And of course, Trenton was still full of many great tomato pie joints: Papa's, Joe's, DeLorenzo's on Hudson Street, and the "rival" DeLorenzo's on Hamilton Avenue. Around 1985, I scoffed when a Pizza Hut opened in Trenton. Who would buy a chain pizza in this iconic tomato pie town?
Trenton, though, has long been a city of new immigrants. The Italian and Polish neighborhoods began to change in the 1990s as the second and third generations took on new interests. Today's Trenton is home to a new wave of Latin American immigrants, and just about every Italian restaurant and tomato pie joint has closed or moved to the suburbs. You can track the new bodegas and everything else in this evolving town at the wonderful website Hidden Trenton.
|Casual booths, in front|
|Fresh out of the oven|
|A sausage slice|
|A pepperoni slice|
|Good color and texture underneath|
|Box features the iconic "Trenton Makes" bridge to PA|
Because it's probably been 15 years or more since I had tried a (Hamilton Ave) DeLorenzo's tomato pie, I needed to sample this one fresh from the oven. I took the pie to the car, placed it in the trunk, and grabbed a slice to sample.
|Formal dining room in back|
I can't explain why I was never impressed with the Hamilton Avenue DeLorenzo's, but my thoughts after two bites in the parking lot were "the best Trenton tomato pie in 2018 may be in this strip mall in Levittown." There was a brightness and freshness to this pie that are hard to find.
|Strip Mall location on New Falls Road in Levittown|
As I noted, the fresh Italian sausage is added in chunks and it cooks on the pie. The sausage here was generously applied and it remains the premiere pizza topping when done right, like this. The red sauce is sweeter than the sauce at the other DeLorenzo's, but it works perfectly on this pie.
|"Not Just Pizza"|
The pepperoni was the one less-than-stellar feature. I'd love to see these thin-cut standard pepperoni circles replaced with smaller but thicker "spicy cup" pepperoni. This is a very minor quibble, because this tomato pie was close to perfect in taste, texture, and balance.
Can you judge a pizza by two bites? Indeed I can. This is spectacular tomato pie. For 35 years, I never had any doubt that Hudson Street was superior to the pie made by cousins on Hamilton Avenue. I need to eat them side by side to know which is best, but let's say just that people in Robbinsville, Yardley, Levittown, and Hamilton cannot go wrong visiting any DeLorenzo's. The cousins remain past, present, and future kings of Trenton Tomato Pie.