Trenton Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie


La Villa of Morrisville selected as the Overall Winner;
Jerry’s selected as the Best Tomato Pie within City Limits

In July of 2015, we solicited nominations from our readers for tomato pie restaurants that 1) are within a 10 minute drive of Trenton City Hall (319 E. State Street), and 2) offer tomato pie as a menu option. We received 38 nominations. Subsequently,  we visited every location-qualified nominee, confirmed they offer tomato pie, and sampled their offerings.

La Villa of Morrisville makes the best Tomato Pie within a 10 minute drive of City Hall. Nothing about La Villa’s pie is conventional, from its square shape to its ultra thin crust. But the result is superb. If you weep for the loss of Papas and DeLorenzo’s tomato pie, check out La Villa. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Jerry’s Pizza & Grill makes the best Tomato Pie in town! Ask Luis to make it for you (his other pie men may not be 100% reliable), and you’ll get a superb pie.

The full list of Winners, Finalists, and Semi-Finalists is below: click on the restaurant name to bring up a mini-review…

Name Location
Jerry's Pizza & Grill Trenton
La Villa Family Restaurant Morrisville
Papa's Tomato Pies of Trenton Hamilton
Sabrinas Pizza & Restaurant Hamilton
What does it mean to be a Finalist? These restaurants produce Tomato Pies that are as enjoyable as the best anywhere. As part of our research, we visited the iconic restaurants, including those outside of our competition area. While personal tastes will vary, we think the pies produced by the Finalists are fantastic, and in the same league as even the iconic ones.

What does it mean to be a Semi-Finalist? These restaurants will all earn the 2015 Hidden Trenton Seal of Approval. All serve an authentic tomato pie that we thought was at least very good. Some are superb. A few split our judges: some felt they were as good as our Finalists, but others disagreed. So, read our capsule reviews carefully and check out the Semi-Finalist restaurants. They are definitely worth exploring.

What is a Trenton Tomato Pie?

If you move to the Greater Trenton area from anywhere else, you’re astonished by how good the pizza is here. It’s no accident. It’s the legacy of Chambersburg’s Italian immigrant history, and the fact that the 2nd and 3rd pizza parlors in the USA were established in Trenton (in 1911 and 1912). They set the standards which others here copied, and which are still part of the region’s zeitgeist.

Better than mere pizza, a proper Trenton-style tomato pie starts with the crust. It has to be thin. It needs to be crispy. Wimpy, flaccid crust can go back to NYC. Cheese goes on first. Then crushed or chopped tomatoes (not sauce). Maybe a little extra olive oil. Fresh toppings as you like. Bake it until it’s slightly charred. The best tomato pie is like an artisan flat bread with cheese and tomato on top. At its best, it’s transcendent. Surprisingly difficult to make well.

32 thoughts on “Tomato Pie”

  1. Great to have some others to try but….
    Especially with the crumbly sausage 🙂
    Reminds me of the old Joe’s Tomato Pies that was on S. Clinton Ave.
    All you DeLorenzo fans can suck it !

  2. Liberty Hall Pizzeria in Lambertville! Not a Trenton pie but a Napolitano wood burned style. Won 12th best pie in NJ on NJ.COM. Tasty treat if you can handle a little drive up river.

  3. We here at Sportsmens Pub, would like to thank everyone that entered us in this contest!!! Just being recognized for our pies, is a great acomplishment for us as we strive to be the best pub around for our food. Thanks a bunch, and stop in for some great food and or pies!!!!!!

    1. Frankie, if you read the “mini-review” of Sportsmens Pub, you’ll see that we’re big fans. I personally ate there 3 times, and twice the pie was superb, as good as other Finalists. Unfortunately, the time I brought the last senior judge to sample your pie (we required all 3 of us to agree on Finalists and Winners), the pie was a little dry. So Sportmens Pub ended up as a “Semi-Finalist”. The Pub’s pies are also a bargain, and the beers are good too. For any readers of this site, definitely check out the capsule reviews of the Semi-Finalists: there are some real gems there. Sportsmens Pub is one of them.

