  • it's like biting into a cloud

  • rather than biting into, like, dense crust of a pizza.

  • Customer: Brings me back to when I was a kid.

  • It's an Italian tradition.

Taryn Varricchio: If you're visiting Philly

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Why Philadelphians Love Tomato Pie | Legendary Eats

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/25
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