Some of NJ's best Sicilian pizza is now in Verona
- creamfinger Sep 25, 2013 02:01 AM
Some people like their pizza light and crispy, other people enjoy a more traditional slice, but for me it's all about Sicilian pizza. Sadly, there aren't a lot of pizza places that do Sicilian pizza really well in NJ (that I've found), and none are near where I live. The ones I do like are La Sicilia in Belleville, Nonna's in Florham Park, Mr. Bruno's in Clifton and Mr. Bruno's in Lyndhurst (I think the two places have different owners, but both are good). Grandma style pizza is even harder to find.
Happily, the Mr. Bruno's in Lyndhurst just opened a branch today in Verona, on Bloomfield Ave. called Mr. Bruno’s Pizza & Beyond. Since it was their first day, I decided to take one for the team and stop in for a slice of that Sicilian I love. I'm happy to report, even on day one it was great. In fact all the pies they had out looked fantastic. They had maybe 15 different pies fresh from the oven, out on the counter, including the square Grandma and my favorite, their Sicilian, which is crunchy, with some color on the bottom, a really great sauce spotted with caramelized bits of what I think is Romano. 2 slices and a drink was about $5 and change. It took all my self control not to go back to try a Grandma slice too.
My only complaint is that the place is not really set up for dining in. With only 2 or thee regular tables and a bunch of bar style tall tables, It seems like they want you to have your slice and get out. That suits me fine, but they might want to rethink their layout if they really want dine-in business.
Verona already has the best pizza in the area at Frank Anthony's. Really good.
The new Salugo down the block (owned by the same owners as Montclairs's Fin, Saluga) makes a pretty darn good pizza as well.
I need to get to get to Mr. Bruno's soon, sounds good.
Isn't there a Mr. Bruno's in Saddle Brook too? That's the one we frequent. This is really great news since my mother lives in Caldwell.
For a sicilian rec, have you ever had Al Santillo's in Elizabeth? It's without a doubt, to me, the best pizza on earth...both the rounds and the squares. Ask for the sicilian well done and he finishes it directly on the brick for that extra crunch. Dude is a true auteur.
I know that the Mr. Bruno's in Verona is owned by the same people who own the Lyndhurst location, because it says so on the door. I know the Mr. Bruno's in Clifton is a different owner. As for any other Mr. Bruno's restaurants, I don't know how owns them.
I've heard about Al Santillo's pizza, but unfortunately Elizabeth is a good hour from where I live so I haven't been there... yet.
Mr. Bruno's in Lyndhurst is very good but I am not sure it is the same owners as the one in Saddle Brook. It might be but it has been a very long time since I tried it so I can't really remember if they were similar.
Mario's in Maywood has a good Grandma pie.
Mr. Bruno's in Lyndhurst is our Favorite! Their square pie is fantastic as are their 'red sauce' dinners. Our go to take out Italian!
Based on the discussions here, I tried Mr Bruno's Pizza and Beyond yesterday with my Nephew after golf in Parsippany. Verona is a detour off our regular route off Interstate 80 back to Bergen County, and in part, that detour factors into our thoughts and opinions... With due respect to others, we did not have the same reactions and experience as you all have. We arrived @ 5:30 and were pleasantly surprised by the decor and the large selection of offerings in the display cases..from the slice pizza to the Panini ...but to be honest, upon closer inspection, it looked like leftover food made much earlier in the day, especially all the Square slices with toppings.
We engaged the employee with questions about the menu and asked if he could make a Half and Half of two different items, but were told it was not possible, as the different styles of crust made it impossible. No problem, we settled on the Sicilian, as he said it was their best and what they are known for....While waiting, we found out the owner was on premise, but he never acknowledged our presence until the the pizza was done and he called us over to pick up and pay. I mention this because the entire time we were there, only one other person came in and placed an order in person and there appeared to be only one other telephone order.....I notice these things, as it's part of my DNA from working in the food industry....The price of the Sicilian was $18 and change, another $2 tip for the worker. All in for just over 20 bucks without drinks. The owner never thanked us for paying, although he collected the cash, or asked us any other pleasantries., e.g. ,
* How did we hear about the place or how we enjoyed the pizza. For a new place, especially an empty one on a Sunday, I would think the owner would be more interested in his customers.... and as such, rings a little truth about your complaint:
"It seems like they want you to have your slice and get out."
As for the pizza itself, we brought it to the table and allowed it to rest for 5 minutes in the box before we dug in. I will say the pizza looked good and it was steaming hot. When we took put the first two slices, it was a little hard to pick up and the tomatoes slid off over the edges. After the first bite, I asked the nephew what he thought....and his reply was. * It's okay, but I wouldn't make a special trip here again.* I could not disagree...
In rating the pizza, we both thought it was undercooked, light on the cheese and the corners were better than the center slices while having the pizza on location...Since the owner was on premise and pulled the pizza out of the oven, I do not think this can be attributed to growing pains or learning how to use the oven. The good news is the pizza is better the second time around, as we only ate half and brought home the other half to family. Once reheated, the pizza was definitely better and enjoyed by the others with Thumbs up.
For the record, we both thought Bruno's in Clifton was better on a head to head comparison and for their full service menu....especially since you can also have a Beer if you choose.
I tried it last week. I work in the area so stopped by for a Sicilian and a regular slice. I ate it in the car, as there isn't much seating and they were crowded. I thought both slices were very good. I don't trust the "fancy" pies that any pizzeria makes, such as chicken francaise pizza, mac and cheese pizza, etc., as they can't sell a lot of them; I wonder when it was made! Overall a good pizzeria, in a strip mall with parking (though I did have flashbacks to Amazing Hotdogs which used to be there).