    1. Patricia, respectfully we’ll have to disagree. This is 2015, not 1970. The objective reality is that there are as many places in Morrisville that make good tomato pie as there are within the city borders of Trenton. And even more in Hamilton.

      Jerry’s, which we’ve selected as the best in town, is really good. But it’s only one place and, in our opinion, it’s not quite as good as La Villa. From many parts of Trenton, Morrisville is no further away than Chambersburg. I can ride a bike there from Mill Hill in about 5 minutes.

      On this website, we have a definite bias in favor of Trenton businesses. But, last I checked, as a Trenton resident, I’m allowed to patronize businesses outside of the city, even in {gasp} PA. Anyone who strictly limits him or herself ONLY to Trenton-based businesses is making a bigger sacrifice than I’m willing to make. One of the joys of Trenton is that it’s located in a vibrant region. There are great businesses and things to see in Lawrence, Hamilton, Ewing, Princeton, and surrounding towns. And towns like New York City and Philadelphia have something to offer as well (last I checked). To ignore them is to ignore one of the great benefits of living here in Trenton.

    1. Ed, you’re right. Next year we’ll make it State and Broad. Since City Hall is only one block east, I’m not sure it will make any difference.

    1. Hey, Kacy. Danny’s was outside of our drive time limit, so not officially judged. However, I did visit Danny’s recently, and believe that it would probably be a Semi-Finalist, had it been judged. I found the crust a bit dry. Sabrina’s (a Finalist) makes a very similar pie, though we liked it much more, with an equally crisp but more moist crust.

  4. Papa’s no longer in Trenton. They moved to Robbinsville. Closer to Trenton than Papa’s and also in Robbinsville is DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie which should be a finalist on anyone’s list who knows anything about tomato pie.

    1. Mike–the Papa’s we’re referring to is actually not the Robbinsville one (that is ALSO reviewed on our site but isn’t within the competition area) but is the one on Quakerbridge Road inside a Ristoldi’s Supermarket. Click the link above to read more about it. DeLorenzo’s of Robbinsville is outside of our Tomato Pie Competition area, as it is more than 10 minutes from Trenton’s City Hall.

      1. DeLorenzo’s being outside of your driving limit is bullcrap. This is from Google Maps”

        9 min (5.1 miles)

        via N US 1 N
        8 min without traffic
        Trenton City Office
        319 East State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608
        Take N US 1 N and Sweetbriar Ave to Sloan Ave in Hamilton Township
        DeLorenzo’s Pizza
        147 Sloan Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08619

        Try again!

        1. Frank–the DeLorenzo’s on Sloan Avenue is DeLorenzo’s Pizza of Hamilton. That one IS in our contest area, and we went there three times with seven separate ratings. It is a semi-finalist, but didn’t make it to the finals. We suggest you try the finalists we’ve listed–we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie of Robbinsville (which we prefer to the one in Hamilton) is the one we were referring to in the prior comment–and that one is beyond the contest range. Though we like it very much.

    2. Papa’s of Trenton is located in Risoldi’s Market and is owned by
      Dominick, the son. He makes the greatest pies. The Papa’s n Robbinsville is run by Nick, the father. The pies are Not as good as the ones Dominick makes.

      1. That’s consistent with our recent experience. If you read the updated review for Papa’s in Robbinsville, we experienced a mediocre pie last time we visited. Dom’s pies have been consistently good.

    1. Papa’s in Robbinsville is outside the geographic territory of the contest. However, Papa’s Tomato Pie of Trenton, owned (and operated) by the great-grandson of the original Papa’s founder is one of our semi-finalists

  5. Sone of your classification of pizza places in the first category are incorrect. They are not within the 10 minute drive in Trenton. Why are Bordentown and Trenton listed?

    1. Marion, we used Google Maps to determine if things were a 10 minute drive from Trenton’s City Hall (without traffic). Morrisville is within that, as are at least some of the places in Bordentown (in this case, a strip mall next to the I-195 exit). Morrisville is of course directly across the river from Trenton. Which ones do you feel aren’t within a 10-minute drive?

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