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  • j

While IMing with my old college boyfriend, we somehow got on the subject of panzarottis. We went to what was then Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in southern NJ in the mid-eighties, and there was a pizza place on Route 322 called Campus Pizza which used to make the absolute best panzarottis. Basically they were deep-fried calzones, but when they were hot and fresh out of the oil ... I'm drooling now just thinking about them. I have never encountered panzarottis before or since them--they seem to be a uniquely South Jersey thing. Are they still around?

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  1. Someone brought deep fried calzones to the Chowhound get together at No Idea. I didn't try them b/c I was too full, but they looked delicious and reports are they were...

    They were from House of Pizza and Calzone, Union Street between Columbia and Hicks in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

    6 Replies
    1. re: shortstop


      My apologies for posting a place in Brooklyn when you made the request on the Mid-Atlantic board. I was not paying attention, and thought I was posting to the Tri-state region board and that Brooklyn might not be too far out of your way.


      1. re: shortstop

        Considering that I live in Virginia now, I'd say Brooklyn WAS just a tad out of my way, yes. ;)

        But I'll be in the NYC area this summer, so a trip to Brooklyn might not be entirely out of the question ...

      2. re: shortstop

        These calzones that were brought to the NYC No Idea social is definitely not the same thing as the panzarotti that's described in this thread. I was doing a little bit of snooping for panzarotti, because I'm accustomed to panzarotti being something slightly different. In Boston's north end, I would get these deep fried mashed potato fritters filled with cheese and herbs that are also called panzarotti (at Galeria Umberto). These are fantastic, by the way. Anyway, as I was Googling "panzarotti", I came upon a site with a brief history of the southern jersey panzarotti (deep within the link below). Then I noticed that the panzarotti link was from a small chain of italian sandwich shops in southern NJ called Gaetano's, where I have had the best cheesesteaks ever. So, to be consistent with this thread, check out the Gaetano's link and scroll down for the link to the panzarotti ... and be sure to look at those photos of the hoagies.

        Link: http://www.gaetanosteaks.com/Menu.html

        1. re: Eric Eto

          The panzarottis in the picture look yummy - and yes, they are nothing like the fried calzones that were brought to the No Idea social. Thanks for clearing that up as I would feel terribly guilty if JerseyGirl trekked out to House of Pizza and Calzone on her visit to the area, expecting to find panzarottis, only to be disappointed.

          p.s. Eric, you do find some of the most mouthwatering food pictures. These and those apple fritters...

          1. re: Eric Eto

            I'm a big fan of the Galleria Umberto panzarotti..you describe it well..but it sounds so different from the others..will the real panzarotti please stand up?? :)

            1. re: Eric Eto

              Gaetano's used to be the best cheesesteak on the planet until they started franchising. Now they are just like every other place. The thing they used to do in their original Willingboro location was give you twice the meat and cheese in a perfectly cooked sandwich for the price of only a little more than one. Now they charge you twice as much, and it just doesn't seem the same.

              85 W Somerset St, Raritan, NJ 08869

          2. Jerseygirl,
            Thanks for the memories! I attended Glassboro State College from 1977-79 and I remember panzarottis. We used to order them a couple of times a week from our dorm (Mullica). Was just telling my family about them. I live in North Jersey (Union) and have yet to see a panzarotti anywhere other than Glassboro. I did hear of a place up here that sells them frozen. I remember the pizza down there was lousy. We used to go to a place called Tina's which was greasy, but the closest thing to North Jersey/N.Y. style pizza. I have fond memories of the Franklin House and Mazzeo's Tavern also. There was a neighborhood bar a little further that I forgot the name of. A nice little place with good food. Wonder if it's still there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: John

              My business partner Gary Catrambone helped run the radio station at Glassboro from 76-77 to 79-80. Did you ever listen?

