Jersey Food

July, 2005

Inside This Edition: Jersey Shadow Review: Ralphs Pizza in Nutley, NJ; Star Tavern in Orange, NJ and Born In Jersey T-shirts!

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Ralphs Pizzeria - Has anyone ever heard of a "best pizza in town" contest?  They have over in Nutley as one was recently held, and it sparked a war full of heated emotion, debate and allegations of fraud and corruption.  What could be finer than some good old Essex County drama and what better scene for such drama than Nutley, New Jersey.  Nutley was the childhood home to some of the best drama Kings ala Robert Blake and drama Queens ala Martha Stewart.  Both of these Nutley children are very familiar with the inside of a courtroom, where it sounds like the "best pizza in town" determination should have  been made with all this hype and controversy.  The Nutley Pizza War, however, takes place mostly in the court of public opinion and what better place for a no-holds-barred debate and what better debate topic than pizza.

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Cruising through Nutley, you will see pizza joints all over town in this predominately Italian (and very proud of it) neighborhood.  Ralphs Pizza, over on Franklin Avenue was the winner in this year's contest of best pizza in town, and even has a very official looking banner in their store window to prove it.  I do not put much stock into these proclamations of excellence as an assurance of a good meal, but all the controversy is intriguing and of course loving food I must have a taste.  You know what?  It was very good slice of pizza...  unique and tasty albeit a little on the small side.  Don't expect a traditional slice of North Jersey pizza from Ralph's because it is a little different.  The crust is thin and has an interesting pastry flavor to it and it's not loaded with cheese but just enough for great flavor in combination with the tasty sauce.  I tried the others who claim to be top dog here in this very territorial hamlet and they were okay.  Okay, the title of "best of pizza" in town is probably deserved by Ralphs, as I ask myself this one simple question:  Would I go out of my way if I'm in the area to stop by for a slice and the answer is an emphatic yes!

All this talk of ballot stuffing and contest rigging is very amusing, but it only highlights that Jersey is passionate about its pizza, especially over in Nutley where the locals vote with their money every day.  The pizza war here will in all likelihood continue.  It's clear that many from Nutley are proud to be Born In Jersey and love all the attention that Nutley seems to attract on a regular basis. -Jersey Shadow-

Ralphs Pizzeria
564 Franklin Ave
Nutley, NJ 07110
Main Phone: 973-235-1130


Star Tavern & Pizzeria - All this pizza eating lately has made me hungry for a long-time favorite pizza of mine found only at the Star Tavern in Orange, New Jersey.  Orange is a tiny (2.2 miles) Essex County, New Jersey, city full of history and urban challenges.  Like an old loyal friend, the Star Tavern serves their classic pizza day after day as they have done for many years.  Loyal customers flock to this old Jersey classic eatery found nowhere else.  Calling their pizza "world famous" as their sign proclaims might be stretching it just a bit, but it is famous in this part of Jersey and well worth the time to visit.

Their "world famous" thin crust pizza surely didn't disappoint on this day.  I opted for the mushroom and sundried tomato pizza which, as anticipated, was outstanding.   I sampled the pepperoni which had a great flavor as well.  I haven't been to the Star Tavern in a long time, and it's wonderful to see that some things never change namely good pizza at good prices.  In this case, change wouldn't be good because in many regards, it's still the best pizza of its kind in Jersey and beyond.  Hopefully, this Born In Jersey classic is here to stay for many years and for many generations to enjoy.  I surely will be returning soon for some of their home-made sausage pizza.
-Jersey Shadow-

Star Tavern & Pizzeria
400 High St
Orange, NJ 07050
Main Phone: 973-675-3336

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