DeLucia's Pizza, Raritan
While I've lived in central NJ for years, I'm not at all familiar with the town of Raritan (which I always thought of as a suburb of nearby Somerville), but a friend mentioned DeLucia's and reviews he's read about it being one of the better pizzeria's around, and, not having anything to do last night and being hungry, we decided to check it out.
It certainly is unique. Located on what seems to be a sidestreet, we walked into what at first seemed to be an Italian social club. A nearly empty room with tables (a woman and her 2 kids sat at one), refrigerators with sodas against the wall, and...that was about it. I don't know the history of this place, but I got the feeling that it had existed for a long, long time. So, obviously, it has a loyal, supportive clientele, although it was pretty much empty when we were there. There was a room next door to the main dining room and my friend poked his head inside and asked the 3 or 4 waitresses gathered there and an older guy who I assume was the cook how things worked. We were told to select a table, picked sodas out of the refrigerator (he got Coke; I got Birch Beer, which I haven't had in years), and ordered a salad and a large plain pizza (by the way, they pretty much serve only pizza here--- pizza, salad, and calzones). The plan was to split both the salad and the pizza. The young waitresses were pretty and pretty friendly, and, at the risk of sounding sexist, the "summer-style" clothing was a treat to these middle-aged eyes.
I'm not a big fan of salads, but DeLucia's makes a good one. We split the large bowl of salad greens (not a leaf or fragment of Iceberg lettuce in the bowl), tomato, onions. and croutons (served with packets of dressing), and I was impressed, as impressed as I'm gonna be with a salad.
The pizza was smaller than I expected, with a crisp crust. I love pizza, have eaten it all my life, but I'm not exactly a connoisseur (if that makes sense). I thought it had an interesting taste, and I ate my 4 slices with alacrity. As did my friend. There was one other guy in the restaurant, sitting behind me. Against the far wall, 3 or 4 tables pushed together had a sign on it marked "Reserved." My friend laughed and said, "Reserve what? There's nobody here!" The guy behind me grunted in barely concealed distaste (or so I imagine; maybe he was just clearing his throat) and I figured maybe he was one of the owners. Whatever; we ate our food and left.
As we walked away, I said, "I liked it, it had a pretty good taste, but I don't think I'd make a special trip to eat it." Different, and the setting was picturesque, but I've had better. My friend agreed.
Anybody else been there? Am I on target or off base?
Grew up in the vicinity and DeLucia's as well as the long departed Old York Inn just down the road were our HS go to joints. Great pizza's back then, Pitchers of coke, no refrigerators, okay salads, packed Fridays and Saturdays. Simple sauce, bit of oregano, canned Parmesan, maybe some hot pepper flakes and great company. Returned a couple decades later, Well-worn, tired and nothing to distinguish itself. Okay pizza but not worth driving for anymore.