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By Melissa Minners 

            Summertime and the living’s easy…and hot.  Who wants to cook this time of year?  Being on the run whenever we’re not at work…or even at work…we want something to eat that’s easy and has a lot of flavor.  Something that could just feed one person or a whole family and can be made to order.  What’s my favorite go to when I want something fast and easy and oh so tasty?  PIZZA!

            I love pizza.  When I was a kid, I ate at Sorrento’s Pizza located on Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx.  To me, there was nothing like Sorrento’s Pizza and I loved the price – for two bucks, I could get a slice and an RC Cola.  For fifty cents more, I could get a Sicilian slice and an RC.  Sicilian was as far as I pushed the label back then.

            Then I got older and fell in love with Frank’s Pizza.  Located on East Tremont Avenue, these guys did everything right.  They had great tasting pizza – I loved their pepperoni and their Sicilian was to die for.  Working in Manhattan, I began to eat at pizzerias that liked to experiment – I started eating slices with spinach, broccoli and more.

            Now, when I want some pizza, I head out to Fratelli’s in Piscataway for regular slices, pepperoni slices, white slices and more. They have some great pizza, but for more variety, I head out to Dunellen to Giulio’s where they really experiment with their pies.  You can get broccoli white, eggplant parm, buffalo chicken, white, tortellini, honey mustard chicken, chicken parm, BLT, garden slices, Hawaiian, and more.  You can get Sicilian out here, but there is nothing like Bronx Sicilian to be found anywhere around here, so I’ve given up trying. 

            And how can I forget about Senape’s Pizza in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  Cooked in the Sicilian style, the pizza has just a simple sauce and some cheese, but it’s great cold or hot.  Yes, I said cold – who hasn’t had a cold slice of pizza for breakfast.

            So, what I want to know is where you guys go to get a great slice of pizza, what kind of pizza you like (deep dish, thin crust, regular) and what kind of toppings you like on your pizza?

Yank2324 – “Hillsborough, NJ Sal’s Pizza…has big variety…Love his Brooklyn Eggplant Thin Square Sicillian style that is just awesome…He does all those kinds you talk about from Grilled Chicken Caesar to Buffalo Chicken…BLT…but the Eggplant is to die for.”

Docmidnite – “MMMMM Pizza !  To me pizza is pizza.  That is unless you find yourself around High Street in Orange, NJ.  There is a bar/pizzeria there called Star Tavern.  This….hands down…is the BEST pizza I have ever tasted.  They have been making pizza the same way since I was a kid (40 years ago) and the fact they are still in business today is a testament to their success.  They make a thin crust pie that will knock your socks off.  Thin, light and tasty.  When I would go there, whether it was with the family, or after softball games I would always have to get the pepperoni pizza.  They use the small spicy sticks of pepperoni rather than the pre sliced ones and slice the sticks themselves.  When the pizza cooks the pepperoni kind of conforms into these little cups (kind of like someone cut a ball in half). It’s like a little slice of heaven.  We often travel with other parents from town here and take the 35 minute ride because their reputation is outstanding. If you’ve had it you want more…if you haven’t you want to see what all the fuss is about.  Once you try it though YOU ARE HOOKED!”

MCV – “I’m generally a pizza “purist”.  LOL!  I usually go for a plain slice, seasoned post-bake with some garlic powder, oregano and red pepper flakes.  When I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll do a pepperoni and/or broccoli slice, but rarely.  I definitely prefer the crisp of a well-made regular-to-thin crust, though– that’s my favorite. 

In Philly: City View on Spring Garden St. has a great plain slice, and their cheese steak stromboli (cooked with hots, sweets, onions & bell peppers, of course!) is to die for.  Fiore’s on Kensington Ave. has a decent plain slice, also, which is fairly priced and conveniently located to my house, so that’s where I’ve had most of my pizza from in the past year or so.  Gianfranco’s on 3rd St. in Olde City is a good bet for a tasty slice, although pricey.  Margherita’s on 2nd St. (also in Olde City) was my favorite post-club 2-3AM slice in my party-girl days.  Ciao’s on Chestnut St. near the Liberty Place is also a good bet for a tasty slice.

When I was in College Park, Maryland, sadly, the local Papa John’s was the best slice in town (yep, that’s what I said).  We’re also talking about 12 years ago, though, and this was the first I had heard of Papa John’s; to be fair, it was pretty decent-tasting (and college-town-budget-priced) pizza back then.  I recently had some at a kiddie party, though, and was grossly disappointed at the quality of what I bit into.  Pizza Fail.

