Sometimes you just gotta go square. The name says it all Square Pie is serving up pizzas made in a square shape with a special fermented dough that gives it a light airy crust.
For 8 years, Gene and Amy Giuffi owned a French Restaurant named Cochon. However, they wanted a restaurant that the neighborhood could come to on a regular basis and not just for special occasions. In October 2014, they opened Square Pie at 600 Catherine Street in Bella Vista, across the street from where Cochon once was. In September 2015 they moved across the street into their old space at 801 E Passyunk Ave.
Square Pie has most certainly become a neighborhood BYO Italian spot frequented regularly. When you walk inside, the black, red, and white tablecloths and decor remind you of eating in someone’s kitchen. You can smell something good cooking and watch Gene rotating fresh pizzas in and out of their large oven.
Gene has grown up involved in the restaurant business. His Uncle owned a number of pizzerias across the country named Cozzoli’s in the 1980s and 1990s. Gene got his start working at Cozzoli’s in Brooklyn, with his father and grandparents who came from Italy. His uncle sent him to learn the “pizza ropes” at his Colorado-based pizzeria, and later transferred him back to take charge of the Philadelphia pizzeria at only 19.
Gene sought further education at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. After graduation, he worked all over the city including Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Pasion (Latin fusion), Nan (Thai-French), and La Boheme (French).
In 2007, Gene opened Cochon with his wife Amy. He had been trained in French cuisine but was inspired to take a rustic slant with an emphasis on pork. You can still see a bit of Cochon inspiration in their pies – especially the Pancetta and Porchetta (the former’s flavor profile, especially). They have also run Escargot over garlic bread at Square Pie and their Tripe and Pig’s Feet Stew is an old Cochon foodie favorite, too!
When we stopped by, we just had to sample their Burrata special that was plated in basil-infused olive oil and was absolutely creamy perfection. We didn’t leave anything on that plate. The crusty garlic bread allowed us to soak up every last drop. The Arancini were just as indulgent and fresh oozing inside with cheesy rice and pancetta. Other specials like Charred Brussels Sprouts come from recipes created at Cochon.
True pizza lovers seek out Square Pie. In fact Philadelphia Magazine named Square Pie “2015 Best New Pizzeria.”
Certainly not Neapolitan and not quite Sicilian, Gene Giuffi’s thick-crusted, square Brooklyn pies are a doughy, saucy delight. If you’re ever in doubt, order the porchetta- or pancetta-topped versions; Giuffi, who also owns Cochon, has a way with pork.
The traditional Mozzarella pizza might sell the most, but fans of the former Cochon tell us to go for the pork with the Pancetta and Porchetta pizzas.
- PANCETTA- cured pork belly, roasted potato, leeks, mozzarella, cream
- PORCHETTA- roast pork, garlic, sautéed spinach, provolone, cream
- SALCICCIA- sausage, roasted peppers, onions, mozzarella, tomato sauce
For vegetarian pizzas try:
- FUNGHI- mushrooms, mozzarella, tomato
- MELANZANE- roasted eggplant, capers, olives, ricotta, tomato sauce
We decided to try the special pizza with braised broccoli rabe, chopped tomato, Calabrian chili oil, fresh mozzarella, and sharp provolone. The chili oil gave the the pie some nice heat while the fresh mozzarella and chopped tomato kept it very moist. They’ve got a full menu here, but the pizza surely steals the show. Although the shape is very reminiscent of a dense Sicilian pie this crust is actually quite light. Pizzas are sold in a small and large size.
As if you didn’t already know we love carbs, so we had to try the Ragu Alla Nonna with braised pork shoulder, meatball, and homemade sausage smothered in gravy. The braised pork shoulder and meatball were so tender you could cut them with a fork and the sausage was stuffed with cheese.
Our meal totally made us feel like we’d been stuffed by an Italian grandmother with a little bit of everything delicious she might whip up in the kitchen. Square Pie doesn’t offer delivery, but you can grab pick-up if you’re in the neighborhood. Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch 12-2pm and dinner 5-9pm.
We would like to thank Gene and Amy for inviting us to stop in and try Square Pie.