De Lorenzo’s Is The Best Pizza In The Universe
I like pizza. I mean I really like it. A lot. I guess I can be kind of a snob, but knowing what you like isn’t really snobbery, it’s just knowing what you like. I don’t like that Dominos (and Food Service) puffy crust. I also don’t like super dense crust. Oddly. I do like cheap, shitty $1 pizza as well as carnival type pizza (frozen shells). So, as a pizza fan, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting places. I am also always talking to pizza fan and comedian Joe Moore about places we could swap, especially because I am always traveling around doing standup comedy shows.
One day I was chatting with Joe about comedy, not pizza, when someone came over and asked him what his absolute favorite pizza was. He responded without even thinking “Easy. DeLorenzos.”. He went on to tell me that the place used to be in Trenton and it moved to a small town right outside. He could not stress it more: it was perfect. Now, I don’t usually get that far up in Jersey to Trenton, or if I do, I go way past it, up to Princeton or further. But one day I booked a show in Robbinsville. The name of the town looked familiar to me so I ran it by Joe and he verified it, it was the home of De Lorenzo’s.
After my show I literally ran to my car and drove over to De Lorenzo’s. The town of Robbinsville is cute, and everything is mostly new because it all used to be farmland that was just recently developed in the last 10-15 years. De Lorenzo’s sits in a shopping development with lofts over it and central parking in the back (someone actually thought about planning, that’s a nice change).
Inside there are some lovely red booths and white twinkly lights. But I was more interested in the ovens! The ovens, while I do not know if they are original, I believe did come from the old place in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, on Hudson street, where the original place stood for over 60 years. Now in thier 8th year in Robbinsville, the quality still stands.
But enough talk about the past. Let’s talk about the present. I walked into the restaurant and ordered a large pepperoni and homemade meatball pie and a medium pepper and onion pie. And then I had to drive an hour home with those pies in the car. I wanted to die! I wanted to dive right in on the highway and start stuff that amazingly smelling pepperoni, meatball, onion, pepper and garlicy pizza right into my mouth. But I didn’t! Why? For journalism! I hope you all appreciate it! Also, scroll to the end for a Photo Gallery!
First up: The pepperoni and homemade meatball pie. I have never had meatball on a pie and I had seen the pepperoni they use: not the sliced super thin stuff that comes 6 pounds to a bag (altho that does have a time and place), they use the quality stuff and aren’t stingy with it. The meatball made me almost burst into tears when I saw it: big slices spread all over the one side of the pie and smelled amazing. It was a little peppery but meaty. It was a perfect meatball. I would have loved to just have a bowl of those meatballs. Mental note: ask about that next time. The sauce was slightly sweet and slightly chunky. The cheese wasn’t 6 feet thick, it was just the right amount to not overpower anything else.
The crust is thin, in that it’s…thin and not a cracker. Some pieces were well done and some were exactly done. As Americans, we are spoiled in that we believe everything should be done exactly the same way all the way around, because we are used to machine and factory made things. We have lost touch with the idea of “homemade”. It’s the tiny little imperfections that make things unique and in the case of this pizza, absolutely amazing.
The pepper and onion pizza, well, I didn’t know if I would like that as much until I took a bite of it. Why? Because it’s sweet peppers! I love sweet peppers and always get them on hoagies! I never had them on pizza, and man was I missing out! The crust on this guy was a little more evenly cooked around the edges but I could care less. It was also fantastic.
Something else I loved is that there is a whiff of garlic to this pizza, but it’s not overpowering. I guess after 68 years, they know what they are doing, so don’t ask questions, just eat!
What I found interesting about this pizza is that they didn’t cut it into wedges. The only other time I have ever seen a circular pizza not cut into wedges was years ago when I was in suburban Chicago. I was at a house and they flipped open the pizza box and I was completely puzzled. The pie was cut into many squares. “WHY!” I thought. “WHY, GOD, WHY!”. This pizza was cut more into rectangles and frankly, I was totally ok with it because you had a shot at crust in every piece. It was probably easier to eat that way as well, because the point would probably break off between the thin-ness and the weight of the toppings. Or not, this is totally conjecture. Anywho, it was fantastic.
Many food websites as well as Zagat have rated De Lorenzo’s the absolute best pizza in the Country. I agree. When I got home and started texting Joe Moore about how I ate it, he asked me what I thought, because he was afraid he might have been overselling it. Spoiler alert: he didn’t. I wanted to build a speedway so I could go to Robbinsville each week and eat this pizza. I wanted to rub it all over me and build a pizza monument to it. I wanted to call the owners and ask them what I did in life to deserve to eat pizza that was so fucking amazing. I wanted to hug them and thank them. I cannot stress this highly enough GO TO THIS PLACE.