            2. s
              South Jersey epicurean

              I'm just getting to this website a little more often. Here's the "skinny" on what is a true Panzarotti!!! It IS a South Jersey Delicacy!!! Let no Brooklyn or other clone be accepted as the real one. The follow-up comments are correct. A Panzarotti is NOT a deep-fired calzone.... A calzone has usually 2-3 kinds of cheeses (mozzarella, ricotta), and a ham/pork product inside with very little sauce. In simplest terms, a panzarotti is an "inside-out pizza that is fried." Your basic one has mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce inside the dough. The secret to the panzarotti is the dough!! At best, it is the best egg roll dough you ever had, only thicker and doughier!!

              The place that has the best ones are at Franco's Place, Haddon Avenue in Westmont, NJ!!! (down the road from Haddonfield). Like a pizza, you can get any "pizza topping" inside of your panzarotti. I love a mushroom one!!! Some locals will argue that the original and best panzarotti comes from Tarantini's in Pennsauken, NJ. Tarantini's has started selling them to pizza places and Wawa's where consumers can now buy them throughout South Jersey. I'm not saying Tarantini's are not good, but Franco's Place will be the ONLY place for me for panzarotti!!! Westmont & Pennsauken are both South Jersey towns outside of Philadelphia.

              Franco's Place also has great sandwiches, pasta dishes, and an above ordinary salad bar too. So it is a South Jersey thing. Whatever you people got in Glassboro might have been good, but not the original or the best. (I'm not an owner of Franco's Place or own any stock in them.) Franco's has been around for 40-50 years; a firm part of my youth. Visitors to South Jersey always are taken there as part of the culture of the area.

              6 Replies
              1. re: South Jersey epicurean
                Paul Tarantini

                Panzarottis originated in Camden at Tarantini Panzaritti Inc. Not at Francos in Westmont. The ownner of Francos is one of the owners of Tarantini panzarotti, and Vincents Pizza in Merchantville not Pennsauken is owned by the other one. So the place in Merchatville not Pennsauken does have the the orignal Tarantini Psnzarotti.

                1. re: South Jersey epicurean

                  Hey, I hate to tell you but Franco's IS Tarantini's! It's owned by the Tarantini family (we know them) and the panzarotti's at Franco's Place and Tarantini's are the same. And anyplace else that sells them in the area, HAS to buy from Tarantini's since they've got a copyright on them.

                  1. re: Another Hawk

                    I miss them being in Haddon Township, since I live there..but at least we can still get them at other places...I grew up on them...my sister was here from Colorado yesterday and thats all she wanted was a Tarantini's panzarotti!

                  2. re: South Jersey epicurean

                    Oh man, I can't believe it. I used to go to South Jersey every Saturday for ballet rehersals and right around the corner in this really tiny shop where they sold the best panzarottis. I had never heard of them before. I lived in Center City Philadelphia. So when saturdays would arrive I really look forward to walking to get one. I only know them as the inside out pizza that you are all describing. This was WAY back in the 80's. I'm married to a chef now and I'm going to try and see if he can figure out how to make one. Are they still around in south jersey?

                    1. re: South Jersey epicurean

                      Franco's had to relocate from Westmont to Haddonfield last year. There were threats from Westmont re imminent domain takeover of the property. They failed and now the old Franco's site is about to open as a different Italian place.

                      Franco's is now across from the Haddonfield post ofice.

                      1. re: South Jersey epicurean

                        Franco's is excellant.......! I have loved them as a little kid; but they moved to Haddonfield....a little tiny place; but we get take-out and they are delish......a cheese and sauce panzarotti and the newspaper.....make a wonderful afternoon

                      2. Panzarottis are actually a south philadelphia thing that moved out to south jersey when people from south philly started moving out to south jersey. I have never seen them anywhere else besides those two areas. Most people from outside south philly/jersey, have no idea what I'm even talking about when i bring them up. But they are the best things ever.

