HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >


Trenton Style Tomato Pies

Thinking about putting together a pizza run to sample Trenton Style Tomato Pies in and around the Trenton area. For now, just looking for suggestions. Places that I have been to or know about are:

Papa's, Trenton
Corleone's, Trenton
Delorenzo's, Robbinsville, Hamilton
Mama Rosa's, Hamilton
Palermo's, Hamilton
La Villa, Yardley Pa (just across the river from Trenton)

Any other suggestions for this style of pizza. For purposes of discussion TSTP would be thin crust, mozzarella placed on first followed by sauce and or crushed tomatoes. Also should be in the same general area as the places listed above.

When I'm back in a couple weeks, we'll see what we have. Thanks in advance.

Heather B, if you see this, I'm sure you have a long list of possibilities :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Of the places listed, for my money, Papa's is the best. There are many threads and lengthy discussions on this topic, going back for years. The only place I might add would be JoJo's at 5 Points in Mercerville. There's also another DeLo's now, in the Risoldi's supermarket in Hamilton. They sell slices there too, unlike the other DeLorenzo's. However, IMHO, it's better to order a whole, fresh pie there than to count on there being much in the way of fresh slices available. It's also a good idea to call in your order in advance.

    Personally, my own taste runs more to Villa Maria (VM), in a strip mall on Quakerbridge Road, about 2 miles from Risoldi's. It's across the street from the recently closed Hamilton Fitness Center. VM does make TSTP, which are not bad; I prefer their slightly thicker (not the Sicilian or Pan pies- both of which they do well), doughier and chewier crusted pies. I particularly like their chicken alfredo pies, made with either spinach or broccoli. They aslo make a specialty pie (thinner crust than the alfredo) with sliced tomatoes, ricotta/cream sauce, and prosciuto, which also stands out (to me) from the usual pizza house fare. This place does a large slice business, so there's generally a good variety of fresh slices available. The exception is Sunday: in general, there's less variety to the slices available on Sunday.

    1. Definetly JoJo's at 5 Points in Hamilton. Two other good choices are Top Road Tavern on Brunswick Ave and the Ivy Tavern on South Broad in Hamilton near the White Horse circle.

      3 Replies
      1. re: TomDel

        Top Road was actually my true favorite. However, they have been closed/out of business for some time now.

        1. re: mchametzky

          Thanks for the info. I'm sorr to hear that another landmark bites the dust.

          1. re: mchametzky

            That is bad news, would have liked to have tried it.

        2. Thanks for the suggestions, Jojo's, Top Road Tavern and Ivy Tavern are on the list. Top Road is the place I could not think of. They have quite the loyal following, I know a few people that swear by them.

          Looks like we need to make a couple of runs to try em all :)

          1. Going to try Papa's in a couple of weeks. A friend of mine is doing a concert down in Bordentown and I'm going to combine it with a Papa's tomato pie for a pre show meal. Looks to be about 7 miles between the two places.

            14 Replies
            1. re: JustJake

              Think i prefer the Palermo's in Bordentown to the Ewing branch (which seems more variable to me.) I love Jo Jo's pie plain and the sausage pie at Papa's. Have had Mama Rosa's and La Villa and didn't think they measured up (but only tried them once each....) Keep meaning to try the Delorenzos in Risoldis--is it really as good as the original in Hamilton (I'm afraid to go back there--I need a bathroom!!) Have never been to Ivy Tavern. I'm really looking forward to tom246's definitive report!

              1. re: JustJake

                Give us a report on Papa's. Their sauce has a sweet - savory note which is unique but it's not for everyone (we like it). For sure the place is pure nostalgia and everyone is super friendly.

                If you like a salad with your pizza (we do), be sure to get for one. Their small salad feeds 2-3 and the salad for 2 feeds 4, at least :)

                1. re: tom246

                  JoJo's small antipasta is also excellent and can easily feed 4 hungry adults. Get it chopped with oil and vinegar on the side and you'll bring home enough for another meal or lunch for two the next day.

                  I don't know why I keep praising this place as it's crowded enough now. The best time to go is probably on any day between about 1:30 to 3:30PM but Saturday is best.

                  1. re: TomDel

                    Thanks Tom. The show I'm going to at the Record Collector is on a Saturday nite. I figure Papa's around 4pm or so. Looks like that will work, though I wouldn't mind a brief (15-30 minute wait) should it get a good play at that hour.

                    The antipasta salad (that you cite) reminds me of the nice salad that I get at Vesuvio's in Belmar. They make an awesome pie as well- it 's just not a tomato pie. And speaking of walking into a time warp or the Twilight Zone - V's has peacock blue vinyl bench seating, plastic flower arrangements all over, and the continuing smell of when the place allowed smoking - though I'm sure the owners and their help still fire one up in their corner 'hangout' when they rest their wheels. Gotta love these old relics which were already 'dated' when Stevenson ran against Ike. lol

                    1. re: JustJake

                      I'm not sure if either JoJo's or the Ivy Tavern makes a "Trenton Tomato Pie", i.e., cheese on the bottom, tomatoes on top. So you might want to call and ask before you go if that's a deal breaker. I grew up calling all pizza "tomato pies". I don't think pizza came into the lexicon until the mid to late 60's.

                        1. re: TomDel

                          Tom, I'm sure JoJo's and a lot of other places in the area serve good to excellent pizza. When we make the trek it will be to find the best "Trenton Style" Tomato Pie. We'll hit other styles another time :)

                          1. re: tom246

                            Be sure to let us know how you make out. I don't think you'll find many places other than the DeLorenzo's on Rt. 33 who make what you consider a "Trenton Style" tomato pie, i.e., extremely thin crust, cheese on the bottom, tomatoes on top. Although I guess anyone can reverse the cheese/tomato layering if you ask them to do so.

