I trained for my first marathon… AKA I ate a lot of pizza.

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.

THE BEST:

  1. Zavino – Gayborhood – 112 South 13th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19107

Zavino

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

Taconellis

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 Pizza

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

Blackbird

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

Pizzaria Vetri

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.

THE WORST:

  1. Bufad – 1240 Spring Garden Street; Philadelphia, PA 19123

Bufad

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

Harvest

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.

The Good:

  1. Nomad Roman – 1305 Locust Street; Philadelphia, PA 19104

Nomad Roman

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

Taconelli's NJ

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

Jules Thin Crust - 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

Dock Street Brewery

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

Bricco - NJ

 

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

Spuntino

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.

The Ehhh:

  1. 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza – Cherry Hill – 2000 Marlton Pike; West Cherry Hill, NJ

1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzaria

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

Debbies Place

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.  

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