What Is Tomato Pie, Anyway?

Philadelphia Tomato Pie

Caroline Russock

"It's a cheese-less pizza," he [Vincent Iannelli] says, explaining the bakery's definition about as simply as one can. "And my barber told me it's vegan; he's vegan."

Dating back to 1910, Iannelli's tiny storefront opened with just two items on the menu: bread and tomato pie. And while the menu has expanded over the years, these two originals retain their synergistic relationship. "A lot of places use different ingredients to make dough, but we use the same dough for everything, to make our bread, to make our tomato pie," Iannelli says. He also attributes the popularity of his pie to its simplicity. "Tomato pie became a real staple — it's actually getting more and more popular because a lot of people didn't know what it was [until recently]. They never knew that something could taste so fantastic without cheese."