Wednesday, July 15, 2009

a slice of nostalgia pie...

One of the greatest things about going home, is returning to the favorite places you grew up with. Today, I met my two wonderful and beautiful step sisters Kim and Ashley for lunch at a place called Pica's. This restaurant is a local institution! We literally grew up in this place. After every school football game, track meet, birthday dinners, or on any given week night you could find our family there. I even worked as a "busboy" there when I was 16 years old. On your break you could order a free small pizza or a cheesesteak, and I usually took the pizza over the cheesesteak. Imagine that!

They're famous for their "up-side-down" square pizza. OK, well not completely up-side-down. The sauce is just on top of the cheese, and it's soooo delicious!!! Basically, just about everyone who has grown up in the southwest suburbs of Philadelphia (and a bit beyond), knows all about this place. We're talking four generations of local, loyal, and hungry patrons have indulged in these pizzas, as well as many of their other "home style" Italian dishes. A few other places in the area have tried to copy the recipe, but none can truly compete. You must have the whole Pica's experience. The atmosphere, the people, and the "decor" all absolutely factor into the taste.

Pica's history goes all the way back to 1941! It started out as "Frank's Pizzeria" on 62nd and Race street in Philly. In the beginning, there was just Frank Pica Sr., a friend, a brick oven, a take-out counter, and a couple of tables. Oh, and if you check the photo below, apparently one cat as well. There was also a second floor for more formal dining, and no man was allowed to go upstairs without being accompanied by a lady. In the 1950's, Frank Pica Sr., and his son Frank Jr., moved the business to it's current location in Upper Darby on West Chester Pike. And, it's still going strong today!

Kim and Ashley, it was so great to see you both! Lunch (of course) was great. Today's Pica's pizza tasted just like it always has. OK, some will argue that the various oven changes over the years has dimmed the awesomeness. But I have to say, I don't notice anything different. It was just as delicious, wonderful, yummy, and mmm mmm mmmmmm as always! It was so great to go back there. A big thanks to the Pica family for keeping the tradition alive and well! It's always such a wonderful slice of home! :-)

So if I haven't yet completely conveyed how awesome this pizza is...listen to this! My son is now 5 years old. He ate there a couple of times when he was 3 years old. He's been in Italy for the last month eating the most wonderful food on EARTH! The other day, (just prior to eating panzerotti fritti), he asked his mother if we were going to Pica's when they get here!

P.s. After a 3-way wrestling match, the pizza in the photo above came home with me! :-)


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