In sticking with the theme of my last post, I visited another neighborhood pizzeria that has been on my radar for a while after seeing their cheesesteaks praised online. America’s Pie Pizza of Essington, PA is perhaps a bit more well known than many others, as it sits just off and within view of Rt. 291, which leads to Philadelphia’s nearby airport. But it has the characteristics of a classic neighborhood takeout pizzeria and sits on the outer edge of a residential neighborhood.
The interior – or at least the portion of it open to those placing and picking up orders – is tiny, and it was packed when I was there Wednesday afternoon. They are a big lunch draw for people who live and work around there if my experience was any indication.
As is the case with so many of the pizzerias and sandwich shops I’ve visited, America’s Pie has a wall that is partially devoted to the local sports teams. They also have a classic Pepsi theme above the ordering counter.
I had ordered a cheesesteak with American cheese and fried onions from the car. While waiting for it after my arrival, I grabbed a black cherry wishniak from the soda case and checked out the pizzas that were on display with the notion of adding a slice to my sandwich.
I decided on a plain slice, which was placed into their oven for reheating.
One of the employees brought out my steak from the back and the slice was ready within another minute or two. The space in the shop was too crowded for me to consider eating on one of the three stools they have at a counter by the front window. So I took everything out to my car, which was parked in a spot that afforded me some privacy to focus on the task at hand.
Although I only ordered one slice of pizza, it came in a small box rather than on a paper plate. That made it easier to transport out to the car with the other stuff I had in my hands. When I opened the box, my jaw probably dropped a bit over the size of the slice. It was huge, although I’m not sure how clearly that comes through in the photo below. I should have put one hand next to it while taking the shot with the other.
Having had both a slice of pizza and a cheesesteak from Huntingdon Valley Pizza within the past week or so, it was natural for me to compare them with what I was eating from America’s Pie.
The pizzas served by both places were similar in style. I’d have to give the edge to the slice I had at H.V.P. on the strength of their crust and a slightly better overall flavor. But the slice at America’s Pie wasn’t bad by any means. And you can certainly fill up on one of them for a very affordable lunch.
I then ate half of the cheesesteak before taking the other half home to have for dinner later.
As you can see, this steak looks more like those I typically write about than the one I had at Huntingdon Valley Pizza. The seeded roll was on the soft side, but still very good.
But what was on it was slightly disappointing. The meat was neither as moist or flavorful as what I had at H.V.P. And while there was a nice balance between the meat and cheese on the steak from H.V.P., the one from America’s Pie needed a bit more cheese.
Although I have a clear preference for Huntingdon Valley Pizza, I can see why America’s Pie is popular. They have quality pizza and a huge array of both hot and cold long-roll sandwiches beyond cheesesteaks.
There may be hundreds of such neighborhood pizzerias in the Philadelphia region. I have no intention of exploring them as a project, but I’m sure I’ll periodically hit others and report on those experiences here.