|Tacconelli's signature pie; photo via 22nd & Philly|
Giovanni’s great-grandson John Tacconelli currently helms the kitchen at the Port Richmond restaurant, the fourth generation son to make the dough, sauce and every single pie that emerges from the oven’s mouth. “Business is steady,” John’s wife Roseanne assures us, noting no change in the popularity of the family-run room over the past decade. “We’ll probably be here making pizza until we die,” she adds, “and be happy doing it.”
A visit to Tacconelli’s is obligatory for any serious pizza fan, but the process isn’t as simple as swinging ‘round the corner for a slice. From how to reserve to what to bring, check out five tips to help plan your trip:
Order in advance: Though it’s not a strict requirement, you are advised to call ahead and reserve your dough. There’s only so much dough one man can make, and when it’s gone, it’s gone for the day. How many are available each morning? “You’d have to ask my husband,” says Roseanne, “whatever I’d tell you, I’d be wrong. And it’s confidential, anyway.” You can call on the morning of your visit, starting at 9 AM, or several days or even weeks in advance.
Reserve one pie per person: Though the pies here are a full 16 inches, they are extremely light - the crust is thin and cheese is minimal, so if you bring an appetite, one pizza per guest is the right ratio. If there happen to be one or two slices per person left over, you’ve got a tasty morning-after bonus.
Get the signature pizza: Though it’s not specifically listed on the menu, the Tacconelli’s are proud of their signature combination: a white pizza (salt, black pepper, cheese and “plenty of garlic”) with fresh spinach and tomato. You could add meat, but the menu counsels no more than two toppings per round - the thin crust would be overwhelmed, one imagines, and the delicate flavor balance lost - so leave the sausage for another pie. Which brings us to our next tip...
Go with a group: No individual slices are offered here, so your best chance to taste a variety of combinations is to gather a bunch of pizza-loving pals (you know they’re out there) and head out for a party. There’s no limit on the size of your crew, according to Roseanne, as long as you’ve reserved your pies in advance.
Bring your own booze: Even with an advance “reservation,” the wait for a seat can easily run more than 30 minutes, and once you’re at your table, expect another extended lull before the sizzling pies arrive. Make the most of your time by enjoying take-along beer and wine (hard liquor is not allowed). You can even bring your own salad or other appetizer-like snacks (pizza is the only thing on the menu), though we recommend saving your appetite for the main event.
Tacconelli’s is open 4:30-9:30 PM, Wednesday-Thursday, 4-10 PM, Friday-Saturday and 4-9 PM, Sunday. The last seating is an hour before close. The restaurant is cash only.
2604 E. Somerset St.; 215-425-4983