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Why Philadelphians Love Tomato Pie | Legendary Eats


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.

Randall Smitham

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Fi fo Posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    So square pizza with no melted cheese and tomato sauce

    Reply
  2. M Amadeus Posted on February 25, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Focaccia with tomato sauce and parm.

    Reply
  3. hello there Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    check out roma pizza hamilton ontario
    .same thins also a staple

    Reply
  4. alex ojideagu Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    When are Americans going to learn what a Pie is? Pizza and Flat breads are NOT pies.

    Reply
  5. Boo Bella Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    1:28 What's the point in saying the pie is 'almost void of dairy'… it either is or it isn't.

    Reply
  6. stan Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    looks like something i'd make at 2am after a night of drinking

    Reply
  7. Lunch Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    “It’s almost devoid of dairy”
    Almost?!?
    *Person allergic to dairy dies

    Reply
  8. reallyellie Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Nah. Keep it.

    Reply
  9. More bounce Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Not true like what people from philly you talking to

    Reply
  10. Mitch Stringfellow Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    It's a pizza without cheese…Would be better with cheese!!!

    Reply
  11. Samuel Giles Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    The funny thing is, I checked out their website (and socials) and this so called 'tomato pie' very much referred to as PIZZA.

    Reply
  12. Shannon Helterbridle Posted on February 25, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    It's just tomato sauce on bread. How is that special? Give me a break lol

    Reply
  13. Elif W. Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Amerikalılar salçalı ekmeği keşfediyor

    Reply
  14. zedword82 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Where's the cheese?

    Reply
  15. Kim Zastrow Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    I dont know anybody who does that….oh no….

    Reply
  16. ThatGuyCarmine Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    It’s fuckin pizza without cheese

    Reply
  17. Claudia mariani Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    This is almost like the pizza focaccia or (called schiacciata in livorno) with tomato sauce on top. Difference is that the tomato sauce is dried out which allows it to soak into the bread , which really enhances the flavor . It’s not necessarily a “pizza” but more of a focaccia bread.

    Reply
  18. Ivan Posted on February 25, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    White people hold this L lol.

    Reply
  19. Heather C Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Go to new haven. That looks nasty and flavorless

    Reply
  20. g sierra91 Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Tomato pie is awesome! It’s a bit different than ‘just pizza and sauce without the toppings.’ You just gotta try it

    Reply
  21. Andrew Ruggiero Posted on February 25, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Soo its a pizza strip……. RI terms hahaha

    Reply
  22. Don’t Tread On me Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    I thought the title said “Philippines” 😂

    Reply
  23. Jennifer Bates Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:36 pm

    I live in Rhode Island and we call this party pizza, we usually get it at Depetrillos. It's very yummy

    Reply
  24. Deckardd Wizardd Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    This is literally a pizza. What the heck is special?

    Only Phillies would say it's not pizza but pizza in Italian literally mean pie what the heck

    Reply
  25. Rachshawn Daniels Posted on February 25, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    as a philly native, tomato pie is no where near as popular as this video makes you think

    Reply
  26. MsMrapplepie Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    This is just bread sticks with marinara sauce already on it. If you don’t get that weak shit out of here 😤

    Reply
  27. To Be Honest Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    doesn't get any better than this!

    UH…IT DOES !
    ever heard of a pizza

    Reply
  28. Shaun Wicker Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    With slightly more work you can have Pizza damnorons. No cheese or meat ? Half asses bullshit. Guess flavor isn't needed.

    Reply
  29. To Be Honest Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    red shirt boy is the only thing worth paying attention to in this stupid video 0:46

    next !

    Reply
  30. RussianKirby99 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:12 am

    Why did i think the thumbnail was an unfinished pizza

    Reply
  31. J.P. MOTORSPORTS Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:21 am

    I’m Canadian, and this type of pizza can be found in any Italian bakery in the city where I’m from (Montreal).

    Reply
  32. Candy Corn Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:25 am

    achievement unlocked pizza

    Reply
  33. Andrew W Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Why don’t they just add a normal amount of cheese and make it legit

    Reply
  34. W THOR Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:35 am

    It’s actually Sicilian Pizza. My grandmother is off the boat.

    Reply
  35. مطبخ ملك Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:59 am

    😋😋😋😋👌👌👌👍👍👍👍👍⁦♥️⁩💙💜🍉🍎🍑🥥🍇💐💐💐💐💐💜💙💙⁦♥️⁩⁦♥️⁩⁦♥️⁩

    Reply
  36. Re Winford Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:11 am

    So like breadsticks and marinara sauce? Oh ok

    Reply
  37. riddler Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:19 am

    I'm game but still that's pizza for people that grew up poor and like a trip down memory lane. My Pops grew up eating ketchup on pie crust – that's all they could afford. "Pizza"

    Reply
  38. Adrian Stanciu Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:21 am

    Diet pizza!

    Reply
  39. V Sage Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:26 am

    Its like 🍕 pizza?

    Reply
  40. Martin Montes Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:37 am

    Its wonder beard with ketchup foh

    Reply
  41. society's Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:42 am

    It's a staple. Doesn't get better than this 💀

    Reply
  42. john probst Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:49 am

    this would be nice with country gravy, i think i will make that my regional thing .

    Reply
  43. an account Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:49 am

    pizza without cheese

    Reply
  44. 10,000 Subs With No Videos Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:53 am

    City bois buy pizza. Philadelphians make do.

