Friday, July 31, 2009

Where's the Tomato Pie?

I kept a diary in 1942,43,44 and 45 when I was in High School. As I looked through my diary recently, I noticed that our favorite snack after roller skating at Capital City Arena was a Tomato Pie. We usually stopped at Esposito's Tomato Pies located on the triangle where Lalor Street cut off from South Broad Street. We sometimes also stopped at Scotties at the White Horse corner for a soda but Tomato Pies seemed to have been the favorite.
I left high school in March of my senior year to enter the Navy. I was sent to boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Since I had enlisted as a radio technician recruit, I was sent to "Primary" radio school in the suburbs of Chicago after boot camp. The Navy had taken over Wright Junior College on Western Avenue. We slept in the gym, had meals in the cafeteria and attended classes in the class rooms. We were pretty much confined to that building for the 5 weeks or so that we were there. We only got off base on Saturdays and Sundays for a limited time.
It was during one of those off base sessions that I decided to get a Tomato Pie. I spent a good part of the day looking all over for a Tomato Pie place. I finally decided that the Tomato Pie had never made it to Chicago. After all one of the first Tomato Pie places in the whole country was established in the Chambersburg section of Trenton in 1910. I was stationed in Chicago for an additional 3 months and never found a Tomato Pie.
It was only years later that I discovered Pizza and made the connection. I had been looking for the wrong thing in Chicago. Technically there are some differences between a Tomato Pie and a Pizza but with so many variations of both it is hard to tell the difference.
If you go Trenton (and a few other places in the US) you will still see signs for "Tomato Pies" but probably not in Chicago.

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