Favorite Spot: Sorrentos
Address: 1624 W Olney Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19141
I am: An engineer, turned activist, turned teacher, turned robotics education enthusiast who appreciates the mountains of Montana as much as Passyunk Ave.
Years in Philly: 6
Current Home: West “The Best” Philly
My Love Note
The corner of Ogontz and Olney is famous for being the home of the second oldest public school in the country, a place I have called home for the past six years. But this love note is not directed toward good ol’ Central High.
On the other corner of the street lies Sorrento’s Pizzeria (technically Sorrento’s 2), a place most South Philadelphians would scoff at, but a place that has provided me nourishment in the best and worst of times. Their pizza is greasy, the cleanliness of their cooking surfaces are questionable, and there are often muggings and shootings within a couple blocks. In fact, I believe they were shut down for a bit last year due to a poor health inspection. Their service doesn’t help either; they always seem to be too busy to help you and slightly annoyed that you walked through their squeaky door in the first place.
That being said, how else are you going to feed 40 robotics kids at 7pm in Olney? We tried other options but they were either more expensive, not dependable, or just bad. See the truth is – and again with the scoffing – Sorrento’s is the closest I’ve come to real NY style pizza in Philly. It superbly passes the fold test, has a constant stream of grease, the cheese oozes with the perfect viscosity after each bite, and your hands are left a little blackened after eating. They don’t have the best sauce, but Sorrento’s gets it right in every other way.
To this former New Yorker, pizza is more about experience than taste, and for Sorrento’s, the experience that I have shared with them over the last six years is inextricably linked to the overall quality of the pizza. By my estimation, our robotics team has spent close to $10,000 on that deliciously greasy pizza over that time span. It has been present for birthday parties for coaches and mentors and it has served has fuel on late nights before competitions. My students have bonded over that pizza. I’m sure they could each tell you a story that occurred over a couple pies of Sorrento’s (including when they corrected me for calling them pies). Once, Sorrento’s Pizza was there when the cops came to kick us out of the building at midnight.
There are many people, places, and things I am going to miss as I move on to a new career, but Sorrento’s Pizza is closely tied to so many good memories that it has to rank in the top ten. If you try their pizza, close your eyes and try to imagine working with large groups of hungry kids until all hours of the night and seeing the joy in their eyes when those beautiful steaming boxes arrive. Then it will become the best pizza in the world.
Oh, and don’t try the Sorrentos Pepperoni Roll Up. It is a heart attack by the fourth mouthful.