My time in Syracuse, New York didn’t bode well for scratching my pizza itch, either; I was on a constant quest, actually, to find a reputable plain slice in the whole of Onondaga County and never did in the whole of two years and countless attempts there. What I did find, surprisingly, was a BLT-chicken-ranch (white) slice (their “chicken-bacon-ranch”) at Franco’s on Genessee St. that became my go-to slice while I was in the ‘Cuse.”

Diode731 –  “I would have to say that The Boro of Brooklyn in NYC has the distinction of being the Pizza Capital of the US.  MY first place pick would have to be Lento’s on 3rd Avenue and Ovington Avenue in beautiful Bay Ridge.  I first started going there in the 1950’s with my parents and then started going again in the early 1970’s.  The decor was the same in the 1970’s as it probably was in the 1930’s when the place first opened.  The bar up in the front (Usually loaded with “Old Timers”) and the dining room in the rear.  Old wooden booths and ceiling fans and one large table in the middle.  Me and my two buddies would go there every Friday night and the three of us would usually tell our waiter Carmine we were going to have 3-3 & 3.  That was 3 orders of baked clams, 3 large pies and 3 pitchers of beer.  The pizza was all thin crust with a fresh toppings.  We probably all wrecked our health in there but what a way to go!!  I hear the place was still going into the late 1980’s and it looked the same inside.  It was like going back in time when you went in there.  If anyone wants Sicilian or “Square slices” like they call them in Brooklyn, then L&B Spumoni Gardens on 86th Street is the place to go.  With out a doubt the best Sicilian slice around.  I think they put the tomato sauce over the cheese so its kind of unique.  As a matter of fact just about any pizza place in Brooklyn is light years above pizza in the rest of the USA although when I was in Chicago last year I ordered a pizza from a local joint to be delivered to my hotel room and I would have to say it was pretty damn good.  It was a deep dish job cut into little squares.  I hope I never have to eat pizza on the West Coast!”

Rouge77 –  “I personally eat mostly pizzas bought from supermarkets.  But, I like salami pizzas with onion rings, both thin and ticker varieties go.  Of the big global Pizza franchises, only Pizza Hut really has a foot here.  My sister actually works as a clerk in a factory that produces, among other things, pizzas.  The workers can buy them at reduced prices, so I’ve eaten my share of various kinds of factory made pizzas down the years…But, their most sold pizza last year was a basic minced meat pizza, then a second plaza was held by a ham pizza.”

Obi John – “I live in the Chicago suburbs, so in my opinion, we have some of the best pizza places in the world.  If I’m doing deep dish, my first choice would be Lou Malnati’s.  I am a big fan of their deep dish sausage pizza.  If I’m going thin crust, there are numerous places that do it right.  Most of them are locally owned pizza places like Emil’s and Bill’s and I usually go with a traditional sausage pizza. Sometimes I mix it up and go with the double-decker, which is just two thin crust pizzas stacked right on top of each other.  I also like going to a place called Moretti’s, which is a chain in the Chicagoland area.  They have some more exotic pizzas, like Mac n’ Cheese pizza or my personal favorite of theirs, the BBQ deluxe, which has BBQ sauce, sausage, pepperoni, bacon and onions.”

VileZero – “For a local pizza, Ledo’s is really the only game in town in the Maryland/DC area.  It’s very well known around here, mostly for being a square pizza.  Good crust, but very greasy and often messy.  For me, it’s a nice treat to go there.  I’m sure they’ve got fun pizza places in the city, but I haven’t been to any yet.  Going to New York City is always a good time. I  can’t remember where I go (its somewhere different every time), but the pizza up there.  Holy geez, it must be something in the water.  It’s just perfect.  In all honesty, though, I love to order a stuffed crust pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut.  Out of all the chains, Pizza Hut is my favorite because of the stuffed crust.  It’s just so good to me. And eating it cold the next day is just so great.  Love it.”

Scioli54 – “Pizza is my absolute favorite food ever. The best Margarita pie I ever had was Cipizzi’s on 9th Ave in NYC.  Another great pizza was Numero 28 on Carmine Street.  Pizza Supreme across from the Garden is a fantastic regular slice.”

Grand Admiral Thrawn – “There is no pizza to compare to my grandfather’s homemade pizza. Both his parents were off the boat Italian, and he makes a great pepperoni, cheese, and (maybe the best) white bread pizza.

However, I’ve found a collection of pizza places worth enjoying in my travels. Portland, ME has Otto’s Pizza (the more toppings the better); Lawrence, MA and Seabrook, NH have Tripoli’s Pizza (thin crust, with extra provolone on each slice); Salisbury, MA has Cristy’s Pizza, which does the same style, but for which I find myself having a slight preference; and on Federal Hill in Providence, RI, there’s great pizza to be had anywhere that sells pizza.”

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Published by Melissa Minners

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