photo credit: EMILY SCHINDLER

Hook & Master review image

Hook & Master


1361 N 2nd St, Philadelphia
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At first glance, you may think the Hook & Master team discovered a way to teleport you to the Pirates of the Caribbean set. There’s island-themed wallpaper, nautical figurines lining the dining room, and you’ll always find people sipping tiki cocktails at the bar. But—we’re here to assure you—despite the fishermen’s nets and wooden helm, it’s a pizzeria serving the best Chicago-style pies in town.

You’ll have no problem finding this bi-level spot on the corner of 2nd and Master—just look for the gigantic octopus mural crawling across the building. You'll walk into a cozy room and grab a seat at the seashell-laden bar next to a few neighborhood faithful complaining about the Phillies between shots of rum. Come when you're in the mood for the rowdiness that ensues at Happy Hour on both floors. That’s when they have $4 and $5 slices, $7.50 Citywides, and everyone from the large group tables up top to the crowd watching the TV below is as loud as the “back door!” shouters on a crowded SEPTA bus. 

Hook & Master review image

photo credit: EMILY SCHINDLER

Ignore the Brooklyn and tavern-style pizzas here and go straight for the deep dish Chicago-style pies. There are over 20 topping options, ranging from roasted long hots or chargrilled octopus (which really works) to cured egg yolk shavings and smoked bacon lardons. The crust is doughy, pillowy, and hefty enough to withstand the weight of any fantasy pizza combination you can think of. Each bite has crisp, caramelized edges and melted mounds of cheese. It’s so good, we’ll forgive them for making us feel like they’re about to host a limbo contest in the corner.

But don’t let the kitschy setting fool you. While it may look like an aisle in Party City, when you’re in the mood for some really good Chicago-style pizza, this is the spot. 

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Food Rundown

Hook & Master review image

photo credit: EMILY SCHINDLER


The crudo here changes daily, so you can expect cuts of hamachi dressed with yuzu, jalapeño, cilantro aioli, and wasabi, or ahi tuna with citrus and black olive aioli. Like most crudo dishes, all the ingredients tie in to give you something light and refreshing, with subtle acidity, but all in all, they’re pretty forgettable–you can skip it.

Hook & Master review image

photo credit: EMILY SCHINDLER


If you need a little something before your pizza, this is the small plate to get. The grilled octopus is juicy with a perfect char, and is accompanied by things like romesco-marinated piquillo peppers or a streak of hummus on the corner of your plate.

Hook & Master review image

photo credit: EMILY SCHINDLER

Tiki Cocktails

Since the bar is (kind of) island themed, they have everything from multiple rum flights to specialty tiki drinks that nicely balance sweetness and tang. If you try the Tiger Shark, you won’t be disappointed–it’s their version of a whiskey sour that gets a little sweetness from coconut milk.

Hook & Master review image

photo credit: EMILY SCHINDLER

Brooklyn-Style Pizza

The same level of magic and execution found in the Chicago-style pan pizzas isn’t present in the Brooklyn pies. The crust is thin and crisp, but unlike the deep-dish option, the toppings don’t survive the journey to your mouth. There are some creative options like long hot relish with sausage or a chicken alfredo pizza that has parmesan cream, but the flavors don’t do enough to distract from the fact that the toppings slide right off the slice (or that you can get a better slice at Beddia or Wm. Mulherin's Sons nearby).

Hook & Master review image

photo credit: EMILY SCHINDLER

Chicago-Style Pizza

With a rim of toasty, cheesy flavor and a sweet basil sauce, this is a must-order. We’re partial to the pepperoni and hot honey, but with so many topping combinations and a thick, chewy crust to hold them all, you can let your “I like to mix every Slurpee flavor in one cup” flag fly.

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