I lounge at a picnic table in Pizza Plus West’s backyard garden on one of September’s cooler nights, chatting with two of the restaurant's employees. The bulk of our conversation relates to a prevalent problem in West Philadelphia: a lack of good pizza for delivery.
Is there a pizza delivery place near Penn’s campus that's a staple? A go–to phone number to call if you want a pie brought right to your door?
There is now.
Pizza Plus West opened its doors just three months ago. The success of Pizza Plus South, founded a year prior in South Philly, prompted the launch of the West Philly shop.
Menu staples: unique pie toppings ranging from chicken parmesan to cheeseburger, pan pizzas encrusted with fried cheese, and—most unique of all—a vegan option for every item on the menu.
For every item? At a pizza place? Yes, at a pizza place. I was shocked too.
A stone’s throw from campus on 48th and Spruce, Pizza Plus West is also a manageable distance for an outing. My walk from 40th and Locust is just under 20 minutes. The first thing I notice upon arrival is the shop's retro–style menu and elaborate pizza–themed mural on the right–hand wall.
I put my trust in the all–knowing staff as I order at the counter and make my way to the garden. Bamboo gates strung with lights tuck the seating area away from the rest of West Philly, creating an environment well–suited for a backyard barbecue. I sit at a picnic table tucked in the back corner and excitedly await my food, a tangerine Jarritos soda in hand to satiate me.
To my delight, the food is all brought out at once.
I first indulge in the curly fries ($5), served with a cheese sauce that I opted to make vegan. The faux cheese is to die for, the complement to a curly fry that I never knew I needed.
The pesto pie ($21) is up next, a specialty recommended by the manager. Satisfying, cheesy, not too much pesto—the pizza is as expected, and a welcome treat.
The star of the night? A deep–dish chicken parm pie ($18) rimmed with fried cheese and topped with ample mozzarella. The aroma of warm, freshly baked bread and melting cheese intoxicates me before I even open the box. It's my favorite item that I ordered, and it's certainly something to write home about.
The next time you find yourself craving the ease of warm, delivered pizza (vegan or not), give our new neighbor Pizza Plus West a try. It won’t disappoint.
TL;DR: Great pizza for delivery near campus. Vegan options too!
Location: 4814 Spruce St.
Hours: 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily