As I walk through the double doors of Blackbird’s entrance, I have to remind myself that I am not just entering a punk rock art gallery with only the aroma of pizza permeating my nostrils. It is in fact a pizzeria with amazing options for a hungry vegan.
I soon settled down with a slice of vegan pepperoni and a large side of spicy sweet wings. That’s right, you naysayers who think vegans are limited by their diets! Say hello to Blackbird’s little friends: vegan chicken wings. They come in flavors like root beer barbecue, spicy sweet and a fiery habanero buffalo.
The pizzeria itself sits near South Street, the road you drunkenly stumbled upon to giggle and laugh inside Condom Kingdom. You can eat inside Blackbird with some card carrying anarchists clad in jean jackets, tight black denim and Vans slip-ons or outside on 6th Street and watch the Philadelphia Parking Authority write six tickets for three cars in half an hour.
While I waited for my mouth watering slice and animal-less wings, I perused the rest of the menu. If a good ole fashioned pepperoni slice and wings don’t melt your heart and make you sweat out of your scalp like mine does, try a large “Popeye,” which of course includes spinach as well as olives, shiitake mushrooms and pumpkin seed pesto. I ate a slice of a Popeye last month and nearly grew a bicep.
This is no Ed’s vegan pizza, which tastes all right in a pinch (or at a club meeting). The bliss they serve in edible form is conveyed by my favorite, the Nacho pizza: a cornucopia of avocado, caramelized onions, jalapeño peppers, tomato sauce and cheddar style Daiya cheese.
Didn’t eat breakfast this morning? Try the “Brunchbird,” a pie topped with tofu scramble, coconut bacon, spinach, garlic butter, and that delectable Daiya cheese. Just don’t try it before your brother’s wedding in a suit he bought you, like I did a while back.
All marriages aside, when my wings were placed delicately on my lacquered wooden table, I nearly cried vegan tears—no animals were harmed in the making of those tears. The spicy sweet flavor reminds me of the sweet tastes of some American-Chinese foods — my favorite foods — so the memories that cascade down my neural synapses all trigger an endorphin release unknown to omnivores.
Just when I thought Blackbird couldn’t blow my mind with enough vegan pizza to crush a Tyson chicken factory, I checked out their sandwich options on their menu. “Cheesesteak?” you may ask with a head cocked to the side like my Welsh Terrier, Maggie. Of course, and in true Philly style, it comes “wit whiz” (just when I thought cheese whiz had nothing but artificially made ingredients anyway).
Possibly the most spot on of the “Are you sure this is vegan?” sandwiches I have had here are the cubano and the chickpea “tuna” sandwiches. With the latter being made of mostly vegetables and chickpeas, the cubano comes stacked with tofu, seitan pepperoni and coconut bacon while being flavored with onions, pickles, and smothered in Daiya cheese.
Have you drooled all over the Arts & Entertainment section yet? Well, you should, and then you should pedal your way to pizza munching and lip smacking goodness at Blackbird Pizzeria while pounding your earholes with some Fugazi or Bad Brains. Don’t forget to hit up the desserts afterwards, because vegan whoopie pies are abound!
Blackbird Pizzeria is located on 507 South 6th St., between Lombard and South streets.