2/14/2012 11:04:00 AM

Nomad Pizza Fires Up on South Street

It was last year when we first heard inklings of a Philly branch of wood-fired pie parlor Nomad Pizza, and the idea made our mouths water. Since then, preview tastes of the crispy, sauce-covered rounds peddled by Stalin Bedon and Tom Grim were eagerly gobbled up at several pop-up markets - thanks to their roving outpost, a converted REO Speed Wagon that hauls a full brick oven around the region. A duplicate of that 850-degree behemoth is now up and running at the bi-level space at Seventh and Kater Street, which opened for business last Friday. Read on to get all the details and see a slideshow, and don't forget to vote for your favorite pizza in the Philadelphia Restaurants survey.

On the ground floor of what was formerly vegan mecca Horizons, the copper-sheathed kiln turns out Neapolitan pies, dressed with ingredients that are organic and locally grown wherever possible. The menu offers a dozen ways to top your crunchy dough (which is aged for four to five days before it’s ready to go for optimum flavor), and lists components of each next to their sources. The decadent tartufo, for example, features toma cheese from Cherry Grove Farm, shiitake mushroom and black truffle oil, and it's finished off with runny eggs from Double Brook Farm ($18).

Classic pizza fans will be pleased with either the marinara or margherita, meatlovers can get their fix with the pepperoni, spicy sausage or arugula con proscuitto, and New England expats can dig into the garlicky white clam. All pies run $11-$19, and each is more than enough for a single person. Two could happily share one if accompanied by a salad - the four on the menu include a Caesar and a blue cheese version - with others offered as daily specials ($7-$10).

The wood-slab communal tables downstairs are abetted by the larger second level, which has another, longer communal table and a selection of two- and four-tops in a dining area with one wall left blank for movie-night screenings. The bar is upstairs too, and the beer and wine offerings are as well-thought-out as the pizza. Twelve taps pour a good range of local and West Coast craft brews, along with a dozen more options in bottles and cans ($3-$6.50). A handful of reds and whites - most from Italy or California - are available by the glass ($6-$10), with another 20 by the bottle, starting as low as $25. For non-tipplers, Victory Brewing root beer also flows on draft.

Dinner is served 4-10 PM Tuesday-Thursday, 4 PM-midnight Friday-Saturday and 3-8 PM on Sundays.

611 S. Seventh St.; 215-238-0900

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