35 Must-Try Palaces of Pizza

Take a century of tradition, add local color, a new wave of artisanship and imagination, and what you get just might be Jersey's favorite food.

DeLorenzo’s Pizza, Hamilton

Photo by Erik Rank

Rick DeLorenzo Jr. carries on the tradition of the Trenton tomato pie he inherited from his father, Rick Sr., though the business left Trenton in 2013. Tomatoes, as ever, go on last, covering the cheese and toppings. Rick’s twist on tradition is to use a tomato sauce rather than the chunky tomatoes favored by the two other bastions of tomato pie, Papa’s and—a separate business run by a branch of the family—De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies.—EL
147 Sloan Avenue, 609-393-2952

De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies, Robbinsville

The original Trenton tomato pie survives in the suburbs. De Lorenzo’s, which closed its Trenton restaurant in 2012, is run by Sam Amico, grandson of founder Chick De Lorenzo. According to tomato pie tradition, cheese goes on first, then toppings, and chunky tomatoes last. De Lo’s cuts its thin-crust pies with a knife rather than a roller, making for intriguingly individual pieces.—EL
2350 Route 33, Town Center, 609-341-8480

Galasso’s, Frenchtown

An Italian restaurant with a black-and-white checkerboard floor, Galasso’s opened in 1996. Guido Romeo and Joe DiCarlo bought it from the Galasso family 10 years ago. You can’t go wrong with a slice from any of the standard pies behind the glass counter. But to experience Galasso’s best, order a Brooklyn style. It’s a type often called a Grandma pie, baked in a rectangular pan, the dough not as thick as Sicilian and given less time to rise. Here, the dough is par-baked alone, then topped with chunky tomato sauce and cheese and returned to the oven. The texture of the crust is deliciously dense, almost creamy. Grab a crispy corner slice if you can.—SV
48 Bridge Street, 908-996-2511; BYO

Kinchley’s Tavern, Ramsey

Dolly Van Wetting gets a kick out of great-grandson Jake Knubel's gusto at Kinchley's Tavern.

Dolly Van Wetting gets a kick out of great-grandson Jake Knubel’s gusto at Kinchley’s Tavern. Photo by Erik Rank

This venerable roadhouse manages to layer inviting amounts of cheese and sauce on a thin, cracker-like crust that holds up. The recipe hasn’t changed since the tavern started serving pizza in 1947. George Margolis, whose family has owned the tavern since 1986, recommends a max of three toppings so as not to overwhelm the crust. That doesn’t stop people from ordering the Garbage pie, a pungent conglomeration of pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers and anchovies. The cozy, wood-paneled interior, with its red-gingham, oilcloth table covers and extensive model-train collection, adds to the charm.—MRB
586 Franklin Turnpike, 201 934-7777

Liberty Hall, Lambertville

Chris Bryan worked the ovens at Nomad in Princeton and Hopewell for four years before opening his own Neapolitan pizzeria with business partner Danny Popkin in 2014. His flavorful, three-day-fermented dough bakes rich and light. For Bryan, the name Liberty Hall means “a place where one can do as one likes,” and he does exactly that. His outstanding Lardo, a white pizza with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, chopped fresh rosemary and Sicilian sea salt, is named for the translucent strips of cured pork fat that melt into the dough, tipping it into unctuous delight. His Carbonara riffs on that indulgent pasta dish, showering the dough with Pecorino Romano, fresh-ground black pepper, and chunks of guanciale, crowning it with a raw egg before slipping it into the oven.—SV
243 North Union Street, 609-397-8400; BYO

Photo by Erik Rank

Manco & Manco, Ocean City

This boardwalk institution is both beloved and besmirched. Beloved for its thin-crust pies, the dough tossed high in the air to amuse waiting customers. It’s best ordered well-done for maximum crunch. No one knows the exact cheese composition (some fans say they detect aged cheddar), but it mingles well with a zesty tomato sauce applied in a spiral with a contraption so unusual it has its own hashtag (#saucehose). In September, besmirched, owner Charles Bangle, 57, began a 15-month prison term for tax evasion. His wife, Mary, received probation. Many locals spoke up for the couple at the trial last year. Judging the pizza on its merits, Manco & Manco still makes one of the Shore’s best.—AE
9th Street at Boardwalk, 609-399-2548 (year-round); 8th at Boardwalk, 609-399-2783, 12th at Boardwalk, 609-398-0720 (seasonal); BYO

Mannino’s, Pitman

An offshoot of Mannino’s Italian restaurant, this casual spot specializes in Neapolitan pizza made with genuine San Marzano tomatoes, baked in an oven burning BTU-rich white oak. Vito Mannino ferments his dough a patient 72 hours for a lightness and digestibility that draws you back for another slice after the slice you swore would be your last. There are 21 composed pies, including short rib with caramelized onions, mozzarella, provolone and arugula. But it’s hard to beat the Traditional, a seance of milky-sweet, house-made mozzarella, San Marzanos and pungent, dried, Sicilian oregano. —AE
170 South Broadway, 856-716-6366

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  1. Sanford Josephson

    Missing: Emilio’s in Manchester.

  2. Luch

    Where’s Vic’s in Bradley Beach?

  3. Rich OFlaherty

    Im sure there’s dozens of pizza joints in every town so I guess thats how you guys missed Denino’s South in…….believe it or not, Brick. I know, I know…..ocean friggin county???? Those clam diggers know nothing about good pizza, right? At least that’s been my experience ever since I hung up my BENNY cutoffs over 30 years ago and started diggin clams myself. And then I discovered a Staten Island family brought outstanding authentic thin crust pizza to my neighborhood that most certainly should have made the list, somewhere near the top.

  4. Rich Van Tassel

    I have only tried a few on the list, so I have a lot of homework to do. Reservoir Tavern is great. Please try Columbia Inn in Montville. I think for Thin Crust, it is one of the best!