The decision is difficult. Narrowing down your choice of the many slice options at Tomato Pie in Silverlake can make you feel like Sophie, why can I not take them all?
What might be Tomato Pie’s ‘house’ pizza, the ‘Grandma,’ is a simple Margherita pizza, a perfect combination of mozzarella cheese, “smashed” tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic. ‘Mr. White’ is cluttered with garlic, three different cheeses, no sauce, and is frankly, freakin’ delicious. The eggplant parmigiana’s bready coat is salty and crunchy, the eggplant inside tender and fresh. ‘Mr. Green,’ with spinach, pesto, artichoke, and assorted veggies, is a savory vegetarian treat.
Tomato Pie can bring the meat as well, with the ‘Meat Lover,’ and ‘Deluxe’ house pies generously topped with spicy pepperoni, sausage, ham, and bacon. The restaurant’s carnivorous add-ons include Canadian bacon, ground beef or meatballs, and grilled chicken. There is also the ‘Joe P,’ named for the father of founder Garrett Policastro (‘Grandma’ sauce with sausage, white onion, and red bell pepper). In general, there is no shortage of toppings. From anchovy and arugula to zucchini, you have myriad options.
The pastas and subs are definitely east coast inspired (in Massachusetts these sandwiches would be called ‘grinders,’ pronounced ‘grindas’). For instance, the spaghetti and meatballs is probably the most straightforward dish of this kind to be found in L.A., at least east of Damiano’s. But it has to be the pizza that keeps folks coming back.
Tomato Pie is tucked away, at the awkward intersection of Hyperion and Tracy, in Silverlake. Their sign is tiny, a salon occupies the front space, and the parking lot is always full. In other words, the place is easy to miss. On the plus side, the restaurant’s exterior is painted orange. In all honesty, this pizza joint is one of those special finds one hesitates to share. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand.
Policastro explains that Tomato Pie was started with the intent not only to fill the gaping void of decent pizza in Los Angeles, but also, “to pay homage to the things that seem to be increasingly missing from the fabric of our culture: respect, consistency, quality, progressive thinking and a responsibility to the community.” Adding, “And not to sound self-aggrandizing, but we’re out to change people’s lives.”
Indeed, a slice of ‘Mr. White’ or ‘Miss Green’ (pesto, spinach, artichoke, zucchini, broccoli, ricotta, shaved parmesan) coupled with a Mexican Coke with real cane sugar, or the healthier choice of a natural, coconut water, could potentially change at least, your afternoon.