With more than 1,200 people per square mile, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the entire country. In order to do justice to The Garden State and all of its wonderful pizza, The Sauce will break down the best pizzas in each part of the state, region by region. Today, we run down our favorites in Essex County.
Star Tavern – Orange, NJ
New York-style pizza is thin crust, but New Jersey is known for its *super* thin crust. There’s a difference: if the crust is thicker than the local supermarket’s circular in the Star-Ledger, it’s not quite Jersey thin.
Star Tavern is the champion of the thin crust pizza around these parts thanks to a super thin dough layer that finds the exact right balance between crispy and chewy. If you’re not a cornicione (outer crust) person, we have even better news – the cheese and sauce on a Star Tavern pie goes right up to the edge. You will consume every morsel of this legendary bar pie.
As the wood-panel interior indicates, there are no frills or gimmicks to be had here. Just a gloriously greasy and heavenly pizza that you can – and should – finish by yourself.
Fiamma Wood Fired Pizza – Montclair, NJ
You’ll notice a lot of multi-generational pizza parlors on this list, but Fiamma is a newcomer that has quickly made a name for itself in New Jersey. Powered by a 900-degree oven, the temperature of the pizza is matched only by the local heat they’re generating. Quickly, Fiamma has grown into a mini-chain, with sister locations in Millburn, Westfield, and Morristown.
Fiamma’s special Acunto wood fired oven is imported all the way from Naples, Italy. The high temperature oven quickly cooks the pizza, which the owners say ensures even heat distribution while preserving the integrity of the ingredients. Combining fresh N.J. produce, local Red Oak wood to fire the oven, and classic Italian flavors, Fiamma brings the best of both worlds together to make a quality pizza.
There are tasty options aplenty, but the Burrata Roberto (crushed tomatoes, cream filled burrata, and cherry tomatoes) and the Rucola (arugula, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, prosciutto di Parma, and shaved parmesan cheese) both make fine choices.
Amore Pizza – Montclair, NJ
Amore Pizza serves reliable renditions of standard round pies, sicilian square pies, thin grandma’s pies, and even “cracker crust” personal pies. The depth of Amore’s menu rivals some diners in the area, making it a versatile choice for Slice users.
GiCarli’s Pizza – Orange, NJ
With quality ingredients and a wide array of choices, GiCarli’s is quickly winning over pizza lovers in the area. The “Drunken Nona Pan Pie” may be the most delicious of all with gobs of creamy fresh mozzarella and generous ladles of vodka sauce.
Roman Gourmet – Maplewood, NJ (Essex County)
Looking for a pizza that is decidedly out of the box? Roman Gourmet has you covered with one of the most inventive menus you’ll find anywhere.
Since 1971, Roman Gourmet has creating pizza combinations that are straight out of Tommy Chong’s dreams. Their offerings include pizzas with chicken fried steak, macaroni and cheese, chicken francese, and even a taco pizza topped with ground beef, jalapeños, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese.
It’s may not be traditional, but taco pizza lovers say it’s both molto delizioso y muy delicioso.
Other favorites in Essex County: Starlite (West Orange), Arturo’s (Maplewood), Angeloni’s Restaurant and Pizzeria (Caldwell), Queen Margherita (Nutley), Tony D’s (Caldwell)
— Zach Links is an L.A.-based sports journalist who is equally concerned with the outcome of the game and what he’ll be eating at halftime. In addition to serving as a staff writer for The Sauce, he’s also the lead writer and editor of ProFootballRumors.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ZachLinks and on Instagram @FatZachLinks.