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Favorites - Three categories - Statewide - Pizza, Burgers & Bagels

OK. I know it's kinda goofy, but if any of you have any interest in submitting your personal "Best in Class" for Pizza, Burgers, and/or Bagels, I'd like to see 'em. Please, if possible, no more than just a short explanation why (coming from a rather long-winded 'hound, I hope you can appreciate the tad of irony).

To start it off, at this point, I see it this way:

Pizza - Vesuvio's (Belmar) - it's very good and just a bit different than any other pie in the Mon/OC.
Burger - Harpoon Willy's - the place is close to home, the patty is thick, and I can watch them cook it rare* (this is the toughest category of all for me since chefMd is no longer at Trinity cranking out that crazy burger he used to make)
Bagel - Bagel Oven (Red Bank) - properly sized, crispy outside, tender inside - my favorite foodstuff in RB.

*The bar, if you've never been there, is basically Barnacle Bills south - on the water, kinda funky, burger cooked behind the bar, etc.

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  1. Loving this post, MGZ!

    Mr. Pizza Slice (Red Bank) and Nunzio's (Long Branch) tie for my favorite pie. A slight edge to Pizza Slice for the bonus of those delicious fries served with a toothpick.

    Burger is def Jack's in Long Branch. Best burger, best value, most fun on trivia night!

    Bagels, of course, is the Bagel Oven. I feel all other bagels are rolls or huge balls of dough. Crispy outside! Yes!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: MichelleM131

      Thanks. I thought the idea of a little bit of fun with something purely subjective like "favorite", as opposed to something more objective like the never-ending quest to define "the best", might be interesting on this board. Plus, maybe it'll be a thread that I can remember (or call up on an iPhone) when I'm out of my comfort zone and looking for something simple.

      In retrospect, I think I was just jonesing for a bagel when I posted it, otherwise I might have gone more "Jersey" with the third category being "Pork Roll Sandwich". For me, that's the Seabreeze Deli, Spring Lake Heights - "PR, Egg, Cheese, 'chup, lite S&P" kept in the foil wrap until I either get home or get to the beach. EVERYONE* should have a chance, once in their life to bring a PR,E&C to the beach some morning and sit eating it with the sun lifting out of the Atlantic (fishing poles and/or bathing suits optional - as is coffee or a Bloody Mary).**

      *Please note, in all these years posting my ramblings here, I have never used all caps for a word before - that's how deeply I feel about this notion.

      **And I said I wasn't going to be long-winded . . .

    2. Al Santillo's in Elizabeth....having your pie made in a 100 year old oven while talking to the owner Al, makes all the difference in the world.

      http://santillopizza.com/ABOUT_US.html

      Dinallo's in River Edge......Best Bacon Blue Cheeseburger with Fresh Cut Fries.

      Toss up between.....River Road Hot Bagels in Fair Lawn or Palisades Hot Bagel in Palisades Park.....both have nice skins and just the right amount of chew ...toppings are well balanced

      1 Reply
      1. re: fourunder

        Do you know if the S/R Hot Bagels is owned by the same peopel who run Saddle River Road Hot Bagels in Fair Lawn? Find it strange there's two in the same town with the same name!

      2. Pizza, Tony's Oak Tree Road South Plainfield. (It's what I grew up on) if not Grimaldi's in Brooklyn (yes I know I just cheated Brooklyn is NOT in NJ).

        Burger, not my thing but I'll say Pour House since it's local and I love that cheese sauce.

        Bagel, Bagel Masters in Shrewsbury....I'm ashamed to say I have no idea where Bagel Oven is can you please share. I will also tell you this....The Tinton Falls Deli use to get bagels brought in that were large crisp outside doughy inside and were FANTASTIC.....I don't know where they were getting them from but they switched about 5 years ago. Wish I knew the origins of those bagels.

        11 Replies
        1. re: jrvedivici

          Bagel Oven is a rather nondescript place on Monmouth Street in Red Bank - close to Elsie's Subs. Unless the world has changed more than I realized in the past twenty-five years, your RBC kids know about it.

          1. re: MGZ

            Interesting.....Elsie's subs is of course legendary and I know my kids go there......they have never mentioned Bagel Oven but now I'm going to ask!! Thanks for the tip!

            1. re: jrvedivici

              Oh Man . . . at 15,16, late for school, walking up from the train station on a cold morning . . . I'd part that creaky, ill fitted door and just utter, "Is anything hot?" Then I'd savor whatever they handed me as I slowly finished my trek to be rewarded with my scolding (and demerits).

