Pizza Terminal, Verona NJ
February 10, 2021 is National Pizza Day. This year, it fell on a Tuesday, but I always have pizza on Friday, as is the family/Italian tradition. Today I stopped in to see my old friend Scott, who also recently won the “Garden State Pizza Bowl” for 2021 in North Jersey. He is very worthy of this award, and I’ve known it for years.
The Pizza Terminal is almost hidden in a strip mall in a small town in North Jersey. Even when you look inside, it does not look much like a traditional “square” pizzeria with the counter up front and tables all around. The kitchen is all the way in the back and the pizza display take up more than half the length of the restaurant along one wall. It is the largest display case I’ve ever seen with dozens of different types of pizzas. I counted over 30 at one point while waiting for my order to be completed.
There are many types which I don’t think really belong like the Italian Hot Dog pizza, the Big Mac Pizza, Taco Pizza, etc. If you want a taco, hot dog or hamburger, that is fine. I just don’t believe they belong on pizza. Some interesting specials they don’t always have is a theme on The Godfather Movies:
Some of the many pizzas I have explored there:
- Grandma: Your good old fashioned square pan pizza your mother or grandmother would have made. Thin, not over done, fresh ingredients.
- The Bronx: Square thick crust with caramelized onions, mushrooms, tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella
- The Brooklyn: Square thick crust with caramelized onions, mozzarella.
- Sicilian: This is what they are famous for and what the Star-Ledger calls the best in NJ. It is very good, one bite and the tomato sauce just screams with old school homemade deliciousness. While I found the sauce to be piled on too much to make it a bit sloppy, its still a good slice and puts most Sicilian slices to shame.
- The Nicky Norker: Basically your Sicilian topped with baked pepperoni.
- Bloomfield Avenue: Square pan pizza with fresh mozzarella and crumbled sausage – delicious!
- Drunken Grandma: A variation of the traditional Grandma pizza, except this one uses vodka cream sauce in place of the traditional red marinara sauce. It is a bit heavier.
- The Mediterranean: This is really really good. The saltiness of the fine Italian prosciutto is balanced with the sweetness of the red roasted peppers. Every bite your taste buds go back and forth until the slice is gone and you are longing for another.
- Artichoke & Spinach: Cream sauce, artichoke, spinach, really good.
- Mama Lucia: Topped with chopped eggplant and roasted peppers
- Broccoli Rabe: I love broccoli rabe, but it has no place being on pizza
- Margherita: Simply a perfect balance of tomato sauce, fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, and basil. I took one bite of this and it instantly transported me back to the late 1970s. Yes, this is what pizzeria pizza tasted like before everyone in the world started doing it who can afford a license to sell food. Before there was processed cheese and way too much of it. This is what pizza was when I was a kid. This takes the place as #1 for the basic slice. Though its a “specialty” slice, this is the very best slice of regular pizza I’ve had in probably 10 years or more.
- Buffalo Chicken: As wrong as this is, its one of my newest favorites of things that really don’t belong on pizza. Its diced chicken with hot sauce instead of tomato sauce, and drizzled with blue cheese and sprinkled with finely diced celery.
- The Verona: Square, grilled chicken, red roasted peppers, mozzarella and tomato sauce, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
- Potatoes, Peppers & Eggs: This is Genius. Take a classic Italian omelette and instead of putting it on a bun, put it on pizza and you have a fritatta like no other you have ever seen. You can skip the fried eggs for breakfast and have this oven baked delight instead, and you can even have it for lunch.
- Taste of Tuscany: Roasted red peppers, white ricotta, and spinach represent the colors of the Italian flag in this slice. For me, I just don’t like ricotta on pizza, its a bit too rich, but this was good.
- Eggplant Rollatini: The ricotta is a bit too rich on top of the mozzarella cheese, and its messy, I should have eaten this with a fork and knife like South Americans do with most pizza. This is the one time I would allow this rule to eating pizza by hand.
- Chicken Marsala: Personally I don’t think chicken should ever be on pizza. I know I contradict myself because I love the Buffalo Chicken Pizza, but here this (for me) does not work. You have the sweet taste of reduced Sicilian Marsala Wine with chicken and I didn’t really care for it much.
There are many types which I don’t think really belong, like the Italian Hot Dog pizza, the Big Mac Pizza, Taco Pizza, etc. If you want a taco, hot dog or hamburger, that is fine. I am pretty much old school when it comes to pizza.
Some interesting specials they don’t always have is a theme on The Godfather Movies:
- The Godfather Part I: Broccoli rabe, diced sundried tomatoes, crumbled sausage. I love broccoli rabe and sausage, but I was never a huge fan of sausage on pizza, much less broccoli rabe.
- The Godfather Part II: The diced sundried tomatoes are a nice touch, I just don’t like broccoli rabe as a pizza topping
- The Godfather Part III: Shrimp, calamari, roasted peppers, broccoli rabe.
Keep ’em coming, I will be back for more!!!