Author Topic: Trenton NJ area Tomato Pies - Delorenzo's (Rt#33) Vs Wildflowers (Pennington)  (Read 12308 times)

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Offline Esterrick

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The solitary quote found on eGullet.org is in fact mine.  I have been a forum host and participant on eGullet for several years, and have started an offshoot of the Dangerous Dining Club I founded, called Pizza Club, which meets somewhat regularly to down pizzas at several locations in one day---mini pizza tours, if you will---for the purpose of comparison and pure fun.  We have done a tour of Brooklyn, different neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and yes, we've done a "tour" of Trenton, where we went to Delorenzo's of Hudson St., Delorenzo's of Hamilton Ave.,  Top Road Tavern and Papa's.  On THAT Pizza Club outing, the Hudson St Delorenzo's blew away all 19 of us, followed not so closely by the other Delorenzo's, Top Road Tavern and Papa's, in that order.  The impression made by Hudson St.'s Delorenzo's was so dramatic that it rendered our boisterous, beer-drinking group to near silence, as they tasted, for almost all of them, their first slices of plain Trenton tomato pie and white clam pie. After about 10 or so excursions, Delorenzo's remains, for our group, the high-water mark for pizzas we have tried to date.  We plan a trip to New Haven in the future for sure, and are also discussing a trip to Washington DC, where several new pizza places are getting a lot of critical acclaim.

So I take this stuff seriously, too.  I've lived in the Trenton area for 11 years now, and have eaten at Wildflowers many times, sampling their "tomato pie" many times.  Good pizza, not great.  A bit too thick and doughy to be considered a true, thin tomato pie.  Nice crust, I agree, but without the yeasty character and charred surfaces found in almost all tomato pies except perhaps the version at Pete's Steak House. Superb hot wings though, maybe the best in the area.


Offline petef

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So I take this stuff seriously, too.  I've lived in the Trenton area for 11 years now, and have eaten at Wildflowers many times, sampling their "tomato pie" many times.  Good pizza, not great.  A bit too thick and doughy to be considered a true, thin tomato pie.  Nice crust, I agree, but without the yeasty character and charred surfaces found in almost all tomato pies except perhaps the version at Pete's Steak House.

I'd say that is an accurate description and good comparison of Wildflowers. I'm also catching on
now to what so many consider a "true tomato pie" and Wildflowers may not quite fit into that
category due to the crust being a tad thick and a bit soft/doughy compared to Delorenzo's. My
first Tomato Pie at Wildflowers was fantastic, with a evenly golden crisp outer crust that was still
pliable but not doughy. It had very thin crust overall and evenly golden brown on the bottom too.
The  distribution of sauce & cheese toppings were onpar with Delorenzo's and I was quite impressed.

HOWEVER, just the other day, my second Tomato Pie at Wildflowers was a quite a bit different.
Instead of that golden brown crisp crust, it was a bit underdone and doughy. The toppings had
way more cheese than sauce, giving it a whitish appearance. The little bits of sauce tasted
fantastic but I felt cheated by not having enough sauce. I'm thinking now that they may have
a quality control problem becasue they are not consistant. Who knows, it could boil down to which
individual is cooking that day. I'll give them another try and see what happens. It was still a great
tomato pie but not like that frist one I had.

A similar thing occured at Pete's Steak House where my first Tomato Pie was burned
black on most of the bottom surface. The toppings were so tastey, I decided to give them
another try and the second time they served up a perfect one.

I must also mention that the first Wildflower Tomato Pie I had was a medium size and the second
one was a large. I'm discovering that quality degrades a bit with most pizza when you order
a large compared to a medium. With a large pie I almost always wind up wit too much outer
crust and it also seems that it's not cooked as well or as evenly browned.

Bottom line, consistency is everything. People get used to a certain thing and they
tell others about it and if the same product is not delivered it can harm the product's
reputatoin. That's one thing I hear time and time again about Delorenzo's,
is that they have consistency. I applaud them for that.

Thanks for your feed back on Wildflowers!
I appreciate your expertise and opinions on Tomato Pies.

---pete---

Offline BenLee

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in the new location, they have 2 guys making pies.  When Sammy makes ur pie, it's just like old Delorenzos.  The new guys are still learning.  Sammy has had his whole life to learn the pies.

Offline madequity

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I too tried Delorenzo's after reading stellar reviews virtually everywhere.  While my tastes lean toward true Neapolitan I am objective about the "other" styles of pizza/pie as well.  Having said that we vistited Delorenzo's new location with optimism. 

