Memorial Day weekend brought a new pizza option to Center City, in the form of Rione, located right next to Poi Dog’s new non-truck location. It comes from owner Francesco Crovetti (originally from Rome, he trained at Rome’s Scuola Nazionale di Pizza) and wife Alison Crovetti.
Roman-style pizza — sometimes known as pizza al taglio — is the hook. That’s big, rectangular pies sold by the slice, usually more of a handheld lunch or snack (Neapolitan pizza, more common in Philly, is debatably, a touch more formal and rarely available by the slice).
While it may be more casual, it doesn’t mean Rione aren’t taking it seriously: they’re touting a 72-hour proofing period for light, fluffy dough, and importing ingredients from Italy to do it. Toppings will be seasonally-oriented: there’s a sample menu on the pizzeria’s website (although the exact offerings may vary), showing that they’re keeping it simple — straight-up marinara or potato slices are two options.
There are a couple of salads (including arugula and the less-Roman Caesar), and rice or potato croquettes on the menu, but pizza makes up the bulk of the options. Speaking of bulk, check out the carbonara pizza creation that appeared there over the weekend.
Rione isn’t the first place to offer Roman pizza in Philly — both Bufad and Nomad have reputable versions of it (albeit in a more sit-down environment). The style looks to be having a minor moment in the broader American food scene right now — top Rome pizza-maker Gabriele Bonci is setting up shop in Chicago, with eyes on the east coast (Philadelphia included) down the road.
If Rione is any indication, there’s a market for it — they sold out of pie yesterday.