Today’s review is on Santucci Brothers Square Pizza. Santucci Brothers is something similar to a franchise as they are very big in the north part of Philly and there are many locations. Today’s review will be of the Santucci’s located in Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA, 19128 (3862-64 Terrace Street).
A review of Santucci’s pizza requires some history. Santucci pizza was started in 1959 by Joseph and Philomena Santucci. The Santucci story is best told by them so I have provided a little excerpt from their website here for your convenience.
As the post war era in America produced a dramatic increase in population,
demand for these time-tested neighborhood specialty foods also increased to the
point where it became impossible to prepare enough tomato sauce to keep up with
the volume. In California, tomato producers addressed this need by preparing a
canned sauce made of the most premium fresh tomatoes (not from concentrate) and leaving the seasoning to the discretion of the local pizzerias.
It was these very circumstances that gave the Santuccis their most famous
creation: Santucci Square Pizza. By increasing the size of the baking pan to a
full 12 x 18 inches, Joe and Philomena were on their way to a taste sensation.
Next, they combined the most superior seasonings to produce their famous
Santucci sauce. Instead of placing in underneath the layer of grated cheese like
most other pizzerias they took the finest 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese,
sliced it and placed it directly on the dough and placed the sauce on top. Then,
to remove any acidity in the sauce and to melt the cheese they raised the oven
temperature from the standard 300 degrees to 550 degrees. The result? A
revolutionary product that began to make history.
The "Old World Quality" of Santucci Square Pizza is evident in every
pizza produced. Since 1959, the Santuccis have produced superior quality and
service. With state of the art equipment and streamlined procedures, what used
to take fifteen minutes to produce the original Square Pizza now takes less than
seven minutes. Store layout and design has been improved so that overall
production is done with higher efficiency and store cleanliness exceeds the most
difficult standards. With superior customer service techniques and an aggressive
marketing program, the Santucci system is one that its competitors could only
The key to this success story is a direct result of a growing family
that began with Joe and Philomena, who have all devoted their entire life-long
energies to be the best. The legacy of Santucci Square Pizza has become the
standard bearer of quality. Try a Santucci Square Pizza for yourself. Since
1959, Always in Good Taste!
The two original Santucci pizzeria’s are located at 4010 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19135 and 1701 Welsh Road, Philadelphia, PA 19115. Today the Santuccis rent out their last name for other pizza shops who want in on the great pizza recipe. The original owner’s son Joseph Jr. now has taken over the business and has his own place called Joe Santucci’s Original Square Pizza Bar and Grill located at the Knight’s Road Shopping Center, 4050 Woodhaven Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154.
I like Santucci’s pizza regardless of the locations for a few reasons. First, they put their sauce on top of the cheese for every pizza style and toppings. This goes against the traditional American style pizza and is more in the tradition of the original Italian style. Second, Santucci’s pizzas are all square pizzas, which make them very unique. Most pizza places in Philly make only round pizzas unless they also offer Sicilian pizza. Santucci makes square pizza but not in a Sicilian style. That is, the crust is not as thick as what we traditionally think of as Sicilian pizza.
Santucci Brother Square Pizza in Manayunk is a nice place. This area of Philly is known to have many young professionals and college students so it is more of a party scene. Santucci Brothers have addressed their niche by making their place a B.Y.O.B. and allowing customers to bring their own beer. They are also open until 2:30 on Friday nights. The place looks very clean inside and well taken care of. It is a nice place to sit inside and relax with a group of friends. Santucci’s is located only a few blocks from Main Street, the most trafficked street of this neighborhood. They are on a quite block and have a decent amount of parking.
I ordered a small personal Margherita pizza. The crust is average thickness and I was able to get 4 slices out of one pie. The crust was nice and crispy along the edges. It was not blackened like New York style but it was still tasty. The melted mozzarella cheese was spread evenly with the sauce. The sauce was very sweet and tangy and worked well with this pie. The basil was spread around evenly but was chopped in very small pieces.
The price was very reasonable for a small pizza at about $8. After adding the soda and a few more items, I easily passed the $12 mark that qualified me for the $2 off coupon.
Overall, I really like Santucci Brothers pizza. The only part that I didn’t like was the way the basil was arranged on the pie. I think that they should have used whole fresh basil and properly organized it (maybe one or two leaves per pizza slice). The way that they left the basil on top was not appealing for a Margherita pizza.
Although Santucci Brothers may not meet the standards of many New York pizza critics, I still vote it one of Philadelphia’s best pizzas because it is unique; it has deep Philly pizza history, overall good pizza, and cleanliness. All of their pizzas are fresh and each Santucci pizzeria must abide by certain rules (like a franchise) in order to be considered part of the club. Santucci Brothers also had very friendly staff that went the extra mile. These are all qualities of a best Philly pizza!