            2. re: MGZ

              I am happy to report things have not changed in the past 25 years.......you are correct my RBC kids do know of The Bagel Oven and so does my wife it seems I am the only odd man out on this location. My son said he was just there with 2 friends and they couldn't get any service so they wound up leaving........and my wife said the place is small and "dingy" and she hasn't stepped foot in it for years. All of which means I'm going to have to check this place out!

              1. re: jrvedivici

                Well then, I suppose you need to go in the morning and just ask "anything hot?" Eat it completely unadorned - like a pretzel. If you're truly lucky, it will be a egg-everything that's still so warm . . . mmmm. I'm going to RB myself tomorrow, and now I've decided. Start with a little swing by the Farmers' Market, perhaps a beer at Tommy's, stroll up to the Cheese Cave for some toppings after I pick up a dozen bagels, and them march on up to Mom's house for some family football time.

                Oh, and, yes, it's dingy, but . . . quite often, so am I!

                1. re: MGZ

                  Under the "man of my word" category I had to drive one of my kids to school today so I decided to take this opportunity to check out Bagel Oven. It is VERY unassuming and if it weren't for the Elsie’s reference I would have never seen or found this place. “Dingy” is perhaps a little too harsh of a description……I will just say it is completely incognito. If not for what I believe was a hand written sign in magic marker that said Bagel Oven anyone from the street could assume this was a bodega, dry cleaners, pawn shop, vacuum store or perhaps a pet store.

                  Anyway…..very nice staff short line but steady stream of people coming in and out. I got a multi grain with cream cheese. The bagel is excellent texture I like very crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. My only disappointment is it’s size! They are on the small side for me.......I would say baseball diameter if you were to ask me and I prefer my bagels to be more softball diameter. Other than that it was very good, thanks for the tip!

                  1. re: jrvedivici

                    Next time try the pumpernickel/rye everything board with just a little cream cheese.
                    Excellent.

                    1. re: Papa Bing

                      "board"? You mean like a flagel? I just looove the everything flagels at Fairway!

                      1. re: MGZ

                        Yeah.....come on man I just lost 25lbs to drop back to 300......I can't start my day off with all those carbs.....so I did the multi grain!!

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          Fine, but remember, you can't judge a story by it's weakest character, or an album by it's lamest song . . . .

            3. Too many of these type places around for me to declare somebody the best in any category. But it has me thinking, does anybody serve pizza burgers on a bagel?

              6 Replies
              1. re: ebchower

                There's no "best" just what at this moment in time, given your location, tastes, whim, and inclination is your favorite in any or all of the categories. And, yes, my friend, a pizza burger on a bagel is a good idea (I've done pizza bagels and bagel burgers, but never have I tried for such a wonderful tripler. Hey, what if we put some pork roll on it too???)

                1. re: MGZ

                  Seeing a lot of Red Robin commercials watching the MLB playoffs on TBS. They are advertising their Octoberfest burger which looks to have some kind of ham/pork roll stacked on it. It doesn't look like something I would opt for on a burger.

                  1. re: ebchower

                    I think it is ham but porkroll on a burger is delicious (if you like porkroll)

                    man, this is a tough category. I break down pizza/burgers kind of by what style I am in the mood for so one clear winner is tough...let me think about it.

                    1. re: ebchower

                      Hell, the "Jersey Burger", which invariably has pork roll and cheese as toppings, is a staple of just about every bar here at the Shore. Personally, I like to put three slices of PR, American cheese, roasted Hatch chiles, raw onion, and a gently fried egg on an indulgent burger at home.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        Oh man, I am not going to be much help here, but here's my input:

                        Pizza. Someone above said burgers aren't their thing. Well, pizza isn't mine. I just don't care. :) But, if I had to pick one, it would be Pete & Elda's. Yes, I know it's not "traditional", but that's the point. Honorable mentions go to Pizza Hut pan pizza, and a garbage pie ("the works") just about anywhere.

                        Bagel. I don't care for dense bready objects. 'Nuff said. Again, not much help. Sorry, if I'm going to eat that many carbs at once, let me eat cake.

                        Burger. My vote STILL goes to "25 Burgers". I've gotten it medium rare every time (though I'm sure they would do rare), and it's consistently delicious. A quality product at a more than fair price (Considering they charge $6.50 for a large burger, and a chain like Friday's charges a minimum of $9.99 for something not even close. Oh, sure, it comes with Fries at Friday's, but really, so what?)

                        Oh, and I love their baked in-store bread. Especially the Miami onion roll. Bready, yes. Dense? No.

                  2. Pizza--Maruca's in Seaside Park.