Tomato Pie

The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia
J.A. Reuscher

Served by Italian bakeries in South Philadelphia since the early twentieth century, the tomato pie became known by many names: church pie, square pizza, red pizza, granny pizza, and red pie. Although made in a rectangular or square shape similar to Sicilian-style pizza, tomato pie within the city and surrounding region remained distinct from contemporary pizza because of its thicker, spongier texture more akin to a focaccia-like bread from Palermo, Sicily, called sfincione palermitano.

In an era of high immigration from southern Italy, tomato pie became a Philadelphia staple at establishments such as Iannelli’s Bakery (established in 1910), Sarcone's Bakery (1918), and Tacconelli's (early 1920s).