When you think of Philly-style Tomato Pie, odds are you immediately think South Philly. Or maybe you tie tomato pie to Conshohocken or Trenton or Brooklyn. But believe it or not, one of Philly’s best tomato pies is from right here in East Falls.
East Falls native Tony “Roni” Altomare believes he has the best tomato pie in Philadelphia (and his claims aren’t unfounded, with a couple Philly Hot List nods and a 2008 Best of Philly award). His award-winning recipe has a nice crunchy crust as a bed for a thick helping of “filetto di pomodoro” sauce, plus a sprinkling of parmesan. The iconic Tony Roni’s tomato pie is unique for a few reasons. The filetto di pomodoro sauce is chunky and rich, layered on thick compared to other Philly-style slices. And the crust is crunchier than most, an attribute brought on by cooking the crust by itself before the sauce is added.
Altomare credits his East Falls upbringing in a tight-knit Italian family as the inspiration for his tomato pie.
Recalling his childhood: “When I was a kid, in my house my mom would be up every Sunday morning making her marinara sauce and meatballs and sausage and braciole. So in my house, we never woke up to an alarm clock, we woke up to the smell of fresh garlic and olive oil.”
Those formative years growing up in East Falls taught Altomare the value of a small neighborhood, and it’s a principle he has incorporated into each of his restaurants. With neighborhood values and strong Italian culinary roots, Tony Roni’s Pizza is now up to 7 locations across the Philadelphia area, . While they pride themselves on their tomato pie, Tony Roni's also serve traditional pizza, hoagies, wraps, salads, cheesesteaks and more. And while the jury is still out on whether or not it's this year's "Best of Philly," you can rest assured that it's rooted in a good spot.
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