2573 Tulip Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125-2241
I already know I should not be doing this, because I hold Franco's like a toy I don't want anyone else to play with, but I guess I have to share at some point. Franco's is my go-to pizza joint in the city of Philadelphia. There, I said it. Now I am not talking about brick oven this, that and the other thing. I am talking about reasonably priced take-out pizza that is better than most any other pizza in town. Regardless of style, or how many organic bees harvested the honey that some other place drizzles on my $35 pie, Franco's is gourmet pizza, from a local pizza joint, and in short, it's heavenly.
Franco used to own a Spatola's pizza restaurant in Southampton (on the outskirts of the great northeast), until he got out of the sit-down biz and decided to open an amazing pizza joint with his buddy Tony, right here in Kensington. Strange, but deliciously true.
Although they offer the traditional and unexplainable wide variety of items on their menu (why does EVERY pizza place serve club sandwiches?), the goods here are the pizzas, and if the mood strikes you, the strombolis. They also throw in an order of garlic knots with every order. Usually I would be ho-hum about this, except for two things. First of all, they are FREE. Secondly, they are delicious. Light, airy and jammed with garlic, I usually eat those to keep True Blood off of my TV. In all seriousness, they are little bursts of irresistible, buttery-garlic joy.
But really my true love is their upside down pie. Thin crust, cheese on bottom, sauce on top. Done. The sauce gets to shine in this one, and, my God, does Franco's make a nice sauce. Fresh, sweet, slightly salty with a garlic bite, I always get a side for dipping my garlic knots into.
This pizza works even better the next day. Give it a quick bake in the oven or toaster oven and it crisps up beautifully. Pizza is always better after its second trip to the oven, in my infallible opinion at least.
The regular pies are another winner, and the addition of roasted garlic (whole cloves!) and pepperoni is one of my favorite combos.
Also try the buffalo chicken (not shown), as a reasonably priced, gourmet-style backup pie. The stromboli is great when you have a crowd, and really pack in the bang for your buck. Below is the chicken special, with fried onions, green peppers, marinated chicken, sauce and cheese. Nothing over the top, but a solid contender. It gets a bit wet inside fresh out of the oven (a usual problem) but once it cools down everything solidifies and it becomes quite delicious.
These 'bolis are a bit unusual, or should I say unique, in that they're left open a crack at the top. Franco says it helps to allow the inside dough to get hit with a little more heat - in order to avoid being undercooked. Genius.
The special steak stromboli is one of my other favorites, with an "abundance of cheese," sauce, steak, pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper, onion and tomatoes. Sort of the "kitchen sink" of stromboli – I am a big fan.
Look at those pepperonis for presentation!
Another specialty pie.
Where the magic happens.
The bottom line is that Franco's is everything a pizza place should be. THIN CRUST, highly affordable, simple perfection. I will take it over my old standbys south of Lombard any day. Try it, just not all at once, because I like my pies ready in 20.