                        1. Panzarottis! I remember them well. I've been eating them since I was a little girl. My dad used to drive my sisters and me to pick up those tasty deep fried turnovers that South Jersey residents know as panzarottis. Take just one bite of that crispy layer and then watch the cheese ooze out! And the sauce tasted so good. I can still smell the aroma that came from the panzarotti shop. Then, there were the good ole' days when Panzarottis were just a buck! My favorite was the mushroom filling. As a teen my sisters and I would save our quarters and would take a walk to the little panzarotti shop in Merchantville. We even got our non italian friends lovin them! My sisters and I are grown up now and have children of our own , but be sure that we have passed on this tradition to our children and we intend to pass it on to their children as well. I believe that Tarantini's Panzarotti's is truly a part of Italian culture in South Jersey, and it should be, in my opinion, shared with the rest of the world. Coming from an Italian American raised in South Jersey, that statement should hold some weight. I am now living in Georgia, far from the italian culinary specialties that I could only get in New Jersey, "THE GARDEN STATE." Eating panzarottis remind me of home and family, which are dear to me. This memory I have shared with you in hope that someday soon Tarantini's will tantalize the tastebuds of these Georgian folks!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: kim
                            judy terilla

                            I remember the tarantini family when they first came to camden nj and opened up their 1st shop on marlton pike shortly after the moved to a somewhat larger store upstairs I went to grammar school at St Joe's procatherdal with Yolanda and often went with her after school to the store to get a panzarroti I remember purchasing a panzarroti from the back of the truck in the pizza ovens when the boys would deliver them for 25cents at the high school (woodrow wilson)
                            my husband and I recently went back to deptford twp nj for our niece's wedding and low and behold when we arrived in time for dinner our 1st meal was a panzarrotti why don't they have them in naples fl
                            we even brought back a full box of panzarrotti's on the plane ride back thank's for the memories they
                            still tasted as great as they did back in the 60's

                            1. re: judy terilla

                              HA...I also went to St. Joe's Pro Catherdal, and the little Panzarotti cart would pull up and the school would go crazy. My kids grew up on them to, since Francos was in Haddon Township, where we live. My sister was here from Colorado yesterday, and that is all she wanted

                            2. re: kim
                              judy terilla

                              I remember the tarantini family when they first came to camden nj and opened up their 1st shop on marlton pike shortly after the moved to a somewhat larger store upstairs I went to grammar school at St Joe's procatherdal with Yolanda and often went with her after school to the store to get a panzarroti I remember purchasing a panzarroti from the back of the truck in the pizza ovens when the boys would deliver them for 25cents at the high school (woodrow wilson)
                              my husband and I recently went back to deptford twp nj for our niece's wedding and low and behold when we arrived in time for dinner our 1st meal was a panzarrotti why don't they have them in naples fl
                              we even brought back a full box of panzarrotti's on the plane ride back thank's for the memories they
                              still tasted as great as they did back in the 60's

                            3. just over the bridge, in a pizza shack at 22nd and Snyder called "Florida Style Pizza" lives the most awesome inside out pizzas ever!! They have this dough with a fry taste that I can't put my finger on, but will dream about from the second I type this until I put one in my mouth.

                              1. I just uploaded two photos from my last meal at Franco's - now a mile up the street from Westmont in Haddonfield. You can get various fillings but this one was pepperoni.


                                1. I used to get a killer panzarotti at the Lucky 7 on Stokes Road in Medford in the 80's. Unfortunately, the Lucky 7 is no longer there. I haven't thought about a panzarotti in a long time, and my mouth is watering. Looks like I will be stopping by the Gaetano's in Marlton the next time I visit Mom!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: toro head

                                    Doubt they called it a panzarotti, but years ago had a calzone that was deep fried at a small pizza place in a strip mall before the bridge to get to Seaside Heights. That was a great memory of my HS years. Just like an Italian chimichanga LOL.

