How does one decide which slice of pizza to order when none of the pizzas are off limits? The freshest one out of the oven, of course.
Straight out of the oven, a hot, fresh pie topped with perfectly toasted artichoke hearts, soft and sweet caramelized onions, just enough crumbles of peppery seitan sausage, and Daiya cheese (the non-soy vegan cheese voted most popular in school by those who like melty and creamy personalities), slid into the counter display case next to a plain vegan cheese pizza and a vegan pepperoni pizza. Hot or not, the vegan artichoke pizza had my name on it.I should stop using vegan as a descriptor, because at Blackbird Pizzeria, the recently opened and much anticipated pizza and sandwich shop, everything is vegan. Into the same space on 6th Street formerly occupied by Gianna's Grille, the loved/hated vegan and non-vegan pizzeria (everyone loved Gianna's until they fessed up to knowingly serving vegans non-vegan cheese), Blackbird has landed and taken the same genre of food (vegan pizza and sandwiches), waved a magic wand, and made vegan pizza and sandwiches a hundred times better.
I'm sure Blackbird's chef and co-owner, Mark Meebus, previously a chef at Philly's haute vegan restaurant, Horizons, helped foster the sense of pride in food that is clearly evident at Blackbird, along with partner Ryan Moylan.
I'm going to add Blackbird's pizza to the list of new Philly pizza darlings which includes Stella and Zavino. The dough at Blackbird is a bit different, though, and, dare I say, I think I like Blackbird's better.
Blackbird's always crispy and never saggy crust offers a little something for all types of crust lovers — thick, medium, and thin. Thin in the middle, gradually growing thicker toward the outside, and then a huge lip that is crispy on the outside, but soft and warm on the inside. Some may say that huge pizza lip is a waste, but get a hot pie straight out of the oven and I think you'll be a big-lip convert. All you vegans who suffered through the dog food-like vegan cheesesteaks at Gianna's, come to Blackbird and see how a vegan cheesesteak should be done. Seitan at Blackbird is supplied by Upton's Naturals in Chicago, and their thinly sliced "Philly style" seitan is browned on a griddle along with green peppers, onions, and mushrooms fill a crusty, long roll, the heat melting the mild Daiya cheese into a proper goo that seeps throughout. One of the best cheesesteaks I've ever eaten, and comes about as close to the real thing as you'd want.
Zing! And, just like that, Blackbird waved it's magic wand and elevated the casual cuisine of vegan pizza and cheesesteaks.
Sandwiches will set you back about $8. A plain cheese pizza slice is $3, and a whole plain cheese pizza is $15. Pizza toppings are extra, and include goodies such as seitan pepperoni, seitan sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, fennel, artichokes, caramelized onions, avocado, jalapeno, black olives, and garlic. A bbq portobello sandwich, fries, and sweets from Vegan Treats are also on the current menu, which should see a few new items in the near future.
While the business gets going full force, it's cash only and hours are limited to Tuesday-Sunday from 3pm-10pm. Delivery has yet to be rolled out, but when it does Blackbird and their pizzas will be on auto-dial.
507 S. 6th St., Philadelphia, PA 19147