2350 US Highway 33
Robbinsville, New Jersey 08691
Lunch: Tue.-Fri., 11-2 • Dinner: Tue.-Sun., 4-10 • Closed Mondays
Loving The Hand Tossed Hut
I live in a city where you can’t walk 5 feet without having some good pizza to eat. Wether you like big sloppy pieces that you could use as a car cover, thick Sicilian pizza, pizza with sauce on the top, the bottom or no sauce at all, crispy wood fire grill type, gas oven type or even little pieces of perfection made in a little South Philly bakery, and anywhere else in between, we got you covered. That’s why I am not a fan of chain pizza. Domino’s and Papa John’s are complete garbage: spongey, overdone crust with salt soaked everything else. Gross.
I do have a small spot in my heart for Pizza Hut. When I was a very little kid, my parents and I would drive allllll the way up to the Northeast to eat at a Pizza Hut on the occasional Friday as a special occasion kind of thing. At the time, it was the closest one to our house and I always looked forward to it. Maybe it was because I was allowed to make my own salad at the salad bar (hello, salad mountain!) or maybe because thier buttery crust pizza was just so damn good. It was different from what the local places sold, and that was ok with me, because it was great.
Over the years I have scaled back my intake of Pizza Hut, mostly because the grease would tie me up in knots. Also, like I said above, local places were so good, and I always feel good supporting the local guys.
A little while back, I signed up for thier email list, mostly because I love the name of it: Hut Lover’s. It makes me giggle, mostly because I am a huge Star Wars Fan. I also do a bit about that in my standup set. But anyway, they were advertising thier new pizza “Hand Tossed” pizza and I felt like maybe this one wouldn’t tie me up in knots. And I was pleasantly surprised!
I thought about calling to order and then I remembered they have an iphone app. I opened the app, chose delivery, pay in cash and then not only was I given the choice of the regular pies and packages they offer, they also list, in detail, all thier daily specials. That was pretty awesome! I picked a hand tossed pizza and in the Super Supreme style. It was $11 and $14.58 with tax and delivery charge ($2.50 but the delivery lady was super nice, so I’m not complaining).
The Super Supreme pizza includes: pepperoni, ham, beef, pork sausage, Italian sausage, red onions, mushrooms, green peppers and black olives. This pizza was LOADED. It only took them a half hour to make it and get it to my door, so it was piping hot, which was nice. Nothing worse then a lukewarm pizza showing up, half congealed. They also were not skimpy on the toppings. Literally in every bite I had at least 4 toppings and the pieces were pretty big. A thing that also used to bug me when eating at Pizza Hut was that I felt like I ate 7,000 tons of salt. But the toppings weren’t salty and neither was the sauce.
Over the years, Pizza Hut has tried to examine every section of the pizza, to try and jam more cheese into it. Let’s face it, when your business is pizza, there’s only so much you can do. With this hand tossed pizza, they decided to cover the outside crust with a garlic parmesan shaker coating. Honestly, it’s delicious. It helps with the seasoning of the whole pie and, well, keeps you licking your fingers. A nice touch, I thought, was that when ordering online, they give you the option of skipping the coating if you so chooses. A nice touch for people who might not dig garlic. It shows the gang at Pizza Hut are paying attention.
But let’s talk about the crust. This thing is supposedly “hand tossed”. I sincerely doubt that the kids working at The Hut are tossing pizzas into the air, but whatever they are doing, they are doing it right. They are shooting for the local pizza parlor look and style and they have hit it, with a flair all thier own.
The outside crust is denser then the pan and chewy, without the patented Pizza Hut grease. I mean seriously, this pie is not greasy *at all* beyond the usual pizza grease you’d get because…it’s a pizza.
The inside crust is thin and still chewy, but not too thin so that when you pick it up it collapses. You wanna fold it? Go for it (altho the slices are still smaller then a regular pizza place). It is as close to a pizza place then Pizza Hut is going to get. They do it with thier own flair and I have to say, they hit the mark.
I feel weird reviewing things without finding something to not like. This might be the first time I like every single thing. The crust is good, the seasoning is good, the toppings were good and even the delivery was prompt and got here right when they said it would. I am sure you mileage may vary depending on where you live, but for a shade under $15 bucks, I was really impressed with this pizza.
Hat’s off to Pizza Hut for a really great job.