                            1. re: TomDel

                              Layering the ingredients certainly makes a flavor difference and also changes the flavor experience. Not saying better or worse, just different. Try putting a hamburger on top of the bun and eating it and you will see what I mean

                            2. re: tom246

                              Here's an excerpt from Papa's website.

                              *Tomato Pie versus Pizza:

                              There are those who say that the Trenton speciality known as Tomato Pie has a thinner, crisper crust, with the cheese sparingly put on the crust before the sauce, whereas a pizza has a thicker crust with sauce first, then plentiful cheese on top. Nick Azzaro says that sign makers charged by the letter, and "PIZZA" is five letters shorter than "TOMATO PIES".

                    2. re: JustJake

                      I really like Papa's. Anyone had their mustard pie? It's basically a tomato pie with spicy mustard applied to the crust. It's different and very good, at least I think so.

                      1. re: sadiefox

                        Marucas (SSH)

                        is all I need to know ..lol

                        1. re: Tapas52

                          You might also consider La Villa in Morrisville, PA. One other place is Tonys in Ivyland pA. It has its heritage in a place Tonys in Northeast Philadelphia, doing the pie as a thin crust cheese on the bottom etc. They do not call it a trenton pie per say but having visited trenton places I will say its in the same ballpark.

                    3. Are there any such Trenton style tomato pies in the Northern Region of NJ (Say Bergen or Passaic Counties)....??? never tried it, and I'm totally captivated by the idea of them, but not in the mood to drive the turnpike for an hour and a half to sample (lazychowhounder!!!)

                      1. Sounds a bit like a French tomato tart - thin crust, some mustard, then cheese and tomatoes.


                        3 Replies
                        1. re: steinpilz

                          If you are referring to Papas mustard pie, they put the mustard in the crust... is that the technique the french tomato tart uses?

                          1. re: cwdonald

                            I didn't have one at Papa's but the mustard pies I've had simply had mustard, cheese and olive oil on them and no tomatoes.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              Interesting, I'll have to try a Trenton tomato pie!.

                              The recipe I have for tomato tart (from a French Canadian) spreads dijon mustard onto a pre-cooked tart crust, then add a sliced cheese like gruyere, then sliced tomatoes, then bake for a bit.


                          2. LOL, tom246, you hit all my go-to spots and gave me a few to check out when I'm back on the east coast:) I'd only add the Hamilton Ave DeLo's and its outpost at Risoldi's Thriftway.

                            Let me tell you, Colorado pizza is... not that thrilling. Sure, there are some decent spots, but nobody knows what I mean out here when I say I miss Trenton-style pizza. They say "Well, X serves New York-style pizza." And I try to explain that it's not really the same thing...

                            Even some people from Jersey don't know what I'm talking about.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Heatherb

                              Did DeLo's on Hamilton instead of going to Papa's (there will be a time). It remains a terrific pie and I couldn't help but call my son (away at school) as I took a ride down memory lane. Came in through the burbs and rode past a ballfield that he used to play on (for a Trenton team) and sure enough there were 15 yo's playing a game in a fall league like he did some 6 years ago. After some good natured ribbing, he asked what the heck I was doing out there and then he knew - DeLorenzo's. He'll usually make a trip out there with his gf when he's home.

                              Dined solo as my wife has been wrestling with allergies. One large plain tomato pie with half sausage with birch beer (is there any other way to enjoy a pie???). Crispy crust, yet moist inside and even with a boatload of sausage on the slice, one could slide the pie onto one's plate and it didn't sag. Later, I held up a slice the crust and it's steady as she goes - no dropping of ingredients, just a solid tasty base. And it had twice the weight of say a P&E pie. Sauce was old school and good.

                              I will say this, While unique and so so very good/excellent, my favorite pie in NJ remains the grandma at Orsillo's in Somerset for overall taste (though it doesn't come close in the crust dept). I'm not however downplaying how great this pizza actually is (there's no irrational exuberance when it comes to discussing Trenton pie). I do need to try a few of the other Neapolitan spots in the suburban Mercer area cited in another post.

                              Addendum/postscript. On slow reheat this morning, and having one with and one without, all I can say is WOW. It's still one of the best if not theee best in Jersey. If the above seems a bit schizophrenic, it's that it's all so subjective. Trenton pie, Jersey shore pie, Grandma's, and Neaplolitan. Poor Heather B - marooned on another planet pizza wise. I'd trade the scenery in a heartbeat kiddo, but not the pizza, the Italian restaurants, etc. ;-)

                              1. re: JustJake

                                Nice post JJ, the Delorenzo'd on Hamilton Ave is a blast from the past. Hopefully you didn't have to wait too long. Have to admit we wind up at the Robbinsville site most often because it is far more convenient for us.
                                Half plain and half sausage is a great way to go. LOL about scenery vs pizza, I have a feeling Heather B will have a comment about that :)

                                1. re: JustJake

                                  Oh god. I love to alternate between sausage and plain... And wash it all down with a birch beer. I literally just started salivating.

                                  As for the scenery (LOL, tom246), it IS glorious. And they have this fabulous thing called green chili that makes me very very happy.

                                  I HAVE managed to find at least one good "red sauce" style restaurant, but I'm pretty sure I'd kill someone for a decent vodka rig (my go-to place doesn't have it) or just one good slice:)