    Reply
  45. Marquise Allen Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:08 am

    I’m from philly and we DO NOT eat this SHIT‼️. Secondly, WTF IS THIS SHIT?🤔🤷🏾‍♂️

    Reply
  46. o0JaeAllDay0o Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:23 am

    That looks disgusting

    Reply
  47. Ana Marie Vivero Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:40 am

    Not American here doing this style for many years!!!
    One thing different is we don’t have that kind of large bread!
    We do using the slice bread and the leftover spaghetti sauce!! lol

    We called it “ toasted bread with spaghetti sauce “!
    It’s yummy 😋!!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Watching from Japan 🇯🇵!!!

    Reply
  48. theburners32141 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:49 am

    Tomato pie? You mean pizza without cheese.

    Reply
  49. Informative purposes only Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:56 am

    it’s bomb that’s why

    Reply
  50. ello dood Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:33 am

    No cheese pizza?

    Reply
  51. Jazzy Jaz Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:36 am

    That looks AMAZING!!!

    Reply
  52. Black Pill Yellow Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:45 am

    Looks good 👍

    Reply
  53. JabTrill Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:45 am

    It’s just Sicilian pizza without cheese…

    Reply
  54. appletater Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:46 am

    1) Is that a pizza with no sauce?
    2) The Philly Cheese Steak is philly's signature dish!

    Reply
  55. Exxxtrasauce Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:05 am

    I like my tomatoe pie with cheese

    Reply
  56. Moneythedon Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:13 am

    https://youtu.be/NW3GIpz-3bI

    Reply
  57. TanPOTGS Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:17 am

    I wanted to punch that guy with the glasses when he had the nerve to say, "iT's ToTaLlY dIfFeReNt!"

    Reply
  58. Jose H. Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:22 am

    I feel like I would like this, I’m that weirdo who will sometimes picks at my pizza until I’m just eating the bread and sauce lol

    Reply
  59. Dj Sickbeatz Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:27 am

    Lol it’s like a shitty Chicago style pizza

    Reply
  60. Jiaciel Lee Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:40 am

    It's really plain and looks like pizza with no toppings. Lame af. Americans are really a different kind of breed. 🤮

    Reply
  61. Seven Things Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:04 am

    They forgot to add the cheese

    Reply
  62. Froot Luips Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:14 am

    2:00 I spy a Pizza box 👀

    Reply
  63. Froot Luips Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:14 am

    2:00 I spy a Pizza box 👀

    Reply
  64. Shon Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:45 am

    so it's pizza on bread got it

    Reply
  65. AniAroSonNan Mkpz Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:58 am

    That would go good with a philly cheese steak from new zealand

    Reply
  66. Zina Djebari Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:26 am

    *laughs in Algerian Pizza carré*

    Reply
  67. Cory Walker Posted on February 26, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Sooooooo … Pizza 🍕

    Reply
  68. W.G Phil Posted on February 26, 2020 at 10:29 am

    So it's untopped pizza but with extra steps?

    Reply
  69. donkey ass reviews and do's Posted on February 26, 2020 at 11:31 am

    That ain't a pie, villies pies are the best Hungarian goulash, potato, curry pie, you bloody beauty add some dead horse, and you have a dogs eye, with dead horse

    Reply
  70. MAMA Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Yeah ! I love ketchup on bread…..

    Reply
  71. Brian Wong Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Lmao that shit will not sell in NY…

    Reply
  72. Square Hammer Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    It's called pizza with no cheese

    Reply
  73. MaKos2004 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Its bread with tomato sauce, nothing special about it

    Reply
  74. Nick Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    That bread is as thick as a biscuit.

    Reply
  75. Chill Gamer Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Its just cheeseless pizza

    Reply
  76. Carole Nash Posted on February 26, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    reminds me off the pizza we got in elementary school in the 60's in Ct.

    Reply
  77. LagiNaLangAko23 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    So…. Pizza without the toppings?

    Reply
  78. Vincent Lee Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Add some pepperoni and it is just pizza

    Reply
  79. Eddie Gooden Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    This is lazy AF personified. Gross. This is the kinda bullshit some twelve year old kid makes the first time he gets stoned.

    Reply
  80. YON WORLD Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    It’s just a lazy pizza.

    Reply
  81. *• pastel clouds •* Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Us Philadelphians are crazy about it because- it’s so good! It’s very different than pizza. Try it and you’ll like it!

    Reply
  82. Pepsi Is Better Than Coke Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Excuse me why Philadelphians love tomato what

    Reply
  83. Chaise LaBrie Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    How is this totally different from a pizza. It's missing mozzarella that's it lol 😂 it's basically a deep dish

    Reply
  84. jadetiger88888 Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    How strange

    Reply
  85. Queen of Narnia Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Is there a TOMATO PIE?!

    Reply
  86. Patrick Rapan Posted on February 26, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Heartburn on Bread

    Reply
  87. Madison Maturo Posted on February 26, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Throw the whole city away

    Reply
  88. Johan Ahlén Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    So it's pizza?

    Reply
  89. If You Know, You Know. Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Get that damn cheeseless pizza away from me

    Reply
  90. John Natuzzi Posted on February 26, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    I’m a cheese lover and hate tomatos. But I grew up outside philly and I love tomado pie. Ha! Weird right 😂

    Reply
  91. Shawn Morris Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Cashier: What would you like sir?
    Me: One tomato pie please.
    Cashier: Anything else?
    Me: Yea, can you add mozzarella cheese and pepperoni to the pie.
    Cashier: ……?
    Me: Yes

    Reply
  92. Dominic Jace Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Looks like trash I'll stick to new haven pizza

    Reply
  93. locafly Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    First of all, I’m originally from Philly and I have never heard of this however, I do love a pizza that’s just like this, but it just has the marinara on top but there is the mozzarella on bottom, called grandma’s style

    Reply
  94. Lauren Berg Posted on February 26, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    It looks really good

    Reply
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