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Greatest Jersey Pizza that most people haven't heard of

Jeffsayyes Apr 20, 2011 09:03 AM

I'm planning a big Jersey Pizza Tour... totaling around 25 pizzerias over 5 weeks. I know of the most popular ones, star, santillos, ah pizza etc, but what are some ones that one might consider the best, which have been pretty much unreported on?

I'm always looking for a great place out of nowhere. Got anything?

Kate & Als and Pete's in the market seem really interesting. Are they worth a stopover?

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  1. MGZ RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 20, 2011 09:55 AM

    There are a few "pizza" threads worth checking out. For example, this one's the biggie:


    Then there are also a few focused on Monmouth County, in particular:


    Most of the worthy choices are discussed.

    1. s
      sbier RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 20, 2011 11:59 AM

      We moved to northern Ocean County from Manhattan almost 8 years ago and were pleased to have recently found the best pizza place we've tried in this (Brick) area - Denino's South, 869 Mantoloking Road, Brick 08723, (732) 262-1313:


      The Brick store apparently opened in October 2010 and is a branch of the Staten Island original. Very nice folks, too. Haven't tried the sausage/meat pies yet, but the plain cheese pies are excellent, with delicious crust (similar to Vic's in Bradley Beach as opposed to Pete & Elde's [Neptune] crackery thinness), good cheese - and well oiled. Good/decent start-off Caesar salads, too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sbier
        Tay RE: sbier Apr 20, 2011 12:27 PM

        Unfortunately it pales compared to the SI location.

      2. diablo RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 20, 2011 04:00 PM

        Yes on the Kate and Al's. Unique pizza made in a sheet pan. Best enjoyed outside at one of the flea market picnic tables on a nice sunny day.

        4 Replies
        1. re: diablo
          Jeffsayyes RE: diablo Apr 22, 2011 09:19 AM

          yeah we are almost def going there. How does Pete's compare? should we choose one over teh other?

          1. re: Jeffsayyes
            diablo RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 22, 2011 05:34 PM

            Never had Pete's so I can't say.

            1. re: Jeffsayyes
              Heatherb RE: Jeffsayyes May 5, 2011 12:44 PM

              I like them both - would pick one or the other and save room for more pizza from elsewhere.

              1. re: Heatherb
                Sdenred RE: Heatherb Sep 23, 2011 12:51 PM


          2. tommy RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 20, 2011 05:13 PM

            As noted there are a bunch of threads listing peoples' favorites, some of which are quite current. I'm not sure if people have been holding some secret places in their vest pocket for a thread like this, but I guess we'll find out. I suspect it will just be another list of favorite pizza places. Which isn't such a bad thing.

            Pizza Town - Elmwood Park
            Ah'Pizz - Montclair

            13 Replies
            1. re: tommy
              Jeffsayyes RE: tommy May 1, 2011 08:42 PM

              we had the first of probably 5 tours today.
              Star tavern, ah'pizz, spirito's, al santillo's

              ah'pizz was awesome. al santillo'swas a great experience- al is wonderful.star was great too, the top reminded me of margarita pizza in jamaica, but in a bar pie.

              1. re: Jeffsayyes
                fourunder RE: Jeffsayyes May 2, 2011 04:02 AM

                Did Al show you the oven.....it's quite a site. He's one of the nicest people I ever met in the food business.....and he's very knowledgeable about his trade

                1. re: fourunder
                  Jeffsayyes RE: fourunder May 2, 2011 07:20 AM

                  oh yeah, he's great. http://www.flickr.com/photos/orlick/s... very passionate guy. great pizza too.

                  1. re: Jeffsayyes
                    fourunder RE: Jeffsayyes May 4, 2011 11:18 AM

                    If you are ever in Bergen County....give Lodi Pizza and Pizzatown a try.....the SLICES & whole pies are great. You can have both in less than a two mile stretch on Route 46.



                    Lodi Pizza Restaurant
                    19 US Highway 46 W, Lodi, NJ 07644

                    1. re: fourunder
                      Jeffsayyes RE: fourunder May 5, 2011 07:13 PM

                      100 percent going to Pizzatown USA. Lodi seems really interesting. Do you think it could be considered best in the state?

                      1. re: Jeffsayyes
                        tommy RE: Jeffsayyes May 5, 2011 09:53 PM

                        Lodi's slice was horrible on my one visit. Maybe I'm missing something.

                        1. re: tommy
                          menton1 RE: tommy May 6, 2011 09:23 AM

                          I had a slice at Lodi on my recent visit to Pizzatown. Lodi makes a slightly smaller pie, cuts it into 6 slices. The slice is much too thick, and the cheese and sauce were bland and tasteless, IMO.

