I don't usually write about restaurants on this blog (save for road trips and anniversaries) but in this case I have to make an exception for posterity. DeLorenzo's on Hudson Street in Trenton, NJ has been around since 1947. I've been going here for years, back before my palette had been refined and my idea of good pizza was Pizza Hut. My father used to take me here and I remember sitting in a booth in the back playing with straws as we waited for our food. The first time he took me here he explained that they only serve tomato pie - no salad, no garlic bread, no sandwiches - just tomato pie. For those of you not from NJ, this is not pizza it's tomato pie, as the sign below indicates:
DeLorenzo's used to be a regular haunt for both my father and my mom and stepdad. I can't even count how many times we enjoyed their pies, waiting in long lines that sometimes stretched around the block. This bench provided many with a comfortable place to sit as they waited:
The reason I took these photos is simple - as the atmosphere in Trenton changed over the years restaurants started looking to the suburbs, where most of their clientele lived, to open new restaurants. DeLorenzo's is opening a new store in Robbinsville's Town Center sometime in the next few months. Word around the pizza oven is that the Hudson Steet location will close once the new store gets on its feet. SP and I rarely venture into Trenton to eat these days, so since my parents invited us to have dinner with them last night, I took the opportunity to document what I believe is the quinessential tomato pie experience.
The restaurant is housed in an old, narrow row home:
... and they only serve dinner (no lunch except for call-ahead service on Fridays):
The inside is narrow and it's hard for me to imagine what it once looked like as someone's home:
The oven is in the back with the prep counter in front where the latest generation makes the pies. All the tables are booths except for the large table right in front of the oven that's reserved for parties of 5 or more. I used to love sitting there with my dad and his family because you were right in the center of the action and could watch the pies being made.
The view from the small room in the back:
... shows the soda machine (one of the few places I've been where they have Fanta Birch Beer "on tap") and the cutting station. I was actually shocked to see that they have regular ice cubes now:
... since one of the things I loved about coming here was that their drinks were served with crushed ice. Call me crazy, but I love the texture of the crushed ice.
Here's a pie waiting to be cut and delivered to hungry diners:
We started out by ordering two large pies, the first with half extra tomato and half pepperoni:
... and the second with sausage and sweet peppers:
The crust is super thin so you can eat a lot of pie without feeling full. We polished off these two pies and ordered a third (a small half sausage, half pepperoni) but I was in a tomato pie coma and forgot to snap a picture. Like always, everything was sensational. One of the best things about coming here was leaving with the smell of the pizza oven lingering on your clothes. Hopefully we can make another trip before they close (we've heard early spring 2008) since I know my father is anxious for one last trip, but just in case we don't I've got these photos to remember them by.