Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tale of the Pie: Charlie's Pizzeria

As mentioned in our post on Philly Mag's Best Pizza issue, we're visiting all of the local spots recommended in the article. First up was Charlie's Pizzeria in East Norriton.

Because it's about 15 minutes from our house, we planned on eating in, so the pie didn't get cold during the ride home. But before we even got in the door, we thought we might be changing those plans. There are a few tables in the back, but it didn't seem like the spot for a nice Friday night out with our 18-month-old. Plus, once I did get inside, I realized that the temperature was hot enough that they could have been cooking the pizzas right on the counter.

Temperature and ambiance (or lack thereof) aside, I decided to just go ahead and order the pie for takeout. It smelled REALLY good inside and the place was jam-packed with folks that definitely seemed like regulars. The character behind the counter told me that it would be a half hour and that I should wait outside because their thermostat was broken. Yep, I figured that one out already, pal.

We took the time to visit the Wine & Spirits shop in the same center. It's a Premium Collection Store, which basically means the case displays aren't crowded with your usual Barefoots and Yellow Tails. Tons of different Chairman's Selections to choose from. And yes, I'm not embarrassed to say that I'm totally the girl in the commercials - I don't really know much about wine, so it's nice to have this chairman guy helping me select a few good bottles.

After our wine stop, I sent the hubby back into the shop to wait for the pie (of course without telling him that it was 8000 degrees in there). He perused the beer-to-go section and contemplated getting one while he waited. They carry the usual suspects (Coors Light, Miller Lite, Bud Light, need I go on?), as well as a few desirable options (Hoegaarden, Hop Devil, Sierra Nevada).

We ordered a large pepperoni and opted not to ask for the extra sauce, since the shop boasts the title of "home of the original red top" and Philly Mag was also singing the red top's praises. However, I did not realize that you need to actually request a red top style, so we were just given a regular pepperoni pie. After a 15-minute ride home, a rush in the house, getting the nibble settled and all of the seasonings on the pie, the pizza was still piping hot! So much so that I needed to let the nibble's slice cool down before he could eat it.

And, wow was it delicious! Kudos to Philly Mag for this suggestion. Even without the red top style, the sauce was ample and exceptional with a unique tomato taste - thicker and sweeter than most pizza sauces, but not so much that it could be mistaken for a tomato pie sauce. The crust was thin and foldable with a bit of a crunch at the very end. Plenty of gooey cheese, which I love, and was surprised to hear Saucy say that it was just the right amount for him. Tasty pepperoni with a few of the pieces done crispy.

They cut the pie into 10 slices, which is good for when you have a crowd (or a hungry family) - not too large, but definitely filling.

Oh, and the price is right. $16 for a large one-topping and a big bag of chips. The menu is limited (pie, stromboli and sandwiches), so there aren't any of your usual pizza shop apps (wings, mozz sticks, etc.), but the pie itself is hearty enough that we still had leftovers.

We'll be back very soon to give that red top a try.

Read the Philly Mag review >>

Pros: Sauce, crust, cheese, toppings ... uh, everything
Cons: Long wait, not really a place for eating in

Charlie's Pizzeria
107 West Germantown Pike
Norristown, PA 19401-1329
(610) 275-1403

Charlie's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

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