If there’s one thing I know for certain about the Philadelphia food scene, it’s that there’s no shortage of great pizza in the city. Whether you want a wood-fired thin crust pie, a thick Sicilian-style pie, or something in between, Philly has seemingly an endless variety of options. When it comes to great pizza by the slice, though, the list starts to shrink. As such, I was particularly intrigued when I heard Rione had opened in Rittenhouse, offering Roman-style slices “al taglio.” I’m always on the lookout for a good (and ideally cheap) place to grab a slice or two on the go, and one afternoon last week I decided to walk the extra few blocks past my regular weekday lunch spots to give it a try.
With my wife joining as well, we set out to sample a few different menu options. Arriving just before the lunch rush, we ordered and sat down at a table in the back corner, and before I knew it I was biting into my first slice, the Margherita D.O.C. The first thing I noticed was the crust. It had a great crunch without being overdone, and the bottom was evenly cooked from the edges to the center of the pizza. What’s more, the initial crispiness gave way to a light and airy middle layer, providing a great balance of texture and preventing the pizza from being too doughy. It also helped prevent the all too common greasy-pizza-for-lunch hangover that leaves me pouring a second cup of coffee around 2.
But while the crust was a clear-cut winner, the same couldn’t always be said for the toppings. Of the five different slices we tried, my personal favorite was the Zucchini. It was simple yet delicious, as the zucchini and ricotta cheese proved to be perfect complements to one another, and combined with the crust it just had an overall freshness to it. I’m a sucker for pesto on pizza, so I also took a liking to the Tricolore, with juicy cherry tomatoes to boot. The slices with tomato sauce, though, were a mixed bag. The Margherita was solid but unspectacular, even a little dry, and in a city with so many great Margherita pizzas already, there wasn’t anything to really set this one apart. The Parmigiana was overpowered by the mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top, which mostly masked the eggplant hidden underneath. And as for the Patate e Salsiccia, it felt like there was something missing; the potato slices didn’t pack as much flavor as I would’ve liked, even with the added rosemary, while the sausage itself was average.
Of course, it’s difficult to come in with such a high bar, and as I wrapped up my lunch, I definitely saw the appeal of Rione. With a quality crust, a variety of slice options, a homemade feel, and a fresh taste, it already checks off some of the most important boxes for lunch-time pizza places. If you’re looking for a relatively cheap and quick option that’s different – and more artisanal – than most of the other standard pizza by the slice options in the city, Rione is worth a visit. Just be prepared to try a few different slices in order to figure out what hits the sweet spot.