                                  2. There are panzarottis available in Wilmington, too. I've never had one, and in fact I had never even seen/noticed this food item before last weekend--interesting that this post should pop back up right now. On Saturday night I was driving up N. Lincoln St. in Wilmington, through our Little Italy, and saw these advertised at an Italian pizza/sandwich place there. It struck me at the time that I had no idea what a panzarotti was, and that maybe I should find out!

                                    1. There is a place in Ridley Park, PA called Double Decker Pizza that makes probably the best inside outs in the state. Perfect dough, lots of fillings and just enough sauce so you can taste it, but it doesn't get all over you when you squeeze it. Take note, though - always get something on it, even if it is just extra cheese. They make plain ones in advance and freeze them. They're not quite as good as the ones made fresh.

                                      1. Wow...it's been a while since I've had a panzarotti. I was first introduced to them as a kid when a friend of mine moved from my neighborhood in Willingboro to Merchantville. When I first visited him, he took me to Vincent's Pizza for panzarottis. After one hot and steamy bite, I was in love. Looking back, it's one of those moments where I was starting to realize that food was becoming more than just a way to give my body energy. Thanks for triggering that memory!

                                        1. I was born and bred on Panzarottis!! My mom grew up in Camden and I have heard the story a million times -- how all the Tarantini kids worked to make money to help the family open up the first place, which was tiny as a closet. My mom and grandmother went and tried to order a pizza, but instead were introduced to the delectable piece of fried heaven! You really can't be a member of my family without experiencing and loving the panzarotti . . . thankfully my dad and my brother-in-law both passed the test. I live in Boston now, but I try to get my hands on a panzarotti (2, actually -- one sweet sausage and one mushroom) with every trip I make to Jersey to see my family. There aren't enough m's in yummmmmmmmmmmm to properly describe them . . .

                                          1. In Milan Italy they serve Panzerotto YUMMY!

                                            I did take a road trip to Franco's Place in Haddonfield NJ for a Panzerotti - Is this where I was suppose to taste it from? Let me know if this is the BEST in NJ. Thank you.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: shabbystorm

                                              Franco's has closed down, but they did have the "original" Panzarotti Tarrontini's delivered to them...yes, you ate the best, but not at the best place !

                                            2. I was about 12 when I had my first "Panzarrotti Tarrantini" ( deep fried as they are known for ).. they were 99 cents then & they were sold out of the "Erlton Bakery" next door to the Cherry Hill Firestation on Route 70, in Cherry Hill N.J. They where so overwhelmed that they had to move to a bigger place to accomadate their business, so they moved to a factory on Marlton Pike in Camden NJ, & they are still in business today but only sell to Pizza / hoagie joints etc where ever you see the sign " ORIGIAL PANZAROTTI TARRANTINI", since they have their own receipe for the sauce & dough, that is still the same today. I am 57 years old now & I had one tonight & they are just as delicious as they were when I enjoyed them when I first had one, & except for the price ( $4.25 to $4.50 depending on the store) they are still worth it. They also had a restaurant on Haddon Ave in Westmont NJ but that didn't do as well, & they served all kinds of Italian meals, that ...well, were not that good to me since I am Italian & go w/ the old school cooking, & they only had the American idea of Italian cooking w/ kids doing the cooking, & therefore the resturant didn't make it, but the panzarotti's are still going as strong as day one.... Come to South Jersey & look for the sign in any pizza joint but don't settle for anything else as there are lots of names & copycats, but will never be the same flavor.

                                              1. The Tarantini family still make and distribute Tarantino Panzarotti's. I used to sell them in a bar kitchen in Gloucester City, NJ. They are easily made, but, most people don't know that they have to be frozen before deep frying, or the oil penetrates the pocket.
                                                I tried to find a website for the company to see if they could ship them frozen in dry ice, but, they won't sell them unless you are a restaurant or bar owner.
                                                My business partner went to Glassboro State College in the late 70's, and I am planning to open a new bar in Glassboro by the end of this year. Small world.