IMO the crust was far too crispy.  There was little to no cohesion between sauce/toppings and the crust itself.  I also found the outer edge to be crispy to the point of being rock hard.  Try as I did it was not edible and when pressed between my fingers with force it actually crumbled to powder.  I was not the only one as almost all the tables around me had stacks of the outer edge discarded from each piece of pie?

Having said that I tried Alfred's Tomatoe Pie's as well a day later and found it to be a much more palatable version of the Tomatoe Pie.  While the crust was crispy it was not too crispy and the outer edge when given the same between the fingers squeeze as Delorenzo's yielded but did not turn into powder.  I also found the sauce with it's liberal use of fresh garlic much more to my liking but that is purely personal preference I think.

From those "in the know" I would love to hear about other places that serve authentic "NJ Tomatoe Pie's" as I think this is a really interesting pizza/pie genre.  Wildflower's in now on the list as well.

Offline petef

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IMO the crust was far too crispy.  There was little to no cohesion between sauce/toppings and the crust itself.  I also found the outer edge to be crispy to the point of being rock hard.  Try as I did it was not edible and when pressed between my fingers with force it actually crumbled to powder.  I was not the only one as almost all the tables around me had stacks of the outer edge discarded from each piece of pie?

Having said that I tried Alfred's Tomatoe Pie's as well...

Thank you for verifying my claims. I always ordered mine "to go" and was begining to wonder
if eating the pie immediately would provide a softer crust. My biggest problem with any pizza
is where you wind up discarding the crust.

Where is Alfred's Tomato Pies located?

---pete---

Offline JConk007

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I am just curious would Pizza Town on rt 46 in Garfield ? NJ qualify as "Tomatoe Pie" This place is a favorite of mine serving only Pizza and Fried Calzones, and Zepolis to die for. Just east of Lodi Pizza preety good also but completly different style> I am also on a quest for the best slice in the Bergen County area since I have started with my brick oven. I do 3 -4 stops a week and what a dissappointment many are :'( I will continue to try an post as I continue to grow my knowledge, taste buds, and stomach !
John
 
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline madequity

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Alfred's in in Backwood NJ.  Maybe 45 minutes (?) from Trenton.  Was a bit of a pain to find but worth it.  9 S Blackhorse Pike.  Like I said not sure if it is a true NJ Tomatoe Pie or not but to me at least it was similar albeit much better than Delorenzo's.

Offline JoeyBagadonuts

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I guess it is all a matter of taste, personal preference, and memories.

Someone mentioned trying the Hudson St joint because they did not like Robbinsville. When Robbinsville opened, the lead pie maker from Hudson St left to make pies at the Robbinsville location. He is the one who opened the new location. So, actually, the Hudson St pies may be off a bit. I went there not long ago and there was something that was a tad off, but I cannot remember what it was.

As for the irregular slice shaped slices, that is one of the attributes that gives it character. Some like more edge crust, some like little end crust with a longer center piece, etc...
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 12:42:43 PM by JoeyBagadonuts »

Offline Anthony

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Yes it is true Delorenzo's has changed, it's not the same as it use to be.  I even called the owner Gary and told him, the pie is like card board, hard and paper thin. There is no cheese on it, all sauce and the tomatoes are bitter.  They use to be sweet like sugar, I know they have changed the whole pie although Gary say's no....
It's a real shame how this use to be the best tomato pie in the whole state.  I tired the new place in Robbinsville several times and the old place on Hudson Street, they are the same.  It seems that nothing stays the same do to cost and cut backs and this is pretty much what has happened although they will never say that.  Also they are very exspensive...... Gary say's "Our ingredients are the same", not true at all......  I grew up on pizza, it's all I eat, love it, can't get enough of it.... My family is related to Mack's Pizza so I know good pie when I taste it. 
I love Wildflowers pizza, much better than Delorenzo's and I think that Jo Jo's Tavern has great pie also.
Great taste, excellent cheese and sauce, great crust, cooked just right, can't say enough about it....
Two great places to have pizza, try them...

Offline othafa9

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Just finished my 2 week vacation back East, and though I meant to make it out to more pizzerias, I managed only Delorenzzo's on Hamilton (which I just now realize may not be the same pizza as the one on Hudson) and Pizzeria Stella in Philly.  I know many here are going to find this heretic, but I found the crust at Delorenzo's to be among the worst pizza crusts I've come across....anywhere!  It was an absolute rock.  The tomato sauce was very good, but not good enough to offset the bad crust.  On the other hand, I had some very good pizzas at "Stella"  I was skeptical of the place based on its lackluster reviews on yelp.  I know they basically stole pizzas off other famous places menu's but  I thought it was a solid place!


