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Help finding the Best Pizza at the North Jersey Shore?

From my research and reading here on chowhound I have narrowed my Pizza list down to
3 places. Maruca's, Pete & Elda's and Vic's during my trip to Spring Lake at the end of the month. If you guys only had the chance to try 2 of these pizza places which would they be?

On my return trip I plan to go to DeLorenzo's in Trenton (The Hudson Street location). Being from DC I am looking forward to tasting some real pizza.

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Pete & Elda's Bar
Highway 35, Neptune, NJ 07753

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  1. It gets mixed reviews here, but I still like Vics - hopefully you're here long enough to try them all!

    1 Reply
    1. re: harrison

      Of the three, I'd say try Maruca's and P&E. Vic's is kind of an "in between" in terms of crust thickness. As to Maruca's, you will see, the large is a mighty big pie, go hungry and bring help. As to P&E, get there early (between 2:30 and 4 maybe) or be prepared to wait - it can get ungodly crowded in summer.

      I find all three choices fine, but none are my favorites in the area. If you haven't seen it, and have any interest in bothering, my attempt to present my "try 'em" spots is contained here:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7021...

    2. Exactly - why narrow it down to only two? Go for all three - they're in close enough proximity to one another...

      1. Good point, I can shoot to make it to all three over the weekend, if I have pizza when I arrive in Spring Lake on Friday night. Then have pizza on Saturday for lunch and pizza after the wedding on Saturday, I can make it to all three, the only issue is having pizza drunk on Saturday night wont give me an accurate measure on the quality of the pizza but it's the best I can do.
        I can make a stop at DeLorenzo's on Hudson Street on the way home.

        Is DeLorenzo's in Robbinsville the same quality as the one on Hudson Street?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jeremy303

          yes, plus its BYO and has restrooms :)

          1. re: tom246

            . . . and a pretty easy on/off from 195.

        2. My husband and I are fans of Maruca's. My husband grew up summering in Seaside Park, and Maruca's is a family favorite- no other pizza is allowed in Grandma's house. It was my first taste of Jersey shore pizza, so it's my pick. I've tried some of the other places on the boardwalk, and they were too greasy. There's just something special about Maruca's. Mmmmm, can't wait to grab a slice this weekend!

          1. Pete & Elda's??? We, of the board, and I'm not speaking of the Royal "We" never recommended P&E to you. It's just not worth it.

            Stop by Vesuvio's in Belmar (on 10th Ave). Go to Long Branch to Nunzio's, go anywhere but P&E's. Go to Luigi's in Little Silver or Ocean Twp (not the same owners).

            Vic's is good, and I love sitting at the bar and getting a pie with sausage & peppers, but whatever you do, pass right by P&E's. I'm doing you a favor with my recommendation to bypass it.

            And if you do the three you cite, there's no comparison to Marucca's. They make pie the way it should be made. I do miss those days when my boys played hardball in the Trenton area.....we always made a point to get pie out there....nothing like it.

            7 Replies
            1. re: JustJake

              No need to quibble, the guy's coming up from DC, any of these places will be a big step up.

              1. re: JustJake

                Maruca's secret is they use White Cheddar & Mozzarella mixed with a great sauce. Best pizza on the boardwalk at Seaside IMO.... although now they have bigger slices to compete with the other places where size takes over taste... you can't go wrong with Marucas Pizza. P&E & Vics left us wondering why we went there P&E taste like a thin Ritz cracker with ketchup...and Vics although a shore landmark the sauce is less then desirable for us....but some people enjoy it I guess. to each his own. enjoy

                1. re: JustJake

                  For my return trip to DC is going to DeLorenzo's on Hudson Street the right call? Or should I go to Star Pizza, Spiritos or somewhere else?

                  -----
                  Spirito's Restaurant
                  714 3rd Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07202

                  1. re: Jeremy303

                    Not only is DeLorenzo's in Robbinsville more or less on your way, but they are one of the best. Don't miss it. I haven't found a difference in taste or quality between them and the Trenton location.

