'Tonight' delivery puts Upper Darby pizzeria in the spotlight

Surprising Upper Darby girl Tina Fey, "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon offers her a slice from her favorite hometown pizzeria, Pica's.
Surprising Upper Darby girl Tina Fey, "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon offers her a slice from her favorite hometown pizzeria, Pica's.
Posted: March 14, 2014

THANKS to the comedic duo of Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey, one Upper Darby family is cheesing from ear to ear.

During the March 3 broadcast of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Fallon surprised Fey - his former "Saturday Night Live" castmate and a guest that evening - on air with a large pizza from her favorite hometown spot, Pica's Restaurant in Upper Darby.

The plain, rectangular pie with cheese on the dough and sauce on top has been a staple at the family-owned business since 1941, when its late founder, Frank Pica Sr., opened the original location at 62nd and Race streets, in West Philadelphia.

Customer response to the "Tonight" appearance "started the very next day . . . and it's been extremely busy ever since," said manager Lori Pica-Rosario, a fan of Fey's work on "SNL." "This was something we were not expecting, because we thought Tina would receive the pizza behind the scenes and not on air. We are beyond thrilled. This has given us a sense of pride in our family business, our employees and our customers."

The Pica family - owner Frank Pica Jr., wife Camille and their adult children Angela Pica-Oandasan, Karen Pica, Frank Pica III and Lori Pica-Rosario - are the masterminds behind the menu's family recipes.

At its current location since 1956, the business has expanded from a pizzeria to a full restaurant and banquet hall.

The "Tonight Show" exposure came about when show writer Luke Cunningham, also an Upper Darby native, mentioned in a Philadelphia magazine article that he and Fey had a conversation about the pizza at Pica's. The story mentioned that Fey would be a guest March 3 and included the words "Hint to Pica's: SEND PIZZA."

Frank Pica Jr. didn't need a second hint. He contacted Cunningham and set the plan into action.

A Fallon intern took the train down from New York City and scooped up three pies at 30th Street Station that afternoon, then hightailed it back to the studio.

Fallon presented it to her as he was interviewing her. Fey wasted no time flipping open the box and eating a saucy, square slice.

Now, new customers from as far away as New Jersey and Maryland have traveled to Upper Darby to taste what all the fuss is about. Last Saturday night, customers were packed shoulder-to-shoulder, waiting for a seat.

"When I got there, the parking lot was ridiculously congested," said Terra Bundy, of Overbrook Park, at the restaurant last Saturday for her daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party. "I wondered what was going on, and someone explained that it was extra-packed because Tina Fey talked about the pizza on TV. It was our first time there, but I'm glad I picked them for the occasion because we really enjoyed the food."

Miss the shout-out to Pica’s on "The Tonight Show"? Watch Tina Fey chow down on a special delivery from the Upper Darby pizzeria while plugging the new "Muppets" movie.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|