Who Has the Best Tomato Pie in Wilmington, DE?

Yahoo for saving old signage!

Black Lab's tomato pie
Yummy bread case. Hot and spicey tomato pice.

Happy Serpe's baker. Dirty camera lens.
Serpe's has the cutest fleet of hand painted trucks!
Bonus points for cute bakery boxes!

Serpe's tomato pie!
Tomato pie? Never heard of it--just like water ice--until I moved to the Philly area from Massachusetts. Tomato pie may look like square pizza without cheese, but it is something completely different. Unlike pizza, the dough is more like thick and mushy (like white bread) than pizza dough and the sauce is more pasty and oily than pizza sauce. It's never served warm like pizza either. Mr. Scissors and I used to get tomato pie from a little, now defunct, bakery called M&Ms on Philadelphia Pike in Wilmington, DE every Saturday after venturing through the flea market. It was, according to him, authentic tomato pie.

It's been a been a few years since we've had it, so a few weekends ago, on the way to the flea market, we decided to do a little taste to see what two Wilmington-area bakeries had the best tomato pie.

Our first stop was a bread bakery we frequent for their awesome foccacia named Black Lab. If you don't make it to the bakery in the morning, they are often sold out of slices of their crunchy foccacia slices in the afternoon; that is how good they are. Since they were sold out when we arrived, I picked up a slice of their tomato pie to share with the hubs. It has a a nicely favored sauce that we both enjoyed, but we both agreed it was bit too chewy/crunchy to be true Philly-style tomato pie, but still super tasty none-the-less. The sauce is a bit spicey and a bit chunkier than is traditional.

Headed down the road, we took a detour to Serpe's Bakery, an Italian bakery/institution in this area. I often see their quaint hand-lettered delivery trucks driving around, so being the lettering-geek-by-association I am for sign painting, I was ever so happy to finally be able to photograph one before they eventually update them with vinyl cut letters (Serpe's if you read this, please don't ever do that!). Their bakery has that old-school-Philly-Italian-bakery charm and my children were very intrigued by all the colorful cookies in the case. Poor things, they couldn't even have the free confections offered to them, but we could grab a slice of tomato pie for sampling. Now, Serpe's pie is way more traditional. Totally white flour, no chew, no crust base with oily/tomato paste topping. Theirs, however, has it's own distinction: a certain smokey flavor that we guessed was possibly roasted garlic. My daughter happily ate a full piece, and she barely ever eats a full piece of anything.

Overall, for tomato pie, everyone seemed to enjoy Serpe's the best, though we all like Black Lab's as well. Their crust is more focaccia-like and that's our favorite from them anyway, so everyone wins!

Black Lab Breads
812 N. Union Street
Wilmington, DE 19805
302-658-1307

Serpe & Sons Bakery
1411 Kirkwood Highway
Elsmere, DE 19805
302-994-1868

7 comments:

  1. This looks amazing...I totally hope I can track some down in the UK!

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  2. Interesting! Tomato pie is totally new to me... love special regional eats like this!

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  3. Seems tomato pie has bypassed NYC too, but it sure looks great. I'm with Hannah, regional food really interests me. There's a book by Nava Atlas called American Harvest that collects a lot of them and is really cute, if you like that stuff too.

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  4. I hadn't heard of tomato pie until reading this post. I'll have to give it a try if I can manage to track some down around here.

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  5. My mom has been talking about Serpe's tomato pie all my life! You should also check out Tony's off Paper Mill Rd. by University of Delaware.

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  6. Black Lab and Serpe's are both good, but the best pie ever, was at M&M Bakery - which unfortunately closed down several years ago. I still long for that tomato sauce and crust...YUMMMMMMM

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  7. The best tomato pie I've ever tasted is at the New York bakery in South Philadelphia. New york bakery, 2215 s 11th st, philadelphia, pa 19148

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