                    1. re: Jeremy303

                      Papas in Chambersburg (Trenton) is my favorite for tomato pie habds down.

                      http://www.papastomatopies.com/

                      Papa's Tomato Pies was established in 1912 in Trenton, NJ. It is the second oldest continuously-run pizza restaurant in the USA, still operated by family.

                    2. re: JustJake

                      JustJake, Which is better Vesuvio's or Nunzio's? and which Lugi's do you prefer the one in Little Silver or the one in Ocean Twp?

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                      Vesuvio
                      725 S Main St Ste 3, Forked River, NJ 08731

                      1. re: Jeremy303

                        JMO, but I do like Vesuvio's over Nunzio's, by just the thinnest of hairs, though both are my favorite spots where I live (both are within 10 minutes of me).

                        I'm also partial to Luigi's in OT. It's take out only and I cringe you taking it out and trying to find a place to eat it before it loses it's flavor and crispiness. That's the problem Jeremy.

                        I would 86 both Luigis and do Vesuvios and Nunzios' on your pizza trip. BTW, Vesuvio's is like stepping back in time. You'll never find another place like it once you step inside.

                    3. So which 3 pizza places should I go to? I am very confused.

                      1. Are all the Maruca's locations the same for taste? I will be closest to the one in Brick NJ, is that location any different then the one at Seaside Heights?

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: MGZ

                            Just so it is perfectly clear - do not go to the Maruca's in Brick (which may actually have gone out of business) and expect the pizza to be the same as the one in Seaside. It is not. If Seaside is too far, there are several other well thought of pies closer to Spring Lake.

                            Also, as a general rule for NJ pizza, avoid the urge to "overtop." Most pies have a pretty thin crust and the "bacon, cheddar, ham, and pineapple" sort of thing would be ill-advised.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              mgz Marucas in Brick has been closed for a while.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Maruca's is the first stop on my list. My other stops are undecided. From what I have been reading Sausage seems to be the topping to get at most of these places and the Clam Pizza is for DeLorenzo's?

                                Thanks for the tip I definitely wont overload, I never usually do more then 2 topppings on a pizza and thats when I get Hawaiian.

                                If any of you guys are ever in DC and are looking for Pizza or any other recommendations for food feel free to send me a message. I have lived in DC for about 23 years, all of my life minus college and I know the top chefs and restaurants here.

                                For Pizza in DC I highly recommend 2Amys, RedRocks and 2Amy's sister restaurant Pizzeria Paradiso. 2Amys I feel is far and away the best Pizza in this area IMO. and is on The Verace Pizza Napoletana Association list for their DOC Pizza's (they use buffalo mozzarella cheese instead of mozzarella. They are wood burnin oven pizza's and they usesoft-grain flour, fresh yeast, water, and sea salt for the dough, Italian plum tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil or dried oregano may be used for the toppings. All of their pizzas are amazing.especially the DOC's the crust is so soft it melts in your mouth, the flavor on the cheese will blow you away. http://www.2amyspizza.com

                          2. I won't even get into the pizza debate, but I will suggest you visit the Scone Pony while you are in town. Whatever scone is hot is worth eating, but I love the chocolate chip the best.

                            The Scone Pony
                            305 Washington Avenue
                            Spring Lake, NJ 07762-1431
                            (732) 280-8887

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: seal

                              Thank you so much for the tip, I will definitely be making a stop at the Scone Pony.

                            2. According to De Lorenzo's website they aren't open on Sundays until 4pm? Is this true? I am going to be very upset if I am unable to try DeLorenzo's for lunch on my drive home to DC.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Jeremy303

                                The website is correct. Opens at 4:00 pm on Sundays. Its packed by 5:00 pm with a long wait by 5:30-6:00.

                              2. IM sorry but Pete & Eldas thats like sending someone to Burgerking for a great burger. There are so many better places named here already but Ill add a couple more to the list. Tuzzios in long branch has a good pie and the Meatball pie at Guidos in Eatontown is killer it really is a must grab a slice when heading in or away from the shore via exit 105

                                -----
                                Pete & Elda's Bar
                                Highway 35, Neptune, NJ 07753

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Nightspeaks

                                  Thank you NightSpeak. For anyone to recommend P&E's as the BEST pie down here ......well, I doubt very much that I'll be 'taking any of that posters' suggestions for any restaurant, dish etc' seriously.

