Being that I was pretty busy at work on this day, I did not have time for a long lunch. I couldn't stand in line for a half-hour for an $8 salad nor could I risk a lengthy line at the one-cashier Americanized Mejicano staple Hot Tamales (review coming soon). No, I just needed it fast, cheap dirty, and served on a paper plate (OK, I would rather it wasn't dirty). So I went for a quick slice.
The destination I chose was Ciao Pizza, a storefront on Chestnut St. in the area of Liberty Place. First, I must compliment the staff. This is because the dude who inserted my slice into the oven for reheating did not mock me when I stated my order as a "plain, pepperoni slice." He simply waited for my clarification and went about his business with aplomb and grace. The next thing I had to do before eating my slice was pay. When I stepped to the cashier and told him what I had ordered, he said something that I found to be somewhat ridiculous: "$3." Two things: 1) I thought right away that it would be very difficult for the slice to live up to this payment and 2) it was made doubly annoying because the price was not listed on a board above the oven nor was it even on the printed takeaway menu; it made me feel as if they probably looked at me, decided how stupid and gullible I looked, and pulled a price out of their arse that they thought I was crazy enough to pay.
But anyway, the slice. It was actually pretty darn good. I was a little worried about it at first because the bag got pretty well lined with grease. Then the cheese got stuck to the paper liner that they place between the slice and the paper plate to ensure non-messy transport. However, the slice did not seem overly moist upon consumption and the cheese was easily put back into place with minimal labor. It featured a very tomatoey, tangy sauce and a cheese that was tasty and yet not overwhelming to the main attraction. The pepperoni was crisp, flavorful, and wisely distributed (not too little, but, more importantly, not too much). The crust had a very nice texture and feel. It was very thin, yet did not get soggy. It was extremely foldable, with no cheese slippage or ingredients exploding out the sides and onto your rather unattractive and bland work khakis. If I were too state one negative, it would probably be that there may have been a tiny bit of an excess crust. One needs a base for holding, but not so much that the width of perimeter smacks of culinary miserliness. This being said, it wasn't as bad as some I've experienced. I simply would have liked maybe a tad bit more of their delicious sauce to aid crust digestion.
In the end, would I recommend Ciao Pizza? If you are willing to pay a little more for a slice, this is definitely a great option. However, when you are talking about getting more than one (on a day where I had more disposable income, I almost certainly would have ended up buying two), their fee can start to get a little pricey. In conclusion, if you are in the city looking for a slice or two (or eight), keep Ciao Pizza in mind and your ATM within shouting distance. And, uh, watch out for flash-mobbers trying to help you with your withdrawal.
1709 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103