New Jersey, meet your new Head of Pizza, local foodie Adrienne Middleton.
Slice, an online ordering platform for independent pizzerias, has elected what it calls Heads of Pizza in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to promote the visibility of small business-pizza places around the country. Adrienne Middleton, who lives in Bayonne, was named New Jersey’s Head of Pizza last month. She grew up in Jersey City and Harrison and started her Yelp journey in early 2018. Middleton soon amassed enough likes and followers to earn Yelp Elite status. On her Instagram account, EastCoastAdri, she highlights her favorite independent businesses—especially pizzerias.
“My friends were always like, ‘Adrienne, what are your recommendations?’” Middleton says. “I love sharing things to do and connecting people with small businesses.”
Slice’s 51 Heads of Pizza around the country will be responsible for finding and highlighting local pizzerias once a week, as well as participating in monthly challenges.
“Every pizzeria has a story, and we don’t always have the ability to get in touch with them,” says Lauren Bazzini, a public relations and events specialist for Slice. “We thought, ‘Why not involve the local communities to celebrate these places?’”
Middleton started her new role last month and is excited “to venture out and find new places around the state.” With an estimated 2,000 pizzerias located across New Jersey, Middleton has plenty of spots to check out—including those on New Jersey Monthly‘s Best Pizza in New Jersey list.
When did you start your social media and foodie page?
Adrienne Middleton: I went to an event and saw everyone had foodie pages and I was like, “I should definitely have one.” I made it in 2019 and since then, I’ve been sharing fun things to do and eat with my followers.
In Bayonne, we have a lot of small businesses here. One of the main reasons I started my page was because I loved to connect with the businesses in the area.
How did you hear about Slice’s Head of Pizza position?
I saw it on another foodie’s page, and thought, “I love pizza.” I’ve always been a pizza person, it’s my favorite food. Why not apply? I shared my foodie Instagram and went into detail about what I love about pizza and small businesses and things like that. I was shocked I got the role. I’m so excited for this opportunity.
What are your duties as NJ’s Head of Pizza?
I visit a local pizzeria once a week and take videos and pictures of what I order. I introduce myself to the staff and say I’m from Slice, then I share everything on my social media pages. I live in Bayonne, so I do have specific pizzerias that I like and go to often, but Slice has been opening me up to so many other ones.
Why did you want to help small businesses?
Connecting with small businesses is like a family in some way. They’re always so friendly. When I get to post about them it’s near and dear to my heart because I can share their business with other people. That’s why I think this was the perfect position for me, because I get to connect with locals and see what they’re creating in the community.
Do you have any favorite Jersey pizzerias?
My favorite in Bayonne is Mona Lisa. In Harrison, there’s a great place called Gina’s Pizzeria and they serve massive slices with a drink for just $5. I’m excited to try new places.
How do you find them?
I look on Instagram a lot. When I look on the Slice app, it shows so many pizzerias that I didn’t even know were in my area or nearby, so it’s super helpful.
You’re from Northern Jersey, but will you travel around the state?
For the month of November, I stayed in the Bayonne area, then in December [I’ll] head into Jersey City and Hoboken, and continue venturing out each month. There are definitely some South Jersey places on my radar that I need to travel to, and I’ll get there!
What are your favorite toppings when you test a place for the first time?
I’m a pescatarian, so I don’t eat meat. I’ll go for Margherita slices—they are my number one. I’ve also been getting into vodka sauce slices, and Caesar salad pizza is so good hot or cold.
How can people follow you?
My Instagram is EastCoastAdri and I post everything there. I’m going to make a guide there for all the places I visit, so everyone can connect with me.