Two years ago, when leading up to The Fell’s Point Fun Festival, I did a series of posts featuring pizza from restaurants, pizzerias, and the like from the neighborhood. I didn’t do them all, I didn’t avoid any on purpose, but I wanted to discuss some that may be off the radar or not within anyone’s crosshairs on a regular basis.
Then there’s Hot Tomatoes. It’s one of those things where if you live or hang out in the area, you know what you’re getting. I was thinking myself that it was too obvious and almost unnecessary to write about this establishment. This is not a knock on them or their food. It’s just that it’s always been there and it’s not going anywhere. And imagine any late night, especially on the weekends, where slices are coming and going at a rapid-fire place. The place isn’t going anywhere as long as people had a good night (or even a bad night) out and need something to finish the night off and feed their bellies.
But with the Festival starting this weekend, I felt like if I’m not going to write about Hot Tomatoes now, I may never.
For me, I don’t know if I have any sentimental attachment to Hot Tomatoes. I’ve been and many of us have been too many times to count. But after a while we look for other sources for greasy food to keep us satisfied. And while a couple of places have closed nearby (Little Italy Pizzeria and Italian Graffiti come to mind), this neighborhood staple has stood the test of time. Having a prominent location on Broadway helps. Location….
So how’s the pizza? Its’s pizza. It’s food. There’s some folks prepping the pies, putting sauce, putting cheese, toppings, and throwing it in the oven. Then when it’s ready they’ll slice it up and put it in a box or you to go. See where I’m going with this? It’s pizza that looks rough, is not going to win any world title belts, but it serves its purpose. And that’s just the way they want it. And it’s just pizza. Many of us at later hours don’t care about artisanal quality and world renowned craftsmanship.
But something happened recently. They’ve changed their slices up quite a bit. I had a Greek slice with olives, onions, feta, and a whole slew of awesomeness. It was a white based and it was surprisingly good. I mean that with all sincerity. Because of Hot Tomatoes presents itself, you expect what you expect. But when they throw a good slice that is, your taste buds are feeling good and it’s a welcome change from the standard cheese and pepperoni. If this slice is on display this weekend I’ll gladly get another.
Their slices are in the $4-$5 range but their big, and prices at the late night hour are really not what folks are worrying about.
What is their true stand out if their deep fried cheese steak. They don’t always make it, but when it’s there, jump on it. It’s the most unhealthy and glorious of all guilty pleasures. I’ve always had to split mine with a pal. It’s incredibly bad for you, yet incredibly delish all at once.
And now their other venture, at the same location, Diablo Doughnuts is really wowing people. I had my first opportunity to try their sweet treats and a wedding last weekend. I believe I had one with fruity pebbles. So good.
This has been updated with my actual first purchase of donuts from said Diablo, during the festival, which was rather mellow on Sunday.
I grabbed an iced coffee, along with a Samoa (yes the Girl Scout kind), and a Blackberry Lime. I thought they were both fine, but in what ways do I compare this to other doughnuts? I like the creativity of flavors, but not sure if this is anything amazing in my eyes. They were tasty though. That’ all that matters.
I’m assuming they will still have a stand outside of their shoppe. Per neighborhood and logistical changes the festival will be condensed this year, to try to make it even a heavier focus on local business and give it a more cozy and welcoming feel. I’ve always felt was it inviting and approachable to people from all walks of life. I’m hoping this change is a good one. We shall see.
Broadway Square, with the exception of the pretzel dog and lemonade stand, has opened back up in time for this weekend. All signs pointing to a positive experience and a great time.
I’ve been attending this festival every year, except for 2003, since 2000. It’s become a part of me, a part of many of us, and it’s that first weekend in October that many of us look forward too. For me, it hasn’t always been the most amazing of times, mainly because I think the festival got carried away with trying to be too big and getting carried away with outside food, drink, and traveling carnival like vendors.
But the last few years have been fantastic, with being able to drink on the streets, and keep it more local, has been a welcome addition. And an addition by subtraction.
For those attending this weekend, here is the link to the maps and parking at the festival, the band list, purchasing drink packages (it’s $20 for 3 drinks versus $5 for just the cup in previous years), and contact information.
With so many many changes going on in the city and one of the great neighborhoods in the country, I’m hoping the integrity and heart will always be there.
We’ll be seeing ya this weekend.
Take good care,