Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Celebre’s Pizza Restaurant Review

Celebre’s Philadelphia Pizza Restaurant Review

Celebre’s pizza restaurant is located at 1536 Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia, PA, 19145. Established in 1948, Celebre’s pizza is an extremely popular Philly pizzeria full of tradition and history.

A place like Celebre’s needs to be reviewed on Best Philadelphia Pizza Blog for many reasons including: popularity amongst locals, 61 years of selling pizza in Philadelphia, their signature pizzas, etc. I like Celebre’s pizza restaurant for several reasons. First, they serve alcohol. You can eat your pizza and wash it down with a nice cold beer. Pizza and beer are amongst the world’s best food combinations. There aren’t many pizza places in Philadelphia that have a liquor license. For example, Santucci Brothers Square Pizza was a treat because you can bring your own beer as many pizzerias don’t even allow this. But when beer is served in the same facility as your pizza…that is a good start.

I also like Celebre’s pizza restaurant because of its atmosphere. Celebre’s is an old style Italian pizza place that has made it through an era when people didn’t eat out. If they could be successful in the fifty then they are true survivors. The people who work there and own the place have deep South Philly Italian roots. These roots are reflected in the pizza recipe that they use as it has probably been passed down for generations.

I also like Celebre’s for their pizza. I do want to make a disclaimer for all New York pizza critics. Philly is a world of its own in America, just like New Orleans is different than the rest of the South (they call it a Banana Republic). Specifically, this conversation applies to South Philly. The terminology that may be common in the rest of the world for various pizzas types are not commonly used here. It doesn’t mean that the pizza is bad or that the pizza chefs in this neck of the woods don’t know pizza…it means that they know it the way their region of Philly knows it. What am I talking about? For example, Celebre’s, amongst many other local Philly pizzerias, doesn’t make a Margherita pizza and if you asked them for it (as a New Yorker would) you may be reciprocated with a dirty look. This doesn’t mean that Philly pizzerias don’t know pizza it is just that they are used to it their way and if you know the Philly attitude you will understand that this is good enough for them.

Celebre’s sells a pizza called the “Old Way” pizza. Fancy New York pizzerias would translate this pizza to a marinara pizza. There is mainly tomato sauce placed on top of a small amount of cheese. This pizza is phenomenal. I think that I am most impressed with the sauce that they made. Their tomato sauce is very chunky, thick, and spicy, which is my favorite style of Italian tomato sauce. A sauce without flavor is not sauce at all it is just tomato in a liquid form. Celebre’s uses a good amount of their sauce on top. The cheese was hidden underneath and probably would account for 20% of the pizza ingredients. That is the point of this pizza: to create more of a tomato pie the old Italian way. So you see they call it “Old Way” and modern food critics would call it marinara. Who is right and who is wrong? This is just a small example of how Philly works – they like to be unique. It doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to cook pizza. Celebre’s have been successful for 61 years so that must be doing something right.

The crust of this pizza was slightly darkened. I think that New Yorker pizza critics may like their crust for this reason. I only tried the Old Way pizza as it was one of their signature pies and more in line with my taste buds. They do serve a pizza called the “Pizzaz” though that they are famous for. Maybe I’ll come back to try that another time.

The total cost for a 16 inch pie was around $10, which is worth the money. Celebre’s is a good time and a place where you can experience a real local South Philadelphian Italian style old fashioned pizzeria. They use high quality pizza ovens in the back and have a very fun, energetic, and friendly staff. Celebre’s gets a green light vote in my book for Best Philadelphia Pizza!

Celebre's on Urbanspoon


  1. hi blogger ! another landmark review - did you know that even though pizza means "pie" in italian - it is still not a pie - it is an open faced sandwich - the reason: it is made with bread dough with yeast to leaven it and contains very little oil - on the other hand - pie crust should be 50 % oil and no yeast - it is "un-leavened" - if you made it this way it would be more like a "quiche" - when i lived in hawaii - waikiki i got pizza delivered from "mcgoo's" - they had among their selection a "pineapple" topped pie - for me a big turn-off - like putting pastrami on a birthday cake - i visited a girl-friend on kibbutz sde-elyau near beth-sean in israel - out near the jordanian border - there were roman ruins in the area - at an outdoor stand i had pizza with steak chunks on top - i get the feeling you are not italian ? - don't mean to be nosey - i've never heard you rate "italian sausage" sandwiches with peppers and fried onions - street stands have them at the festival of san gennaro on mulberry st about this time of year ...

  2. Toron,

    Another fine comment on our pizza blog. You seem very well traveled and knowledgeable about pizza. Why don’t you email me personally and we’ll discuss you writing for our blogs.
    Also, your stories help confirm that you can find pizza almost anywhere on the planet.
    Your correct that I have not reviewed any sausage sandwiches yet but I have been to San Gennaro festival many times and have eaten those sandwiches. They are incredibly good (but I doubt for your heart). I am focusing my efforts right now on pizza and cheese steaks. Please visit our Best Philly Cheese Steak Blog and read my reviews over there. You may find some reviews that you are looking for. By the way, you can find similar sausage sandwiches throughout the Italian areas of Philly.

  3. ... hi blogger ! does wine go with pizza ? i have a best pal who is italian american - who always drinks chianti with lasagna - it is served at room temperature - but does red wine go with a pizza ? with a cold brewski you get that wonderful contrast in temperatures - but that is fusion cuisine - i went to the cafe domba in the village - a russian woman married a chef from mexico city - they had a buffet of perogies - tacos - kielbasi - enchiladas - i used to bring a big bottle of cold sangria and the lady and her husband would come over to join me and my gal pal - what a party ...

  4. Hey Toron,

    You have the most fascinating stories. Does wine go with pizza? That is a great question. I think it depends on personal preference as well as a person’s mood. As a big wine fan, I can drink wine with almost any meal and at anytime. But with pizza for some reason, I think that beer is a more complementing drink although there may be exceptions.

    For example, I think that what I say is true definitely for American style pizza. On the other hand, if you were to eat real Napoli style pizzas, both marinara and Margherita pizzas, then maybe a glass of red wine will do better. Also, it depends on the topping. Reds go with meats and whites go with seafood. If you had a pepperoni pizza and were to drink wine then red most likely should be you choice. If you were to eat a shrimp or seafood pizza then you may want to consider the white.

    So to answer your question, I think it really depends on many factors, which include, American or Italian style, type of topping choice, your mood, and your preference.

    Toron, by the way your link keeps taking me to YouTube. Do you own YouTube or is your site embedded somewhere there? Ciao!

  5. Hi Toron,
    for some pizza and wine pairing ideas, have a look at


  6. Ooh, I so want to go to Philadelphia and dine at Celebre's. My hubby would surely like drinking beer while chowing down great pizza.

    By the way, does this restaurant get filled fast? Do they have a paging system like handing out coaster sized pagers to their customers waiting for their turn? I've visited a lot of restaurant with those and it's a good thing because we can stroll while waiting for our turn at the restaurant.

  7. I grew up in south west phila in the mid to late 50s. ther was a place on woodland ave. around 51rst or 52sd that had pizza that i stil think about. i think it was called simonas. any thoughts?

  8. The prices for the pizza are very reasonable as well. Great share!

  9. Now I am hungry for some delicious pizza!

  10. Some of my best memories are from my dad and I getting pizza on Friday nights. Whether it was going to an actual pizza restaurant or ordering it, we always got pizza on the weekends. I never got sick of it and to this day never get sick of it. I love pizza so much and I always will have a special place in my heart for it.