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June 26, 2024

San Lucas Pizzeria in South Philly named among the 22 best pizza places in U.S. by the New York Times

The restaurant, which opened in 2005, was lauded for its unique toppings and cultural ties to Newbold's immigrant population.

Food & Drink Pizza
San Lucas Pizzeria San Lucas Pizzeria/Instagram

South Philly's San Lucas Pizzeria was named one of the best pizza spots in the country by the New York Times for its unique flavors, like the shrimp and avocado pie shown above.

Only one Philadelphia restaurant was nominated — and then lost — at this year's James Beard Awards, but the city's food scene again has something to brag about.

San Lucas Pizzeria, at 2000 S. Bouvier St. in Newbold, was named one of the 22 best pizza places in the country by the New York Times. It's the only pizza spot from Pennsylvania, Delaware and South Jersey to make the cut. The newspaper didn't give criteria for its rankings, but it noted how much America's pizza scene has grown since wood-fired Neapolitan pies made a splash in the early aughts.  

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When San Lucas Pizzeria opened in 2005, it sold pizzas with traditional toppings. But owners Valentin Palillero and Eva Mendez, who are married, later added options like guajillo sauce, pimentos, carnitas and black beans, which call back to Palillero's roots in Puebla, Mexico. It kicked off a Mexican topping trend in the city. 

"Nowadays, these varieties, served with a side of lime wedges, are as popular as the originals," NYT's Regan Stevens wrote of the restaurant. "But they're also a vivid link in a neighborhood that's been an epicenter of Italian and Mexican immigration, roughly three-quarters of a century apart."

San Lucas Pizzeria also offers burgers, stromboli, hoagies, cheesesteaks, tacos, quesadillas and huaraches. 

Though San Lucas was the only Philadelphia pizza parlor that made the list, the New York Times also included another with ties to the region. St. Pizza, in New Orleans, was co-founded by South Jersey native Tony Biancosino. 

San Lucas Pizzeria is open for delivery and pickup from 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays. It is closed on Wednesdays.