                                  P&E's is TERRIBLE. It isn't even remotely close to the very good to excellent pizza spots down here in Monmouth County.

                                  It's TRAGIC when I see someone 'vote or direct someone' to P&E's unless they're bringing little KIDS and they need a FUN spot (with no regard for the food).

                                  1. re: Nightspeaks

                                    Pete and Elda's is history. Only a mecca for Bennies who don't know much about the area, and need to get the free tshirt after pigging out. Maybe it's a good thing that they do still exist, like flypaper for the Bennies, to keep the good secret places from overcrowding especially int he summer. : )

                                    -----
                                    Pete and Elda's
                                    96 Woodland Ave, Neptune City, NJ 07753

                                  2. Have never been to Maruca's, although I'd definitely like to eat there now based on what I've read here.

                                    Vic's vs. Pete & Elda's (I *have* been to both of those, P&E twice and Vic's too many times to count)....no contest. Vic's by a mile. Failed on both occasions to see the big deal about P&E's but of course to each his own :-) Personally we like the whole wheat crust at Vic's the best but their regular crust is fine too.

                                    Wherever you end up, have a safe trip and a good visit.

                                    P.S. --- You'll certainly need dessert after all that pizza, of course. Suggest Hoffman's Ice Cream in Spring Lake or Point Pleasant although I'd expect ice cream evokes various & disparate opinionated responses nearly as much as pizza does. LOL. In any case, you won't be disappointed at Hoffman's.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: bakersma

                                      As I said on another post, claiming Vic's is better, or P&E is better, is ridiculous. There are many people who prefer one, many the other. A side-by-side comparison, with details of the pros and cons of each, would be useful, but merely saying "this is great, the other stinks" is useless.

                                      Also, if you look at the post re the NJ top 25, you'll see that P&E was the pizza choice for central NJ, so a lot of people do prefer them.

                                      1. re: cantkick

                                        Yeah Can'tKick. There's no end in accounting for the bad taste that most folks have.

                                        Tell me you go to P&E's for GREAT PIE? Especially when one has Val's, Brothers, Nunzios, Tuzzios, Tony's, Luigis in LS OT or Lincroft, Vesuvios, Frankie Feds etc?

                                        Just because a lot of folks voted for it doesn't mean SQUAT to those of us WHO KNOW. And I know better than going to P&E's for great pie. That's an illusion.

                                        1. re: JustJake

                                          Actually, I haven't been to many of them, since I don't live near there. I've had P&E a few times and didn't mind it, though it's certainly not the best. I like Luigi's in Lincroft, though it tends to be greasier than most. That could be a plus or minus, depending on your preference. I've been to Brothers in RB twice, and hated it both times. Our usual goto place is Fratelli in Middletown, with Rigoletto a second choice.

                                          My favorite one in the area unfortunately doesn't exist any more. It was next to the Jersey Mike's in Middletown on 35. That spot has had revolving pizzarias, a new one every two or three years it seems. Probably cursed by the Little Caesar (ugh) that once was there.

                                          -----
                                          Little Caesars
                                          215 N Hermitage Ave, Trenton, NJ 08618

                                    2. I will add Hoffman's to my list. Who doesn't love ice cream?

                                      I am definitely crossing Pete & Elda's off my list. I was reading on hollyeats.com about Max's Famous Hot Dogs in Long Beach, is that worth trying?

                                      I wont be able to try DeLorenzo's on the trip home due to their Sunday hours. Where should I go instead? Is DeLucia's Pizza in Raritan worth the high regard as the best Pizza in NJ awarded to them by the munchmobile? or should I try Spiritos, Star or somewhere else?

