Thus far on my recent trip to Philadelphia, I’ve yet to venture into the city proper for pizza purposes. However, this was not unexpected. At the time of my trip, the highly-rated Pizzeria Beddia was still closed and in transition. Otherwise, there was only one other place that had me anxious about leaving the suburbs: Lorenzo and Sons Pizza on South Street. Some seven years ago before the Snob was birthed, my family and I spent an afternoon touring this then hip part of town and Lorenzo’s gigantic mural of a pizza-maker caught my camera’s attention. Of course, I was also no stranger to South Street which used to house a Tower Records store back when buying music meant putting it in a bag.
So, on our final day in the Philly area, I promised Mrs. Pie that my slice at Lorenzo’s on the way to the airport would be a quick one. That was of course before I knew how big the darn thing would be! I have since spoke to a Philly native about the place, and she said that her family called one of their whole pies the “pizza blanket.” After putting my eyes on one, I could see how it could probably keep your legs nice and warm at an Eagles game!
It was the usual grumpy Monday morning for everyone else, but we too were still on our happy holiday when we easily found a parking spot on the narrow South Street for our rental car. It didn’t take long for us both to notice the change in the area. While my memories of our last visit here were along the lines of a pleasant Greenwich Village type area where one could enjoy a leisurely stroll among shops and places to eat and drink, it was now quite dirty and decrepit.
What was also puzzling was that when I looked at my old pictures of South Street, I noticed that the Lorenzo mural had changed! Google revealed that this was the result of a 2012 fire that shut the joint down for a while. Here are both the old and new murals.
Back to the neighborhood, simply stated, there seemed to be a shift to more businesses that you wouldn’t want a young kid to see. We also didn’t feel totally comfortable or safe. It was then somewhat of a relief when we entered Lorenzo’s along with two Philly police officers who were there for an early lunch. What wasn’t a relief though was that they had no bathroom and there was no place to sit. It’s stand and eat at the counter if you are not taking your pizza with you.
I ordered my plain cheese slice at the counter. First puzzled as to why it cost four bucks, when it arrived I was totally gobsmacked since I was then totally unaware that I was about to experience the largest slice of pie that I had ever seen in my entire life. Unfortunately, I would also find that this two-plater of a slice would also be one of the blandest-tasting as well. If it weren’t for the challenge of making my way through the whole humungous thing, I doubt I would have sacrificed all that carb intake. It did help that I was quite hungry, and this monster was sure a meal in itself.
It just really wasn’t good. First off, it was totally un-crisp and soft. It was also not warm at all – in fact, it would lean towards cold on the temperature scale. Lacking in any real taste whatsoever, let’s just call the Lorenzo slice “dull,” and be done with it. I’m being kind with my “3-slice” rating I guess because of the size gimmick and the fact that they were able to super-size it while managing to keep the proportions without overdoing the ingredients.
A few days after I got home, I was surprised to see that the Barstool Pizza guy that does The One Bite Pizza Review was filming at Lorenzo’s on the same day that I was there! Our ratings were somewhat similar when he gave what he called “drunk pizza” a 6.5 out of 10. However, the best part of the video was when at that start, somebody in a strong Philly accent on the street yelled out “It’s horrible!” Unafraid to hold back, maybe they weren’t afraid to give Lorenzo’s slice the most honest assessment.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***Better Than Dominos
Lorenzo and Sons Pizza
305 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147