Ah, pizza. The one food I could eat everyday, for every meal. The one food my grandpop would not eat, even when his army buddies got him drunk. The one food people have very specific likes of: thin crust, thick crust, deep dish, pepperoni, white pies, cold pizza, hot pizza, frozen pizza from the toaster oven, steaming hot right out of the oven pizza. The list goes on and on.
Anyone with half a brain can make a pizza. But to make a great pizza requires skill and a really great oven. This brings us to Tacconelli’s. Tacconelli’s is a pizza place in my neighborhood, the Port Richmond section of Philly, on Somerset street. They have a very cool brick oven and they know how to use it.
You can’t just pop in there and order a pie. I mean, you can, but it is easier to call ahead and order your dough. You can tell them what to do with it when you get there but you better call ahead, because it’s a one man, one person oven and they only make so much dough every day. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Needless to say, this makes the pizza desirable, to say the least.
My friend Joe Moore is from the Jerz, and had not had really any good pizza in the Philly area. Every time he would say that, it occurred to me to mention Tacconelli’s and then I would forget. We finally got it together and got on over there. Now, you have to understand, Joe is no ordinary pizza shmoe. He is what would call a connousseur of pizza, a lover of the pizza pie. He was also really excited about the outing, as was I!
We decided on getting the Regular pie (with a little cheese and sauce) and a Margherita pie (with fresh basil and fresh mozzerella) and a third pie with pepperoni.
All of the pies were great! The thin crunchy crust was perfect, and Joe was surprised by the sweetness of the sauce.
I liked that the pepperoni was sliced a little thicker. Some places slice it super thin (or, I should say, buy thin sliced pepperoni). It may have added grease, but pepperoni grease is delicious (you know it, I know it and everyone else knows it).
As you can see in the picture here, the crust is super thin, so you can really put away a lot of this pizza. In fact, we put away about 75% of it. I don’t know about Joe, but I had to actually stop myself from eating because I would have gone on and mowed through the rest of it (thank god we saved some for his wife Emily, or I would have really hurt myself).
If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say the pepperoni one was the best, but the Margherita wasn’t bad either. The pepperoni pieces were smaller then you would get at a regular pizza place, but they were a tad thicker and they are not stingy with it. If you are a regular reader at all of this blog, you know I hate stingyness!
The fresh basil on the Margherita really gave it some depth, even tho I could have done with more of it. The problem with basil is that too much and you end up with everything tasting like basil (and not this Basil). Overall it was delicious, thin, crispy and slightly sweet.
Joe, being the pizza guy he is, wrote up a little piece about what he thought of the pies as well:
I had heard a lot about Tacconelli’s pizza and was pretty excited to finally try it.
Five Dollar Pizza: Hello Little Caesars
I grew up at, and still live in, a place with awesome pizza. I can really say I have only had pizza I wouldn’t eat a handful of times and most of the time it comes from a freezer (and being honest here, I’d still eat it. Starving kids and all….). Up until I was in high school, I only had pizza from local pizza places, with the occasional trip to Pizza Hut on a Friday night as a treat.
I always liked Pizza Hut, but only ate it once in a while (and let’s face it, that’s some heavy, greasy pizza. I don’t know about you, but I always have to book some home time after that until my body returns to normal afterwards.) and I was always allowed to load up on the salad bar first, so I think my Mom thought I was even-steven with my nutrients. Pizza Hut was the only chain pizza place in Philly at that point. We would see ads for Little Caesars with the little toga guy (who looked suspiciously like the little guy in the Pink Panther cartoons), but no one I knew ever ate there or knew where one was (until about 10 years ago and my friend Pat told me there was one by his house in Havertown when he was a kid in the 90’s).
So, in the past 15 years or so, Dominos, Papa John’s and Little Caesars have infiltrated the Philly area. I don’t like eating at places like that because I’d rather support local businesses and keep money in my neighborhood. I have had Papa John’s and Domino’s and I’d rather eat my sneakers then eat that inedible crap again. I don’t care how much they say they changed, the pizza is always all crust, and puffy, crappy crust at that. But, as the glutton I am, I was intrigued by the Little Caesars “$5 Hot and Ready Pizza”. I mean, how good could a $5 pizza be? One night I was talking about it at an open mic and my friend James Hesky (of The Monthly Hour with James Hesky at the Philly Improv Theatre) told me it was pretty good, so that intrigued me. I had to have it.
And so I did.