Offline petef

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I know many here are going to find this heretic, but I found the crust at Delorenzo's to be among the worst pizza crusts I've come across....anywhere!  It was an absolute rock.  The tomato sauce was very good, but not good enough to offset the bad crust. 

I happen to agree with you. My experience was with the tomato pie at Delorenzo's on Rt#33. I had to throw out the crust because it was so hard and tasteless. I'm not sure if it would be the same if I had eaten the pie within a few minutes of baking it. I took mine as take out and it takes me about 15 minutes to get home.
---pete---

Offline abilak

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Ok, so I grew up in Trenton, NJ, I'm 33 years old, and I moved to FL six years ago. It just went to Delorenzo's on Hamilton Ave. after not visiting for about 7 years. This used to be my favorite pie in the area, hands down. I would rant and rave about it to everyone that came to visit that wasn't familiar with Trenton/Pizza/etc. After reading all of these posts, I can say this... The pie is not the same as it used to be. The tomatoes are different, the crust tasted "cardboardy", and the overall flavor just didn't compare to what I remembered. I waiting a LONG LONG LONG time to go back, and waited almost an hour and a half to get a seat. All I can say is that I was VERY disappointed.

To make a long story short, I went to Wildflowers in Pennington after my Dad recommended it and said the pie is now "better" than Delorenzo's. All I can say is "Wow". IMO, it was MUCH better overall. The crust wasn't thick at all, it had a great crunch to it, and the cheese and tomato's were delicious. I know it's very hard for people that have eaten at Delorenzo's for 30 years to give something else a try, but I definitely recommend Wildflowers in Pennington. No, it's not exactly the same type of pie, I agree, but I think it tastes much much better and it was certainly a thin crust pie when I went.

Two other places that I recommend:

IVY Taven on Whitehorse Circle. I lived across the street for 6 years... Damn good bar pie.
Also, Jo Jo's Tavern at 5 points.... Excellent bar pie most of the time.. Just ask for it "Well Done".

All I make personally are thin crust NY street style pies.
I used to make the Neopolitan 2-3 minute pies when I had my 1100 degree oven -- Now I bake at 550
I only use Grande Cheese, Stanislaus 7/11 ground tomatoes, and all Trumps flour.
I really think the ingredients have a LOT to do with the quality, bake, and taste of the pie.

Next time I go back to NJ to visit family, I will stop at Delorenzo's on Hamilton Ave. again. But.... if it disappoints, you know where I'm headed :)

Offline MTPIZZA

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With the passage of time and change in family members...(Chic recently passed away)...the two parlors are now run by the next generation.. Perhaps this is why its no longer like the pies of yester-years... My wife and I went to the new place in Robbinsville only to be disappointed as well... pies are churned out mass production due to the large place they have... its just not the same flavor pie they used to make. I do know originally they had a coal oven baking the pies back in the 50's-60's but they are now replaced by electric versions, they have changed the ingrediants as well probably due to keeping costs down. If you take a look on the wall and see the picture of Chic and Sophie standing behind a picture of one of the ole' orginal tomato pies...you can taste it with your eyes...alas..no more though. Be careful when visiting the Hamilton St. parlor - the neighborhood isn't what it used to be.. we were escorted outside by a hired security officer and made sure we got to our car safely - the neighborhood has gone downhill as well....its really sad

Offline petef

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Two other places that I recommend:

IVY Taven on Whitehorse Circle. I lived across the street for 6 years... Damn good bar pie.
Also, Jo Jo's Tavern at 5 points.... Excellent bar pie most of the time.. Just ask for it "Well Done".


There's a new pizza place in the area named... Corleone's
and you have to try them for their Tomato Pies. It's right up
there with the best tomato pies ever. It's a very small place
with just a few small tables. It's more for local delivery and
take out.  Check them out!  ---pete---


Corleone's
1270 So Olden Ave.
Hamilton,NJ 08610
609-689-1270
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 11:53:33 PM by petef »

Offline BurntFingers

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If you go down Hamilton Ave to Massimo's you can get a really great wood fired oven baked pizza.  When I was working at TCHS a while back that is where I would go.  http://www.massimos-cafe.com/menu_HR.pdf     Massimo's has a few other sites in NJ, P-ton and Robbinsville as far as i know.  I haven't tried much of the other stuff on the menu but the salads and pizza are worth the trip.  Since it is a little way out of down town Trenton you don't need an armed security guard to walk you to your car yet.