                          But I wasn't thrilled with PTUSA's pizza, either; the warmed-up slices don't seem to heat up well, probably the only way to go is a fresh whole pie there...

                          1. re: menton1
                            njmarshall55 RE: menton1 Dec 21, 2011 02:42 PM

                            Just a quick joke...guy walks into a pizza parlor and orders a large. Owner asks if he wants it cut into six or eight slices. Guy says, "Make it six. I can't eat eight."

                            Fonly remember Pizza Town. Maybe next time i'll stop. Steve's in Fair Lawn was always a good one. But, like the old saying goes, pizza is like sex. When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's still pretty good.

                        2. re: Jeffsayyes
                          Ike RE: Jeffsayyes Jun 14, 2011 12:57 PM

                          I'm no pizza connoisseur, but I loved the slices I got at Pizzatown USA the other day. Not too much cheese. Great sauce. Crispy. Not heavy. Yum.

                      2. re: Jeffsayyes
                        HillJ RE: Jeffsayyes May 5, 2011 06:50 PM

                        What's not to love about Spirito's. Pizza is wonderful but it's the ravioli and garlic salad that keep me returning!

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

                        1. re: HillJ
                          OGguy RE: HillJ May 6, 2011 05:17 AM

                          From yesterday's Star Ledger -
                          Sylvia (nee D'Alessandro) Spirito, 90, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at the Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, N.J. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend the funeral from the Petruccelli Funeral Home, 232 Christine St., Elizabeth, N.J., on Saturday, May 7, at 9:30 a.m., thence to St. Anthony's R.C. Church, Elizabeth, N.J., where at 10:30 a.m. a Funeral Mass will be offered. Interment will be in Rosedale Cemetery, Linden, N.J. Friends may call on Friday, May 6, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Mrs. Spirito was a lifelong resident of the city of Elizabeth. She was the former co-proprietor of Spirito's Restaurant, located in the Peterstown section of Elizabeth, from 1985 to 1996 with her late husband, Frank Spirito, and was the sole proprietor from 1996 to 2001. Mrs. Spirito was predeceased by her husband, Frank Spirito, who died in May 1996; her five brothers, Anthony (Tears) Guiliano, Vincent (Wings) Guiliano, Thomas (Gimps) D'Alessandro, Pasquale D'Alessandro and John D'Alessandro, and her sister, Raphaela DiMaio. She was the beloved mother of Beverly Anne Sporer, Gemma DeGregorio, Margo Berzito and Toni Peduto. She is also survived by two sisters, Anna DeMaio and Marie LaMorte; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions in care of her memory may be made to the American Heart Association , 1 Union St., No. 301, Robbinsville, N.J. 08691-4183.
                          Published in Star-Ledger on May 5, 2011

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

                          1. re: OGguy
                            HillJ RE: OGguy May 6, 2011 05:53 AM

                            First Ferraro's burns to the ground and now Ms. Sylvia is gone. Sounds like a memorial pizza is in order for lunch today.

                    2. re: Jeffsayyes
                      eatinman RE: Jeffsayyes May 4, 2011 10:54 AM

                      ah'pizz was good, but it's gone downhill - as the food comes out luke warm & has just fallen off of their game - which I feel bad about, cause I really thought ah'pizz was great!

                  2. f
                    foodislove1958 RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 20, 2011 11:13 PM

                    I'd reccomend a few...
                    Vic's, Bradley Beach
                    Vesuvio's Belmar
                    My favorite newcomer...Salerno's in Hazlet on Bethany Road....

                    I know Pete and Eldas rides high..just really never worked for me.....First 2 I mentioned very old school...Salerno's..newere but great quality....my favorite..the Buffalo Chicken..

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

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

                    1. t
                      TomDel RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 21, 2011 07:37 AM

                      Here’s a couple:

                      Papa’s in the Chambersburg section of Trenton http://www.papastomatopies.com . It’s the second oldest (1912) Pizza (Tomato Pie) restaurant in the country. I believe Lombardi’s in NYC is the oldest (1905).

                      My favorite is JoJo’s http://jojostavern.com located at 5 points in Hamilton Twp. Go in an off hour as they are almost always crowded.

                      1. h
                        harrison RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 21, 2011 10:09 AM

                        Queen Margherita in Nutley got this great write up on Slice today I've never tried, but will be soon!


                        3 Replies
                        1. re: harrison
                          fourunder RE: harrison Apr 21, 2011 10:18 AM

                          I've heard from friends who live in Nutley, that Ralph's is the best in town......any thoughts?