One Sunday, I was hungry. I also wanted to watch football. And all I had was $5, so I ended up at Little Caesars. Contrary to what the ads might have you think, they offer a lot of other sorts of pizza, I think they offer the $5 one to lure you in and then try the up sell. It wasn’t a strong-arm up sell (Crazy Bread? Soda? Wings? A Square Pizza?), so it didn’t bother me.
I ordered my $5 pizza (you have the choice of plain or pepperoni. I always go with the meat. The website says they also have regional ones (like a Hawaiian) and one called The Three Meat Treat, which sounds like some kind of weird porno) and it literally took them 2 minutes to give it to me. I don’t know if they are reheating them or what, but that was quick as hell.
I took my pizza and headed for the hills…
I got home and settled myself in for some pizza. This thing wasn’t too large (it’s 14 inches), you could maybe feed 2 hungry people with it, but I wouldn’t go to 3 unless you like fist fighting (maybe your friends are different, but I wouldn’t test it). I ate half of it and then the other half after the game. The shame was free with purchase.
The grease was about average for a pizza (it wasn’t sliding around or anything) and yes, it was hot. Not super crazy burn-your-mouth hot, but ready to put on plate and enjoyed (Or eat out of the box. Not that I do that…). One thing that I liked was the pepperoni were full pieces, not cut up or mutilated, but actual, real pepperoni slices, and they weren’t skimpy, as you can see from the picture over yonder.
In other pizza chains, the crust is a greasy, chewy, kind of gross piece of semicooked “dough”. Then, the sauce is kind of slapped on and the cheese, well, I’m getting stomach cramps just thinking about it. On this thing, the cheese comes right up to the edge and the cheese, while not the finest cheese you can buy, does the job. The sauce is slightly sweet but pretty evenly seasoned. It’s designed to not offend and I appreciate that.
Now let’s talk about the crust. Instead of a giant, shitty, mouthful of grease and air, this is a flatter crust that still is a little greasy, but really just about enough to give it flavor without dripping down your arm and staining that sweet new Star Wars shirt you got for your birthday. I hate when that happens. I mean, when it happens to others, not me or my new R2D2 shirt.
So what’s the final verdict on this thing? I don’t want you to come away from this article and think that I am in love with this pizza and it’s the best thing since…sliced pizza. That is far from the truth. This is no Taconelli’s. This is no *insert your favorite pizza place*. This is the best pizza you can get for $5 when you look at the 3 chains (Pizza Hut is its own category). You can eat it, hate yourself, take a nap and wake up for $5. The sauce is decent, the cheese is decent, the pepperoni is decent and the crust is decent. It is a decent $5 pizza and if you find yourself hungry with limited funds, go for it. And have a happy nap.
Red Baron Feasts For One: Only For Doods
I didn’t grow up eating a lot of frozen food type stuff. I’m old enough to still remember Swanson dinners in the foil trays when I was really little, but only maybe a few times. I was, indeed intrigued at the idea of eating dessert first (or just dessert in general, we didn’t really do that). Besides that, it was mostly frozen waffles or frozen vegetables.
As I got older and microwave stuff started popping up, I ate some of that when I hung out with my friends at my friend Melissa’s Grandmom Floss’s house. She always stocked her fridge with cool stuff and when we stayed over to watch Headbanger’s Ball, we would eat frozen microwaved french fries, burgers and other assorted stuff. I never really liked it that much, but it was interesting to try it as the food science got closer to making microwaved food suck less. For those of you who are in your lower twenties, trust me, it used to be oh so much worse.
So after a movie the other night, I was driving home and didn’t feel like cooking, ordering out or eating fast food, so I popped into the local Target and decided to pick up a little pizza. What I found was a big selection, a lot bigger then I was thinking of having to choose from. It ranged from the Mama Celeste $1 pizzas (which are good but it freaks me out that the cheese is not cheese), to the “gourmet” frozen pizzas. I decided to go right in the middle and get a “Red Baron Feast For One”.
This thing intrigued me from the get-go. first of all, on the box there is a nice looking picture of the pizza, but there is also a picture of some guy.
I thought maybe the guy was a contest winner or maybe a member of a winning sports team that Red Baron had sponsored. It doesn’t really fit with the graphic design of the box, so I figured it had to be something, right?
I also liked the idea that they put “Exclusively Prepared, Microwave Ready” on the box. Since it is 2012 and not 1980, I would hope that a frozen pizza would be ok in the microwave. Maybe it’s just me. It’s like the guys in the graphics department were really high and decided that everyone needed to know…it’s ok to put in the microwave!
