Paulie Gee’s, the popular Brooklyn-bred pizzeria, plans to open a slice shop this spring at the former Amis Trattoria, at 412 S. 13th St. in the city’s Washington Square West neighborhood.
Paul Giannone, known professionally as Paulie Gee, said he had his eye on Philadelphia for at least several years. His son Derek, who has lived in Philadelphia for nearly a decade, will run the business, whose retro interior will hark back to the pizzerias of the 1960s and 1970s.
The menu at Paulie Gee’s Soul City Slice will be limited to New York-style traditional rounds and squares with toppings (mainly cheese, sausage, and pepperoni), available by the slice and whole pie. Vegan pizzas will also be available, as they are in Brooklyn. Spumoni and water ice will be offered for dessert. (“Do you have gluten-free options?” is posted on the website’s FAQ. The response: “We have soda.”)
One of Paulie Gee’s biggest sellers is the Hellboy, a pepperoni pie drizzled with Mike’s Hot Honey, and the Freddy Prinze, an upside-down Sicilian with mozzarella, tomato sauce, Pecorino Romano, and a sesame-seed bottom.
The Giannones said the Philadelphia location would resemble the Brooklyn slice shop, with a black-and-white tile floor, wood-paneled walls, orange laminate seating, and, in this case, Sixers and Phillies posters. Vinyl oldies will spin on a record player.
Managing the shop will be a career change for Derek Gianonne, 30, who has helped his dad over the years but now works in addictions research. He came to Philadelphia to get his master’s degree from Drexel University.
For that matter, the pizza business also became a second chapter a dozen years ago for Paulie Gee, now 68. He was a self-described computer geek working in corporate information technology when he became fascinated with pizza-making in the mid-1990s.
As his obsession grew, he built a wood-burning oven in the backyard of his family’s North Jersey home and drew friends and pizza cognoscenti for tastings. In 2010, he opened his first shop in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, a dine-in spot serving wood-fired Neapolitan-inspired pizzas. He soon realized that quality suffered the moment those pillowy-crusted round pizzas were walked out the door. “A pizza box is a coffin to a Neapolitan,” Gee said. In 2014, he banned takeout and delivery in a bid to preserve quality.
In 2018, Gee followed up with the slice shop nearby, serving traditional New York-style pizza, which is best folded lengthwise to spare your shirt. The New York pies also have better travel prospects and as such, the slice shops offer takeout and delivery.
Paulie Gee’s opened a slice shop in New Orleans, and licenses locations in Baltimore, Columbus, Ohio, and three in the Chicago area.