Sally’s sophistication is wholly apparent, even on a Sunday at 5 o’clock. Sleek yet casual, it brings something new to the food scene of restaurants peppered throughout Rittenhouse and Fitler Square’s residential enclaves. And yes, even though the usage of "it" has established the fact that we’re not discussing a person, Sally seems like a local even though she’s been around for less than a year.
Boasting sourdough pizzas, an in–house natural wine bottle shop, and small plates, Sally isn’t a completely unique concept. Nevertheless, its execution is enough to make it shine. On a warm and sunny evening, it would be blasphemous not to take advantage of the restaurant’s extensive patio and sidewalk space. Colorful flowers dot the stark white and black decor while aromas of freshly–baked bread envelop you. The occasional impromptu dirt bike race down 23rd Street makes itself known, too.
For a starter, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong with the house ricotta covered in local honey, bee pollen, and edible flowers, garnished with a bit of salt. The dish comes with Sally’s thoroughly–toasted sourdough, which features blackened edges that look like they were painted on for effect. A thick smear of the honeyed ricotta on the toast contains multitudes of flavor. The mild and creamy cheese balances the sweetness from the honey and the floral pollen, and the salt cooked into the bread as well as the salt from the garnish anchor each bite. And that’s only the beginning.
After, we went for the tomato and mozzarella salad featuring Liuzzi mozzarella nodini, field tomatoes, and Italian vinaigrette. While at times it was overly simple, the salad was fresh, mild, and mouthwatering. The nodini are milky pearls that go well with the sweet and acidic tomatoes. Overall, a decent but unremarkable dish that's followed by the much more remarkable main event: the pies.
Out came the steaming hot "Pizzaz" and soppressata pies, and the underwhelming salad faded quickly into oblivion. The soppressata pie was just the right amount of oily—dripping but not drowning—and features tomato, cheese, and fermented pepper jelly to compliment the smokiness of the meat.
The Pizzaz pizza is an elevated ode to the South Philly pizza classic that originated at the Palizzi Social Club. The peppers infuse spice and sweetness into every slice. They’re accompanied by American cheese and some fresh tomato, which come together to make each bite sweet, briny, and spicy. True to its name, it brings an appropriate amount of flair to the dinner table and one’s taste buds.
On both pizzas, large black air bubbles indicate that even the base of this sourdough pizza is something to be appreciated and seen, given the intensity that’s infused into cultivating sourdough in the first place. The spirit of returning to elevated and modern basics is apparent not only in Sally's pizza, but in everything the restaurant does.
There's little to criticize about Sally, but something's always bound to be imperfect. After multiple attempts at contacting the shop, management remained unresponsive to our team regarding photo permissions as well as questions about a possible interview. However, a press–related hiccup shouldn't disqualify Sally from getting our recommendation.
From the understated plates, silverware, and furniture, to the black–and–white color scheme, to the unassuming yet brilliant and imaginative dishes, Sally matches the sophistication of its neighbors while maintaining its minimalism. A true neighborhood joint for the 2020s, Sally isn’t the pepperoni pie–slinging pizzeria in your hometown—it’s way better.
TL;DR: Pizza, small plates, and natural wines are all at your disposal at this Fitler Square gem.
Hours: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays
Location: 2229 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA, 19103