This year, I decided to take my running to the next level and run my first ever marathon. As a Philadelphian, I chose the fall 2015 Philadelphia Marathon and enlisted Rita at Breakaway Bikes to provide me with the best training in the city. During my 21 weeks of extensive training, I became one hungry girl. Training for a race of this sort leaves you feeling hungry… all the time. For me, I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted and however much I wanted without feeling a shred of eaters remorse. I was a machine, specifically.. a pizza eating machine. Each week, once (or twice) a week I would find the best (and some mediocre) pizza in the city (and a few in New Jersey) and put it up to the long run fuel test.
Get ready to drool over my favorite and not so favorite vegan pizza pies…
NOTE: I stuck with primarily marinara style pizzas as this worked perfect as fuel! Also, do not be fooled, I ate the whole pizza, each time. No sharing during marathon training.
- Zavino – Gayborhood – 112 South 13th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19107
I had this gloriously wood fire pizza (and glass of red wine) the night before the Rock & Roll half marathon. The sauce here was perfect and the pizza itself was cooked to perfection. Zavino is quite the hot spot but definitely worth the wait. My friend and I were lucky enough to grab bar seats immediately.
2. Taconelli’s – Port Richmond – 2604 East Somerset Street; Philadelphia, PA 19134
This. Sauce. I am 100% not a fan of a ton of sauce but this is the exception. I could actually drink it.
Side Note: Dough must be ordered in advance but it is worth it. This pizza is pretty much everything and the fact that it is in, Port Richmond, the neighborhood where I grew up gives it a special place in my heart.
3. Nomad Philadelphia – 611 South 7th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19147
Nomad was my first pizza love early on. I think I told EVERYONE about how good it was. As you can see from my other pizza comments, it is all in the sauce. Nomad’s marinara was equally perfect.
4. Blackbird Pizzeria – 507 South 6th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19147
Ahhh Blackbird. The food here warms my soul therefore I had this pizza (among other things) 3 times throughout training. It was my go-to on nights when I wanted to stay in or I was too sweaty from a Friday night run to go to anywhere fancy. My recommendation, always, is to go here and try everything. The food coma is well worth it.
5. Pizzeria Vetri – Callowhill – 1939 Callowhill Street; Philadelphia, PA
Another pizza done right. Killer sauce, crisp crust, perfection. There were some very interesting pizzas on the menu here. I may go back a play around with some of the other toppings.
- Bufad – 1240 Spring Garden Street; Philadelphia, PA 19123
In one word, floppy. This pizza was so… floppy. It looked delicious but looks can be deceiving. Maybe if they cooked it just a tad bit more it would have been better.
2. Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar – University City – 200 South 40th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19104
Literally had the worst time here confirming the ingredients were vegan. Traditional pizza dough does not contain egg. Our waitress seemed certain it had egg. I pretty much had to walk her over to ask the kitchen if it did. As I suspected, no egg in the dough. For a restaurant that boasts a menu full of veggie and low-cal farm fresh meals, I was not happy with this experience.
- Nomad Roman – 1305 Locust Street; Philadelphia, PA 19104
If you like it thin, you’ll LOVE this pizza. For me, however, it did not fit (I am a fan of thin but more of a Neapolitan style pizza) but was still very very delicious. A bit on the spicy side but that never bothers me.
2. Taconelli’s Pizza Maple Shade – Maple Shade – 27 West Main Street; Maple Shade, NJ 08052
This Taconelli’s is owned by another member of the same family who owns the OG in Port Richmond. I might just be crazy but I do not think the sauce is AS good. Its good but not on the level of the original. On a brighter note, this NJ location contains more than just pizza and no dough pre-order required. I do not know about you, but I am a fan of the salad/pizza combo. Their menu also contains pasta dishes.
3. Jules Thin Crust – Cherry Hill – 1650 Kings Highway North; Cherry Hill, NJ
Stumbled upon this was while venturing to New Jersey and it was delightful. The crust was thin, as stated in the name, and it was perfect. The whole business has a pretty good story behind it as well.
4. Dock Street Brewery – West Philly – 701 South 50th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19143
This gem in the heart of West Philly makes a fantastic vegan pizza. If you like beer and pizza, it is worth the trek west.
5. Bricco Coal Fired Pizza – 128 Haddon Ave; Westmont, NJ 08108
During POPE weekend, I ventured to New Jersey a lot to avoid the crowds and found Briccos on Haddonfeild Road. They know what they are doing here. Their pizzas are delicious and filling.
6. Spuntino – Northern Liberties – 701 North 2nd Street; Philadelphia, PA 19123
This new wood-fire pizza joint was a treat. The pizza was cooked perfect and it came out really fast. ALSO, when you order a salad, you receive a piece of freshly baked dough. It was awesome.
- 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza – Cherry Hill – 2000 Marlton Pike; West Cherry Hill, NJ
Mehhh, this pizza was fast. I had a lot of trouble with the employees not knowing the ingredients in the dough resulting in my biggest vegan conversation pet peeve…
Me: “Is the gluten free dough vegan?”
Employee: “Well yes, its gluten free.”
.. The gluten free dough ended up having egg. BUT the regular dough was vegan and they had pineapple as a topping so I was happy. They restaurant prides itself on being fast but my pizza was floppy. I am not a fan of floppy pizza.
2. Debbie’s Place – Port Richmond – 2617 East Westmoreland; Philadelphia, PA 19134
I call this the “Cardboard Pizza” or “Bar Pizza”. It is so simple, so processed, so perfect.. especially when there is nothing else around. I am sure it would be even better with toppings but I would typically eat these hours before a long run so I did not want to test the limits of my stomach with new things.
I hope this post got your hungry for some pizza and maybe motivated to marathon train. The perks are amazing. For 21 weeks I could eat everything, lose 11 lbs and better my endurance (both pizza eating and running related.) In the end, I certify pizza the #1 long run food.