The earliest memories I have of eating pizza – when I was very young in the late 60s – are set at Longhitano’s, a Southampton, PA, pizzeria that my parents and I frequented during our first few years living in that Bucks County town.
The address they occupied in those days has passed to a succession of pizza and steak shops over the years – including the legendary Cecil’s Hut. It’s currently the home of Berardi Bros., which I wrote about a few months ago. But after moving several times between the 70s and 90s, Longhitano’s settled back in Southampton, just around the corner from where they started, and have been in that spot ever since.
When three long-time friends and I made plans to meet for pizza Saturday afternoon, Longitano’s seemed like a natural choice. Two of my companions also grew up in Southampton and have similar memories of eating there at an early age, while the third is from the next town over and has eaten their pizza on occasion for many years as well.
They have a pleasant interior with a decent-sized dining area and a menu that is pretty standard for a suburban pizzeria. It features an array of appetizers, entrees and sandwiches, including cheesesteaks and hoagies. But we were only interested in reliving our memories of eating their pizza and ordered a pair – a large regular pie with pepperoni on one half and a medium white pie with fried onions on half.
I’ve mentioned in a couple previous posts that white pizza with caramelized onions has become a recent favorite of mine. But most pizzerias don’t offer caramelized onions as a topping. When I saw fried onions on Longhitano’s menu, I figured I’d give them a shot, but wasn’t sure what to expect.
Our timing was good, as the place was almost empty when we arrived, so our pizza was brought out fairly quickly. A couple large parties came in while we were eating.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve had Longhitano’s pizza since I was a kid. In addition to visiting a pair of their past locations that were in neighboring towns during the 80s, I’ve been to this spot a couple times. But it had probably been close to a decade since the last time I tasted one of their pies.
Just as the note on the menu claims, they never change. The family has been making their pizzas the exact same way since the 60s. The crust is neither crispy nor too soft and has a nice flavor. They use a blend of Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese, which goes on the dough first before Longhitano’s house-made sauce is swirled in circles over it.
This isn’t gourmet pizza. You aren’t likely to find it on any best-of lists for the Philly region. But no pie is closer to my heart. I still love it and always well.
The white pie was probably the first of those I’ve ever ordered at Longhitano’s. As is often the case with white pizza, it was ultra garlicky – not that I was complaining about that. Unfortunately, the fried onions didn’t pack anything like the sweetness and strong flavor of caramelized onions. That was a failed experiment that I won’t repeat. I did enjoy the plain white half very much though.
We finished lunch earlier than anticipated, leaving me with some time to kill before visiting my father. Is there a better way to kill time than eating ice cream?
The Huntingdon Valley, PA, location of John’s Water Ice, a long-time South Philadelphia institution, is close to where I was headed, so I stopped off there for dessert. In addition to Philly-style Italian water ice, they offer both regular and soft-serve ice creams. I went with one of my longtime stand-bys – a vanilla soft-serve cone with chocolate jimmies – and it really hit the spot.
Longhitano’s is in a section of the northern Philadelphia suburbs – and a sliver of far Northeast Philly – that I recently referred to as a cheesesteak hot spot due to the number of highly rated steak shops in the area. I plan on returning there Tuesday with a friend to revisit one that made my top ten last year in addition to checking out another that will be new to me.
That outing will be the topic of my next post.
2 thoughts on “Going Home to My First Pizza”
Has Longhitano’s had white pizza on the menu for a long time? Or is it a more recent addition? Was white pizza even known outside of New England when you were growing up?
I don’t know how long they’ve had it on the menu. I don’t remember white pizza from when I was a kid. If it was common, we never ordered it. But for a good number of years now, it’s been commonplace. It’s unusual not to see it on the menu at just about any pizzeria in the Philly region.