Iannelli’s Famous Brick Oven Bakery Review
At the southern part of the Italian Market is Iannelli’s Famous Brick Oven Bakery. Established in 1910 (according to their advertisements), Iannelli’s is located at 1155 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19147. They are open every day except Monday. Since their business is a bakery and not a pizzeria they have bakers’ hours. There are open Tuesday to Sunday 8am-6PM and Friday and Saturday Nights until 11PM.
If you have never been to Iannelli’s Famous Brick Oven Bakery then you are truly missing out on a real Philadelphian Italian pizza experience. Iannelli’s is a pick up or delivery place only. There isn’t any room to sit as there is barely any place to order in this tiny shop. In the summer they do have outdoor tables but that won’t help in the winter.
Iannelli’s Famous Brick Oven Bakery is your quintessential Philly Italian pizza bakery. However, this bakery is special because they serve various types of gourmet pizza. After all, who would be more equipped to make pizza than a good Italian bakery? The oven in this place is supposed to hold up to 60 pies. In addition to pizza, they also serve desserts like cannoli’s (fresh), homemade crab gravy, sandwiches, and salads.
But let’s talk about their pizza. The pizza is Sicilian style as this is where the Iannelli’s roots are from. Thus, all of their slices are Sicilian square style. They have a wide variety of pizza but you have to order them in advance so that they can make them fresh for you. If you are looking to show up and buy pizza then you will usually only have their traditional tomato pie to choose from (they are served cold so you will have to ask them to be heated if that is your preference). The slices are $2.25 but are huge square slices (something around 8 by 8 inches). They sell whole and half pies (a tray of square slices), which prices vary for wholes from about $18 to $40.
I ate their traditional Sicilian tomato pie. First, let me say how nice the staff was. She was so kind and gave me a free pizza slice to sample. This kind of treatment is a rarity in a tough city like Philadelphia. They have pictures on the walls of the Iannelli family and the pictures truly do speak of such a kind family. But back to the staff. The woman working there was very polite and kept asking me if I wanted something else (napkin, bag, etc.). She also tried to sell me on her desserts but I will have to take her up on that another time. This place just reminded me of what Old World Philly was like over 50 years ago where the local butcher knew you so well that they knew exactly what you were looking for without opening your mouth. That was old world business: customized and personalized. I think many businesses have seemed to lose this important touch in the modern world. This is a sure quality that keeps the customers coming back.
The tomato pie: the crust was not charred at all just cooked crunchy and semi thick. As mentioned the size of the slice was large and so was the tomato sauce. The tomato sauce was about an inch thick. They use quality gravy with a lot of spices. Spicy “gravy” is a trademark of Southern Italians as Northern Italian sauce is blander. Thus, spicy sauce would be expected considered that the Iannelli’s are originally from Sicily. There wasn’t any cheese in this pie but they may have hinted it in the sauce.
There is a pie at Iannelli’s Famous Brick Oven Bakery that I have wanted to try for some time but haven’t gotten around to it. It is called the Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Pizza. You need to make an advance order as this is a specialty pie ($40 for a whole). This consists of fresh sautéed crab meat on a bed of mozzarella, with roasted red peppers, and black olives. This pizza has won many awards. If you get a chance, order this pizza and then tell us what you think.
Iannelli’s Famous Brick Oven Bakery is a true representation of what Philly pizza is and should be. I am giving them a green light into the Best Philadelphia Pizza Club and can tell you now that they are a strong candidate for the Best of the Best Philadelphia Pizza Club (when I eventually create it). They are great all across the board from price to authentic to quality.
Iannelli’s Famous Brick Oven Bakery –welcome to the Best Philadelphia Pizza Club!