For Penn students, pizza tends to be a quick bite on the way to class or an alcohol–induced binge on the way back from the bar. By that standard, Pizzeria Beddia is a very un–Penn pizza joint. For starters, it’s in Fishtown—a twenty–minute SEPTA ride away, and not exactly on the way to anywhere. It’s housed in a tiny corner storefront, furnished only with two standing tables and a light smattering of hipsters. You can only order a whole pie for $19, and they only make one pie at a time, on the restaurant’s schedule. Patrons have to sign up for a timeslot in which their pie will be served. Options are limited to The Plain (tomato, whole milk mozzarella and extra–virgin olive oil), the “Angry” Pizza Arrabiata (same as the plain, but spicy) and a special pizza ($22) with different toppings every week. When I visited, the special was topped with roasted peppers, cream, dandelion greens and garlic. Oh, and payment is cash only.
In short, Pizzeria Beddia runs dangerously close to drowning in schtick. The only thing that saves it from being a “Portlandia” sketch is also the only thing that matters: this place sells seriously good pizza. The crust is so tasty it would be a sin not to eat it all. It’s also exactly as thin as it should be, avoiding even a hint of doughiness without descending into a wet floppy mess. The pointy end of each slice does sag slightly, but this is forgivable given the uniform crispness of every other bite. Besides, this only made me take the first bite faster, basically mainlining the well–balanced mix of sauce and cheese.
I ordered a plain pie, on the guy behind the counter’s recommendation, and was startled to encounter a hint of sweetness instead of the salt–bomb that plain pizza can be. It probably had something to do with the cheese, which had melted into a pleasingly semi–liquid state, like subtly complex lava. The entire pie was helped along dramatically by the generous amount of olive oil spread on top of it—an amount that those calorie–conscious among us would be stricken with an urge to dab it up with a napkin. Resist that urge. The oil was tangy and flavorful, with the result is that each slice feels rich but still manageable. My dining companion and I ate the entire pie in 15 minutes, and probably would have ordered another if there was any space left on the schedule.