(Trenton, NJ) - DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies on Hudson Street in Trenton, NJ has announced its imminent closing on Jan 15, 2012. This is a sad moment for New Jersey pizza lovers who take pride in the small handful of “tomato pie” spots in the Trenton enclave of Chambersburg.
Pagliacci’s box top describes the life cycle of a pizza box.
Don’t you just love pizza boxes? They are the unsung hero of busy/lazy food eaters everywhere and we need to take a moment out of our busy schedules to pay respect. At their most basic, pizza boxes transport food from oven to hungry person, but some boxes go the extra mile. There’s a whole world of engineering and design that happen behind the scenes and this box from Pagliacci Pizza in Seattle, WA is a testament to that process.
The box itself is a pretty standard corrugated unbleached Michigan-style unit. That means it’s your basic cardboard box. Bleached paper is white and looks nice with printing, but this box keeps it simple with its natural finish. Michigan-style (aka Walker Lock) just means the front flap folks over itself to hold in the side flaps, which creates a sturdy structural element that can stand up to the weight of multiple pizzas in a stack. [I’m pretty sure it’s called Michigan Style because it was first used for a Michigan-based pizza company called Domino’s.]
Hopes were not high as Jeff and I approached the pizzeria. Jeff is a food lover, food blogger, food hunter and recently converted tour guide (check him out at his awesome food website). He created the Real Pizza of New York mobile app, which helps users find the standout pizzerias on NYC. It’s legit. As we are cut from the same cloth, Jeff and I sometimes check out pizzerias together. Last month, Jeff and I met on Arthur Ave in the Bronx to check out a recently-converted coal-fired bakery to see how the pizza-o-meter registered. After our main course, Jeff mentioned another place in the neighborhood that might be worth a visit. The name Pugsley’s didn’t ring a bell, but somebody had apparently told me about it because it was right there on my hit list. It was right there at the bottom — lowest priority possible.
When we turned onto 191st Street there was not a single business in site. I started to doubt Jeff’s sense of direction (even though it’s thousands of times better than mine) when we stumbled upon a sign from the heavens. Well, it was technically on the ground but it most certainly was a sign. The image of a slice within a circle was carved into the sidewalk cement. Either this was the place or someone was dealing illegal slices nearby.
The building is set back several meters and looks nothing like any pizzeria in the city; it felt like the Fratelli’s restaurant from the Goonies. We crept up the stairs, afraid of an imagined alarm system set to warn Bronxonians when a couple of pizza junkies were snooping about. But no alarm went off by the time we opened the front door. Instead, we were welcomed by the most beautiful site I’ve ever seen in a pizzeria.
The interior was like nothing I had ever seen. There weren’t any checkered tablecloths. No statuettes of mustachioed Italian men. No typical signage or menus. I don’t even remember seeing an oven in there. It’s more like an interactive piece of folk art than an eatery, but several indicators revealed that there was indeed some food to be had. Handmade signage adorns all walls, surfaces, empty spaces, crowded spaces, etc. But instead of offering combos and food deals, the signage merely uses food as a subplot to the main concern of this pizzeria: happiness.
There is no such thing as Italian pizza. Contrary to what the VPN, APN, DOP and other acronyms might have led you to believe, there’s more to Italy than Naples alone. No other style has a history quite as long, but the soft round discs with puffy edges do not speak to the needs of an entire peninsula. A piece of land with such diverse history and terrain has just as eclectic a menu, leaving no single Italian pizza. We’re seeing a LOT of Neapolitan representation these days, but if New York is any indication, I’d say it’s time to brush up on your Julius Caesar and prepare for a visit from the Roman pizza army.
That’s right kiddies, I’m doing another vegan pizza tour on December 10 starting at 11:45am on the Bowery in NYC. We’ll be hitting three pizzerias around the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village, each of which features a different animal-free pizza style. We’ll make our way to each stop on foot and everybody gets a slice per stop PLUS a sweet vegan-friendly goody bag, all included with your $35 ticket.
Tickets must be purchased in advance through our online ticketing agent, so please sign up if you’d like to join us. I’m keeping the group pretty small, so grab your ticket fast!
Fast Details: Saturday, December 10 11:45am - approximately 2:30pm $35 ticket fee (includes pizza and Pizza Tour Survival Kit)