I FKING LOVE THIS RESTAURANT

A Pizzeria Beloved for Its Dumplings and Merguez

Philadelphia’s Stina Pizzeria is a peculiar place

Alex Tewfik
Heated
Published in
5 min readNov 22, 2019

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Stina Pizzeria photo

A typical dinner spread at Philadelphia’s Stina Pizzeria might include a pepperoni pizza, an Italian hoagie, a plate of spaghetti with mussels, and maybe a kale salad. But if I were you, I’d ignore the pizzas entirely. Not because they’re bad, of course — the kitchen’s beating heart is a wood-fired oven, so the Neapolitan-style pies are blistered to the nines.

I just don’t go to Stina for pizzas and sandwiches. No, I go for the manti dumplings sweating chile oil; for Turkish pide stuffed with merguez; for the charred octopus tentacle curled on a plate with edible flowers and swipes of black garlic. All funny things to order at a pizzeria, I know.

From upper left: pide, upper right: manti, bottom right: spanikopita. All photos from Stina Pizzeria

Funny like owner Bobby Saritsoglou’s mutton chops. Like the clown art and old marionettes that hang from the walls. Like the overt meta-ness of the old picture frames framed inside larger picture frames, and mirrors reflecting other mirrors. Outside, the restaurant is sandwiched between an old laundromat and a nail salon. There’s a Sunoco station directly across the street. Sit in the tables by the window, and those are the views.

By pizzeria standards, Stina Pizzeria is a very peculiar place. But Stina was never really going to be just about pizza. Bobby and his wife, Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou, had bigger plans for their restaurant. Stina is about its neighborhood, West Passyunk. Stina is about building a community. And sometimes, Stina is about merguez sausage.

By pizzeria standards, Stina Pizzeria is a very peculiar place (geographically; conceptually). But Stina was never really going to be just about pizza.

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