                          1. re: fourunder
                            tommy RE: fourunder Apr 21, 2011 11:05 AM

                            I never understood this. Their slices are exceedingly mediocre. Maybe a whole pie is better.

                            1. re: tommy
                              harrison RE: tommy Apr 21, 2011 01:52 PM

                              I also tried Ralphs from good reports - slices only. It was good, not great.

                        2. briansnat RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 21, 2011 10:29 AM

                          Cafe L'Amore in Oakland makes outstanding pizza. Among my favorites.

                          1. g
                            gooter RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 21, 2011 10:36 AM

                            Pompei. On Broadway between 22nd and 23rd St. in Bayonne. Outstanding "thin crust" pizza.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: gooter
                              jethro RE: gooter Apr 21, 2011 11:16 AM

                              Livingston Pizza on Rt. 10 in Livingston has what I would call authentic pizza. Thin crust, good ingredients, but no seating. Get a few slices and eat in your car on a nice day. It's really good. I agree with Tommy about Ralph's. Drove there one day, got 2 slices and although I ate it, didn't drool like my co-worker told me I would.

                              Livingston Pizza
                              73 W Mount Pleasant Ave, Livingston, NJ 07039

                              1. re: gooter
                                hcentro RE: gooter Apr 23, 2011 05:25 AM

                                +1 for Pompei in Bayonne. Consistently excellent.

                              2. menton1 RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 21, 2011 03:30 PM

                                Is Benny Tudino's still going in Hoboken? It's been years, but I have memories of an excellent slice of pizza there... Although things never stay the same.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: menton1
                                  tommy RE: menton1 Apr 21, 2011 03:33 PM

                                  I think what doesn't stay the same is peoples' tastes. Benny's is still there. I don't enjoy it anywhere near as much as I enjoyed it 20 years ago.

                                  1. re: tommy
                                    phDuh RE: tommy May 11, 2011 05:55 AM

                                    Yes, tommy, somehow the 'doormats' at Benny's taste differently when it's not associated with a late night in Hoboken!

                                  2. re: menton1
                                    Tapas52 RE: menton1 Apr 21, 2011 03:34 PM

                                    Papas Tomato Pies !!!!!!!

                                    804 Chambers Street
                                    Trenton, NJ


                                  3. Jeffsayyes RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 22, 2011 09:26 AM

                                    damn, i think this thread is opening up something I'm not even ready for.
                                    Here's our map

                                    We're not locals, so just like a best of the neighborhood probably isn't worth the trip. but the exceedingly unique or delicious is. Thanks for all the great support! this might never end.

                                    17 Replies
                                    1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                      maryanne06 RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 22, 2011 10:01 AM

                                      I'm glad to see that Patsy's Tavern in Paterson is on your list.....mangia! Just check out their hours before you go....they open a little later on weekends.

                                      1. re: maryanne06
                                        fred the fressor RE: maryanne06 Jun 3, 2011 09:56 PM

                                        I don't know how anyone can do a list of pizza in NJ and not include Patsy's. I went a few months ago with several friends. Three of us grew up around Patsy's so we knew what we were getting. I wish I had a video camera to capture the looks on the other two friends who had never been there as they tasted the pizza. After their first bite, they realized that they were eating the best pizza they ever had.

                                        1. re: fred the fressor
                                          tommy RE: fred the fressor Jun 4, 2011 06:27 AM

                                          It's all subjective but I don't like Patsy's as much as I like other places that serve what I consider similar styles (Kinchley's, Nellie's...although Patsy's is a bit thicker).

                                          But the place overall is worth a stop. Real old-school joint. Looks like nothing has changed since the 70's, and probably decades before that.

                                          1. re: tommy
                                            menton1 RE: tommy Jun 4, 2011 02:58 PM

                                            This is not the famous Patsy's in East Harlem, is it? (Their pizza is paper-thin)

                                            Were you on vacay?

                                            1. re: menton1
                                              tommy RE: menton1 Jun 4, 2011 03:03 PM

                                              No, but this Patsy's is old, too. It's Italian-American, old school. Like my grandparents enjoyed.

                                              1. re: tommy
                                                fred the fressor RE: tommy Jun 4, 2011 07:10 PM

                                                It's been there since 1931. They added the tavern a few years later just after Repeal. In the 50's when I was a kid, you had to dodge the bocce balls that the old guys where playing in the alley just out the back door.

                                                It has been owned by the same family.

                                                1. re: fred the fressor
                                                  tommy RE: fred the fressor Jun 4, 2011 07:19 PM

                                                  It's a great a spot. Good bit of history there!

