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Celebrity Pizza Picks

New Jersey-based celebrities dish about they favorite pizza joints around the state.

Posted January 12, 2010

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David Burke of Fromagerie in Rumson (t)
Photo by Marc Steiner/Agency New Jersey.

Martin Brodeur
The Brodeur family eats at Famous Ray's Pizza in Verona.
Photo by Chris McGrath.

Chris Carlin
The sportscaster knows the score when he dines with his wife: half plain, half pepperoni.
Photo by John Emerson.

Becky Quick
The news anchor, a native Chicagoan, has come around to Jersey thin crust from the deep dish of her home city.
Photo by John Emerson.

David Burke, restaurateur; owner, Fromagerie in Rumson.

Hometown: Fort Lee

“There are three places I go for pizza. One is Baggios on Main Street in Fort Lee. Another is Armando’s, also on Main Street. Armando’s is more traditional. Baggios has a different kind of sauce—it’s more caramelized, and has more flavor. The third place I go is Grissini in Englewood Cliffs. That’s fine dining, more gourmet. You get fresh mozzarella, artisanal style.

“The best way to order pizza is to ask for it cooked a little well. As for toppings, I’m a Margherita guy. I like fresh basil only. And if I do have a topping I like it to be meat, but not pepperoni.

“Another good way to order pizza is to put potato chips on top. You open the bag of chips—barbecue or sour cream and onion—and you pour them right on. Throw some chopped basil and parmesan on and it looks pretty, too.”

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Martin Brodeur, goalie, New Jersey Devils.

Hometown: Caldwell

The Brodeur family favorite is Famous Ray’s Pizza in Verona. “We go at least once a month. I used to go more when I was younger. I have to watch my diet, I’m not that young anymore.” His favorite slice: “I’m a traditionalist, I like it with just cheese.”

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Chris Carlin, TV/radio personality, Sports New York.

Hometown: Scotch Plains

“We like the Brick Oven in Westfield. Usually when my wife and I order we get it half plain, half pepperoni. There’s also a place not far away in Summit I love—Marco Polo. You can get pizza there. I’d call it my favorite restaurant in New Jersey. Everything there you wolf down. The garlic bread is unbelievable.”

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Frank Vincent, actor, Goodfellas and The Sopranos.

Home: Essex County

“Ritacco Brothers in Nutley has good thin crust and one of those fancy brick ovens; those make the pizza taste good. And there’s another place in Nutley, Regina Margherita. At Regina’s, his pizzas are so good, you have to eat them right there. He won’t even deliver them, because if he delivers them he worries they get soggy. So I go and I have it right there, usually with mushrooms and a little onion.”

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Steve Schirripa, actor, The Sopranos; author, The Goomba Diet

Hometown: New York City

When he was doing The Sopranos, Schirripa’s favorite place was Patsy’s in Fairview. “The way I like pizza is pretty simple. I don’t like much on it. I like a Sicilian pizza with a thick crust and a lot of sauce. I don’t like it overrun with cheese. Also, there should be a lot of it. I’m a big guy; I don’t like when I get a tiny amount of food.”

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Calvin Pace, linebacker, New York Jets.

Hometown: Warren

“I’m still trying to figure out a good place for pizza in New Jersey. To be honest the best pizza I’ve found is at Whole Foods. At the store in Madison, they make it fresh every day. You can get it with cheese and pepperoni, and they’ll warm it up in the oven for you. It’s got a good, thin crust.”

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Tom Scharpling, host, The Best Show on WFMU; writer/executive producer, Monk.

Hometown: The Woodbridge area

“My favorite New Jersey pizza place would be Saporito Pizza on Route 22 in Springfield. It’s a very reliable and solid place, and they usually have non-cheese options for those of us who cannot handle cheese as well as we used to in our youths. And there’s some pretty good variety, including a bruschetta pizza that is amazing.
“I am always a fan of the occasional pineapple on pizza. Some people consider that to be disgusting, but I consider sausage and pepperoni disgusting, so there!”

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Becky Quick, co-anchor, CNBC’s Squawk Box

Hometown: Haworth

Quick’s favorite place for pizza is Andiamo Restaurant in Haworth. “I’m from outside Chicago, so I grew up on deep-dish pizza. When I came to New Jersey, I couldn’t get used to the thin, cardboard-like pizza. But with its fresh toppings—basil, garlic, and mozzarella—Andiamo has made a convert out of me. And its cracker-thin crust means that even if you load up on the meat-lover’s special, you won’t get weighed down. My favorites are Margherita or Linda’s special, with scallions, basil, and plum tomatoes—all fresh!”

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Ron Galella, celebrity photographer.

Hometown: Montville

“The best pizza place is the Columbia Inn in Montville. I usually get it Italian style, with onion, garlic, and tomato. Also I like anchovies. And my wife likes it Margherita style. The reason it’s good is the thin crust. Most crusts are usually too doughy.”

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Janet Evanovich, author.

Hometown: Formerly of South River

Evanovich is partial to Jimmy C’s in Point Pleasant Beach, which she lauds for its “Jersey pizza crust, sloppy-greasy-cheesy good pizza, and it’s on the boardwalk.” So how does the pizza in her adopted states of New Hampshire and Florida stack up? “Get real,” she says. “If it’s not Jersey pizza it’s not pizza.”

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George Clinton, musician.

Hometown: formerly of Newark and Plainfield.

“In north Newark near Bloomfield Avenue, that’s where you’ll find the best pizza. We used to go to a place called Pete’s Pizza that had real thin crust—it’s the way they toss the pizza that makes the crust good and thin. Then there’s Tony’s Pizza in Newark where you can get Italian hotdogs and pizza. We used to line up for that.”

Click on the links below to read more pizza stories from our dining issue:

25 Perfect Pizzas

Picking the Perfect Pizza Wine

Searching for the Soul of Jersey Pizza

The Original

Dough Boy


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