Tomato pie

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Tomato pie
Type Pizza
Place of origin United States
Serving temperature Room temperature
Main ingredients Focaccia-like dough, tomato sauce, romano cheese
Cookbook:Tomato pie  Tomato pie

Tomato pie is a type of pizza created in the late 19th early 20th century by Italian-American populations. Unlike typical New York-style pizza, which is closely related to Neapolitan pizza, tomato pie is derived heavily from Sicilian pizza, and as such can be found in predominantly Sicilian-American communities where it occasionally nicknamed "poor people pie", because it is in essence a cold, soggy cheese-less pizza varient. Tomato pies are distinct from pizza due to the process of how they are created. One variety is built the opposite of pizza pies. Cheese and other toppings are added on first, then the tomato sauce.[1][2] In Philadelphia, it is usually served at room temperature in rectangular sheets with little to no cheese.[3]

The basic recipe for tomato pie calls for a thick, porous, focaccia-like dough covered with tomato sauce, more like a pizza than a covered pie, then sprinkled with grated romano cheese. Many bakeries and pizzerias have their own variation on this formula. It is not usually served straight from the oven, but allowed to cool and then consumed at room temperature or reheated. Like Sicilian pizza, tomato pie is baked in a large aluminium pan and served in square slices.


Tomato pie is first referenced in periodical newspaper advertisements for Joe's Tomato Pie (now defunct) which first opened in 1906. Papa's Tomato Pies, whose proprietor learned the trade at Joe's, was opened six years later in 1912.[4]

Chefs and cooks who make tomato pies define the distinction between pizza and tomato pies in the process of making the pie, while laymen note it is simply a room-temperature pizza without cheese.[1][2]

Trenton tomato pie[edit]

Trenton, New Jersey, is a town known for its tomato pies, and is home to both the second and oldest currently operating tomato pie restaurants, De Lorenzo's and Papa's, in the United States. Trenton tomato pie is of the thin crust variety. In Trenton's version of tomato pie, the mozzarella is placed on the pie first followed by the sauce.[5]

Tomato pie can be found throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area, Providence, Rhode Island, Central New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, especially in and around Italian communities. Notable locations serving the dish are Trenton, New Jersey; Lewes, Delaware; the Norristown, Pennsylvania, area; Waterbury, Connecticut, Southington, Connecticut, Bristol, Connecticut and Sun Prairie, WI.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Holly Eats". Retrieved 04-12-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b Joshua Lurie (2008-06-23). "De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies: Trenton vs. Robbinsville". Retrieved 04-12-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Chester County Pie Guy (6 February 2013). "Pizza Quixote: Defining the Tomato Pie". Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  4. ^ A Slice of Heaven: American Pizza Timeline
  5. ^ New Jersey Monthly, 12 January 2010, Compared to every other kind of pizza, Trenton tomato pies are put together backwards. Cheese and toppings go on first. Only then comes the tomato sauce—seasoned, crushed plum tomatoes, to be precise—spooned on with the individual pizzamaker’s signature flair.  Missing or empty |title= (help)