                                          2. re: fred the fressor
                                            Jeffsayyes RE: fred the fressor Jun 5, 2011 05:33 PM

                                            That's amazing you mention it, because we just had another tour today and Patsy's was the last stop! I loved it. They cook their pies in 2 sessions, once in the pan, then again in a different, the original, oven. The crust was really somthing to think about, one of my favorite bar pies to date. No relation to patsy's, btw.

                                            We also went to Kinchley's, Nellies, a mano and brunos in clifton.
                                            Kinchley's was probably better than nellies. fra diavolo at kinchley's gets a special mention. . a mano has a lot of integrity, I liked ah pizz better actually, but still very respectable. Brunos was one of the best sicilians ive had-- cheese under the crust and the very fluffy bread over the sorta fried crust--- that was some great sicilian.

                                            Anybody hear of Strawberry's? someone just tweeted me about it, and from the singular picture on yelp, it looks pretty damn good.

                                            1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                              HillJ RE: Jeffsayyes Jun 5, 2011 05:41 PM


                                              I just had their sauteed spinach pizza today. Really good char on the thin crust.

                                        2. re: Jeffsayyes
                                          menton1 RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 22, 2011 12:43 PM

                                          There's not much in the way of pizza in NJ that's unique or great. Check out the Serious Eats "Slice" blog for some places that may catch your fancy...

                                          1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                            sbier RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 22, 2011 02:28 PM

                                            How come no Denino's South?

                                            1. re: sbier
                                              rruben1 RE: sbier Apr 22, 2011 02:54 PM

                                              Paradiso Pizza on Route 46 in Rockaway. Outstanding ingredients, great combinations. Mmmmm. I can't wait until Passover ends. I'm there.

                                              Paradiso Pizza
                                              179 US Highway 46, Rockaway, NJ 07866

                                              1. re: sbier
                                                Jeffsayyes RE: sbier Apr 23, 2011 10:06 PM

                                                How does it compare to denino's SI?

                                                1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                                  sbier RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 24, 2011 06:32 AM

                                                  Never been to the SI store, but Tay in this thread says Brick/South palls by comparison. My own guess is that they're probably the same. Have you been to Denino's in SI?

                                                  1. re: sbier
                                                    Jeffsayyes RE: sbier Apr 24, 2011 10:09 PM

                                                    yes, it's a nice place. Solid pizza, but not my fav in staten island by far. Lots of people LOVE it, so that's cool. When you go in there and someone has ordered a clam pie, the smells are intoxicating.

                                              2. re: Jeffsayyes
                                                EthnicNJ RE: Jeffsayyes Jun 2, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                Excellent list. You might find some other gems here: http://www.ethnicnj.com/food/italian/...
                                                I'm partial to DeLucia's in Raritan and Cranbury Pizza for traditional Jersey pies (not thin crust or Napolitan style) out of old ovens.

                                                Cranbury Pizza
                                                63 N Main St Ste 2, Cranbury, NJ 08512

                                                1. re: EthnicNJ
                                                  Jeffsayyes RE: EthnicNJ Jun 5, 2011 05:39 PM

                                                  Yes, your list is great. I love the site as well. I always want places that are not just good, but can be considered the best by someone - Not necessarily me, but someone. Polarizing is one of my favorite adjectives.

                                              3. f
                                                fishnut RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 22, 2011 02:56 PM

                                                The funny thing about pizza is that you can ask 5 of your friends about their favorite and you
                                                may get 5 different answers. There is so much variety out there that one person's best is
                                                another's least. If the best pizza in the world was located 20 miles from my home, I doubt
                                                that I would make the trip for a slice. I prefer mine plain or Sicilian and there are plenty of
                                                local places that serve decent stuff. It may not be the best.... but just a simple tomato
                                                and cheese pie is enough for me.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: fishnut
                                                  tommy RE: fishnut Apr 22, 2011 03:29 PM

                                                  We're hoping to hear about the "greatest" on this thread.

                                                  I disagree that plenty of local places serve decent stuff. Most local places serve mediocre stuff.

                                                  1. re: tommy
                                                    MGZ RE: tommy Apr 22, 2011 03:37 PM

                                                    There's that word again!

                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                      tommy RE: MGZ Apr 22, 2011 03:51 PM


                                                  2. re: fishnut
                                                    Jeffsayyes RE: fishnut Apr 23, 2011 10:10 PM

                                                    yes, I agree. That's what I love about pizza. It's such a polarizing food. That's why we're going to so many places. Obviously we can't go to every person's favorite (I will never be done doing this in NYC even), BUT we can probably go to 25 places that lots of people are passionate about. I love getting suggestions from someone that's not connected to the foodie community.