So when I turned the box over to check out the cooking instructions, I found out who the guy was…he was nobody. More specifically, he was someone, just not anyone.
You see, according to the box, this pizza was made for BIG APPETITES! The pictures were of dudes being dudes. Being goofy, licking sauce from a finger, riding a crazy bike, looking mischievous. These are all things you’d do before eating a frozen pizza! Of course! For a minute I wondered if I could eat this thing. I mean, I’m not a dude. I did just come back from seeing Batman. But otherwise, I didn’t do anything remotely dude like. Oh wait, I did spit my gum into the street on the way in because coughed and almost choked. Ok, so I guess that qualifies me. Score!
I wonder what a women’s pizza box would have the girls on the pictures doing. Well, first it would probably say something like “Hey Girls! Got PMS like a fiend and need a pizza that you can stuff in your face while watching Steel Magnolias in minutes? Well this pizza is just for you! Red Baron Feast For One is made just for YOUR HORMONES!”.
I took the pizza out of the box and of course it was sealed up tight in the plastic. They packaged it in the silver box tray that all microwaved pizzas have been cooked on since the beginning of time (around 1984). I wonder what is coated on that tray so that all food must be cooked on it. Soylent Silver? Silver crack? Cooked down silver dollars? I don’t know but I’m sure they’ll say it causes cancer in 10 years so eat up now, kids!
If you can see thru the plastic, you can see what it would be a Meat Trio. The pepperoni were equally distributed around the pizza, which was nice, and the ham and sausage were just dumped in the middle. I was ok with that tho. I had other plans for this thing….
The cooking instructions were pretty odd. Put the pizza on the tray and put it on the edge of the turntable in the microwave, then push it to the center and let it go for a little longer then let it sit before you take it out. I’m not sure that position on the turntable really makes any kind fo difference but whatever.
This is pizza when it’s done with the cooking. The cheese has cooked decently, the meat is hot and this puppy is seriously hot.
That’s why I decided to rip up 2 pieces of mozzarella string cheese and cover the top. There is never enough cheese on these things.
This is the finished product. NOW there’s enough cheese! Now if you decide to go ahead and buy one of these things, there is one thing you must know, understand and deal with: once you make this thing, you cannot eat it for at least a half hour. Why? Because it holds onto heat like nobodies business. Most pizzas, you take them out, let them sit for like 5 minutes and they are ok to eat. This thing is hot pocket lava level hot.
You might think it’s like that because of the extra cheese. Noooope. You’d be mistaken. The reason this thing stays so freakin’ hot is because the dough is like a giant sponge (hence “Thick Pan”). It almost reminds me of the big soft dough crust at Pizza Hut (only with a little less grease). It actually was pretty good, considering what it is. Would this thing have been the same if I had not added more cheese? Yeah pretty much. Honestly, I had one a little while back without the extra cheese and it doesn’t make too much of a difference, unless you like extra cheese. I’m a fan. Have a mentioned that?
So overall, what did I think of Red Baron’s Feast For One Meat Trio Frozen Pizza? I like dit, it wasn’t bad. The crust was spongy and flavorful (probably from oil), the sauce was punchy but not overdone and it wasn’t a giant salt bomb. I’d probably try it again, maybe if they had a mega pepperoni one, I’d be even more inclined. but yeah, not bad Red Baron, not bad at all.
Edited to add:
I just noticed that the box says that the pizza is actually 2 servings. Who eats half a frozen pizza and keeps the rest for later? That’s pretty sneaky, Red Baron, and I don’t like it.
Things are tough all over, so instead of ordering out, I made a cheap frozen pizza for dinner. You know the type: basically a large round Elios-type crust pizza, packaged in twos. I stood in the kitchen and looked at this thing and tried to figure out what to do to jazz this boring pizza up.
First I put a round of pepperoni on, and then I chopped up a giant heirloom tomato and stuck that on there as well. I had some leftover chopped up bacon so I threw that on and grabbed the bottle of Sriacha to splash that all over. Who doesn’t love heat on thier pizza? Ok, maybe not alot of people, but I do. I had a handful of cheese, threw that on and popped it in the oven at 400 degrees on the pizza stone.
This is how it came out!
The tomatoes were juicy and hot, the Sriacha made it’s way all over the pie, the cheese wasn’t overdone and even the crust, which, if you remember, is just crappy Elios type cardboard crust, wasn’t too bad, it held together and didn’t fall apart with the weight of all the toppings.
Overall, it was delicious and is helping me stay concentrated on making Pierogie filling and my fantasy football draft!