                                      -----
                                      Spirito's Restaurant
                                      714 3rd Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07202

                                      Pete & Elda's Bar
                                      Highway 35, Neptune, NJ 07753

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Jeremy303

                                        max's is an old-school, informal place to sit down and eat an expensive, but good hot dog (get the cheese dog). they have sheet metal menu items displayed on the wall, you can grab a miller lite, and ...ah i can't get the enthusiasm up enough, it's ok, everything on the shore up here gets murdered by superlatives. nothing diners drive ins and dives-worthy. its cool. say hi to ms max, she won't say hi back haha

                                        1. re: longbranchgourmet

                                          Max's is not worth the trip. Stop instead at the Windmill in West End - the one in the building shaped like a windmill - and sit upstairs on the deck. Max's is, imho, trading solely on its name. It's an overpriced hot dog with overpriced drinks and everything else, served by people who act like they are doing you a favor. As noted above, the owners are VERY unfriendly. People like that just don't deserve my money.

                                          1. re: MichelleM131

                                            Amen Michelle. Don't give Max's a penny of your hard earned money - they don't deserve it.

                                        2. re: Jeremy303

                                          Delucia's is a good pie with a nice crust but I'm not sure I'd go far out of my way just to try it . If you go to Spirito's you can hit up Santillo's as well. There's also the water ice stand right around the corner from Spirito's which is well worth a stop.

                                          -----
                                          Spirito's Restaurant
                                          714 3rd Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07202

                                        3. What do you guys regard as the best Pizza in NJ outside of DeLorenzo's?

                                          Pizza Patrol has high regards for Buona Pizza and Restaurant in Westfield, and Luna Restaurant, in Three Bridges are these places the real deal?

                                          Or would you recommend going to Spiritos and or Santillo's? I could make a stop at any of them on my return trip to DC.

                                          Am I overlooking any Pizza place?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Jeremy303

                                            Boy would that question open up a debate! ;o)

                                            Here's a fairly recent thread for your reading pleasure:

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/637912

                                            1. re: Jeremy303

                                              Go to Star Tavern up in Orange. That's your best bet. When my son went to school in Montclair, we'd always stop in if time allowed and it is as every bit as good as advertised.

                                              But you're staying in SL area and that's every bit of an hour ride up to the Oranges.

                                              Hell, if you're around this weekend, I'll buy a large plain at Vesuvio's as I'm itching to get down there (I avoid Belmar like the plague in summer), but again, my dime...

                                            2. I have decided that I am going to Maruca's in Seaside Heights, Luigi's Famous Pizza on Doris Avenue, and lastly either Squan Tavern, Vesuvio's or Coal Fired Oven in Bradley Beach.

                                              Where should my last stop in the Spring Lake area be for Pizza? I also hope to make it to Windmill, Hoffmans Ice Cream, and the Scone Pony

                                              Finally, hopefully I will be at De Lorenzo's on Sunday, (I have to convince my fiancee for us to stay later at the beach so we can go to De Lorenzo's (on Hudson Street) at 4pm when they open. If not I will have to settle for pizza somewhere else.

                                              I will report back my opinions on the all pizza that I try, Thanks for everyone's advice. I am excited for some NJ Pizza!!

                                              -----
                                              Squan Tavern
                                              15 Broad St, Manasquan, NJ 08736

                                              Vesuvio
                                              725 S Main St Ste 3, Forked River, NJ 08731

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Jeremy303

                                                Check out Al Capone's on Mantaloking Road if you're in Brick. They've been around for as long as I can remember... which is something to be said given the amount of pizza places in the area that have come and gone. They make a good pie.

                                              2. On your way from Maruca's back to Spring Lake, try Lenny's in Lavalette on Rt. 35 N. Been there for 25+ years, and it's ALWAYS our first stop when we head to the shore. Don't get anything fancy---it's just the best cheese pie you'll ever eat.
                                                http://www.lennyslavallette.com/

                                                1. LUIGI's in Point Pleasant Beach. A favorite of locals. Always consistent perfect thin crust. In business in the family for decades. This be the place.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: 007

                                                    Having been thwarted in my attempt to try a new pizza in Long Branch this weekend, we sampled Luigi's in Point a couple days later. My patience was rewarded with a mighty good pie. Luigi's pizza has a fantastic crust - thin yet with a retained chewiness, slightly burned edges, and virutally no "lip." The sauce had a mild, predominately tomato taste and though it might have benefitted from some additional herb/spice flavor, it worked fine with the pie. I also found the cheese/sauce ratio to my liking. Without hesitation, I would say it was one of the best pizzas I've had on that side of the Manasquan River.