                                                    Just went to a place last month: galleria in ozone park, queens. Not a sexy area at all, and barely one person has written about it online other than a couple of yelp reviews and a local paper article, but woah... that's a real slice! and they only serve 2 pies at a time, regular and spinach. That's cool.

                                                  3. b
                                                    bifpocaroba RE: Jeffsayyes Apr 24, 2011 05:28 PM

                                                    There are only 2 pizza places for me.Both are excellent and both in Essex co.
                                                    The Star Tavern needs no intro but Frank Anthony's in Verona is the BEST pizza in the the surronding area and I wouldnt make that claim if it wasnt true.. It's their own homemade mozzerella with fresh tomatoes and basil on a crispy brick oven style crust.. In all seriousnes, this pizza is one of the best you will ever eat. Eat it there instead of getting to go.

                                                    1. h
                                                      HillJ RE: Jeffsayyes May 5, 2011 06:51 PM

                                                      Nomad Pizza is certainly known...but well-known...not sure about that.
                                                      Well worth getting to know!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                        billybauer17 RE: HillJ May 5, 2011 09:48 PM

                                                        id say Crust and Crumble is definitely a diamond in the rough in Asbury Park gourmet pizzeria and great pastries + breakfast pizzas too

                                                      2. m
                                                        mocozeke RE: Jeffsayyes May 7, 2011 02:28 PM

                                                        Nonna's in Florham Park - Nonna's pie is best
                                                        Star Tavern in Orange - white w spinach
                                                        Landmark in Livingston - Old World w sauce on 1/2

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: mocozeke
                                                          Jeffsayyes RE: mocozeke May 10, 2011 07:10 AM

                                                          what the heck is landmark?? Is there any pictures of the pie online? I can't research like I generally do for my tours, I have to go by pictures and word of mouth to find the people's favorite pies.

                                                          1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                                            mocozeke RE: Jeffsayyes May 10, 2011 09:55 AM

                                                            Landmark is a small red tavern on Rt 10 just east of the Livingston circle. They have nice selection of beer, excellent ribs, salads and pizza. No website, no pictures. It is a thin crust pie. The old world has black pepper, garlic and olive oil and can be with or without sauce (usually my wife and I get sauce on half). Here are some other reviews




                                                            1. re: mocozeke
                                                              Jeffsayyes RE: mocozeke May 10, 2011 09:34 PM

                                                              you think it could be considered the best in NJ?

                                                              1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                                                menton1 RE: Jeffsayyes May 10, 2011 09:49 PM

                                                                That's a low bar, anyway...

                                                                1. re: Jeffsayyes
                                                                  harrison RE: Jeffsayyes May 11, 2011 08:40 AM

                                                                  Not as good as Star if you want to use that as a barometer

                                                                  1. re: harrison
                                                                    mocozeke RE: harrison Jun 13, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                                    I put Landmark and Star on same plane comparing Old World w sauce on half with White Spinach Pie (my favorite at Star).

                                                          2. g
                                                            gregkeller RE: Jeffsayyes May 8, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                            Kinchley's Tavern in ramsey is on your map, i'd make that a definite. That place rocks. It's almost always packed. Best thin crust i've had.

                                                            Kinchley's Tavern
                                                            586 N Franklin Tpke, Ramsey, NJ 07446

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: gregkeller
                                                              Curlz RE: gregkeller May 8, 2011 01:34 PM

                                                              Just went to Kinchley's for the first time this weekend...we had a Fra Diavlo pie and added sausage. The FD wasn't super-spicy, which makes me think that their base sauce is probably on the sweet side; LOVED the sausage!

                                                              1. re: Curlz
                                                                ansky4 RE: Curlz May 17, 2011 03:22 PM

                                                                Sun Tavern in Scotch Plains has delicious very thin crust pizza. We routinely order a pie with mushrooms and eggplant and are never disappointed. Had several of their dinners, eggplant parm, seafood platter, etc., also good.

                                                                Sun Tavern
                                                                600 W Westfield Ave, Roselle Park, NJ 07204

                                                            2. r
                                                              rizzo0904 RE: Jeffsayyes Jun 4, 2011 03:08 PM

                                                              All Natural Pizza on Asbury Ave in Ocean City.

                                                              1. Duppie RE: Jeffsayyes Jun 6, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                While properly not the greatest, I really like the Bruschetta Tomato pie at Aljohn's in Plainsboro.

                                                                1. BetterButterCatering RE: Jeffsayyes Jun 14, 2011 01:33 PM

                                                                  ROsario's in Bordentown, AMAZING!

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