classic Margherita, made with tangy buffalo-milk mozzarella shipped in fresh from Campania, is South Jersey’s best.—ae
E509 Hopkins Road, 856-428-9505;
Photos of local soccer teams and posters of
Italy’s 2006 World Cup champion team set the
tone, along with a long, glass-brick bar (happy
hour, weekdays, noon to 5 pm). Owner Ciro
Baldino’s distant relatives, Sebastiano and
Anne Conte, opened Conte’s in 1950. Baldino
still serves their style of crisp, thin-crust pies
with silky, house-made sauce. Among many
toppings, the pepperoni is particularly good.
The small, thick discs curl in the oven, collecting tiny pools of flavorful oil.—SV
E339 Witherspoon Street, 609-921-8041;
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
E48 Bridge Street, 908-996-2511;
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
E586 Franklin Turnpike, 201 934-7777; kinchleyspizza.com
a kick out of
hurries hot pizzas to tables.
The most iconic pizza, created
in 1889 in Naples for Queen Margherita, it replicates the colors of
the Italian flag in tomato sauce,
mozzarella and fresh basil.
Puffy and pliant, made with
imported 00-flour milled as fine
as baby powder, and baked at
about 950 degrees in less than
two minutes, Neapolitan pizza
has achieved a toehold in Jersey
in recent years. In December,
UNESCO added the pizza makers
of present-day Naples to its cultural heritage list.
Famed plum tomatoes from the
volcanic soil of San Marzano,
at the base of Mount Vesuvius
near Naples. Required for official
Neapolitan pizza. Not all tomatoes
sold in the United States as San
Marzano or San Marzano-style are
necessarily grown in the town of
San Marzano. Are they the best?
Depends. Judge pizza by taste,
not by whether the menu says San
In Jersey, thick-crust pizza, usually
topped just with cheese and sauce,
baked in rectangular pans.
A century ago, coal was the cheap-est and most common fuel. Coal
burns very hot (around 1,000 degrees) and dry, imparting no flavor.
In artisanal, dome-shaped ovens,
it’s largely been supplanted by
wood, which burns hot, does not
impart flavor, but contains some
moisture that helps dough retain
suppleness. Gas-fired commercial
ovens are also flavor neutral, bake
at slightly lower temperatures and
can handle larger loads.