                                                    (Luigi's is a small spot apparently designed for takeout, but there are 3 or 4 tables for those, like me, who feel it is only fair to try the pia at a new place before it goes in a box.)

                                                  2. All I really want to know is where's Jeremy's review of his little Pizza sojourn?

                                                    Are you out there kid? A little feedback froml you would be nice. Thanks in advance.

                                                    1. P & E......how do they manage to put all those Ritz crackers as a base for the toppings ??

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: LEOFONT

                                                        The same way they put the cheese in the Cheetos?

                                                        1. re: LEOFONT

                                                          I actually think they use matzah, which clearly would make it easier due to their larger size.

                                                        2. As Seal posted sometime ago...
                                                          Yesterday I sat in a pizza place on Bleeker St in NYC diagonally across from John's Pizza next to an old Italian man and we chatted while we ate our pizzas. I'm no slouch in my pursuit of great pizza, but this old man seems to have eaten pizza everywhere. I will try to paraphrase his wisdom:

                                                          Pizza is the most subjective food there is. The best pizza is what YOU think is the best pizza. When you find one you like, do everything you can to support the place who makes it. Never try to convince anyone that your best pizza should be their best pizza - you will only get frustrated.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: tuxedo

                                                            So true, that is why Delorenzo's makes the best pizza :)

                                                            1. +1 Marucas on the shore...
                                                              definitely Delorenzos any where else in NJ for my favorite for Pizza.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: Tapas52

                                                                I know this thread is 4 years old, but Pete and Elda's for "real" pizza. C'mon Man! P&Es is the Applebees of pizza. Nunzio's in Long Branch, Val's in Rumson, and Spirito's in Elizabeth are tops on my list.

                                                                1. re: cke25

                                                                  I live in Middletown and the best local pizza I've had is Chiaffulos in the A&P shopping center on Route 36 next to Navesink Fishery. Fratelli's in the Union Square Shopping Center on Rt 35 has a strong following but Chiaffulos is my favorite. I order the cheese pie well done (crispy) with crumbled sausage. I may order one tonite.

                                                                  1. re: scrappyone

                                                                    I use to enjoy their pie when they were Red Bank Pizza.

                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      Chiaffulos now has a second location at the intersection of Leonardville Rd and Main St in Belford Junction. And their pizza is pretty good.

                                                                      1. re: cke25

                                                                        I like the eggplant slice at sea bright pizza. I had a good wood fired margarita pie at porta in Asbury park recently too. You have to eat it right away so wouldn't advise the latter pie for take out.

                                                                        1. re: LifeGeek

                                                                          I like your 'tastes' Life Geek. Those two are amongst my favorites as well. The Eggplant slice at SB is outstanding.

                                                                          Actually, the margharita or any Porta pie is so much better with the proper 'reheat' the next day. The way they move so many pies on a given nite, well, I'm not a big fan of doughy. Very often, there's very little if any 'crispy char'. That's a sin imho.

                                                                          1. re: ParadiseWaits

                                                                            Hello PW, it is good to share some food in common. I also like the sicilian slice at federicos express in shrewsbury. It is very light and airy.

                                                                            As far as porta, I thought the light and chewy taste is what they were shooting for kind of like motorino in the city. I like it that way as a different style from the typical nyc slice. Although I love that style as well.

                                                                            Anyway, seeing that we like the same places. Any other spots that I should check out? Cheers!

                                                              2. Somebody I work with raves about Nunzios, so I tried it this weekend. I can't really call what I had pizza. It was one of their "gourmet" slices; vodka penne. It was ok, but what's the point of serving it in a pizza dough shell? I also had a meatball sub and the meatballs were a cut above your typical pizzeria. I would go back just for that.