Roman-style pizza al taglio, the rectangular pizza sold by the slice or tray, is the specialty at Rione, now open at 102 S. 21st St., next to Poi Dog, in the space that last was Slate.
Behind this are Francesco and Alison Crovetti. He's 37, the world-traveled son of an Italian diplomat - born in London, raised in such countries as Pakistan, Peru, and Indonesia - with summers in Rome. She's 32, originally from Allentown and works in business development for the nonprofit Save the Children; before that, she worked for the United Nations.
"I want to be an ambassador for Rome, and especially Roman cuisine," Crovetti said, while kneading dough and forming it into a pan for its trip into his Moretti Forni. Dough gets a 72-hour rise, as he's going for pizza that is thick but light, airy, and easy to digest.
Rione means "neighborhood," and the Crovettis are aiming at serving the Rittenhouse area. (Dovetails beautifully with the casual Res Ipsa only a few blocks away.)
The Crovettis met in Milan, Italy, relocating in 2010 to Washington, D.C., where Francesco worked at Il Canale and Zaytinya.
In 2015, they came to Philadelphia - closer to Alison's family - and he worked at Gran Caffe L'Aquila following training at Rome's Scuola Nazionale di Pizza. He's been at the pizza biz for seven years, in both management and as a pizzaiolo specializing in pizza napoletana.
Everything is made in-house, including assorted fried snacks (suppli al telefono, as in rice croquettes, and crochette di patate, the potato croquettes). Slice prices are $3 to $5, depending on toppings. Salads are $5 to $7. Desserts are $4 to $6. Fountain sodas and bottled Italian sodas are available. It's BYO for beer and wine.
Rione's selection of pizza al taglio rotates, and the pizza can be ordered at the counter for dine-in or takeout. The quick-service area has bar seating for seven, while the dining room can accommodate 26.
Hours for now are 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, till 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and till 5 p.m. Sunday.
Check Francesco's technique here: