Tony D Pizza
3 Hanford Place Caldwell NJ 07006 | 973-228-9500 | tonypizza.com
Tony D’s in Caldwell NJ is almost like a speakeasy pizza joint. It is hidden on a side street but it is some of the best pizza you will ever have in New Jersey. I’ve known this since they first opened nearly 20 years ago, but recently they made it into New Jersey Monthly as one of the best pizzas in the Garden State. That is saying a lot, considering Jersey has more Italians than any other state in the USA.
In the past, for pizza like this, I would have to cross over into NY to Elmont on the edge of Queens to get pizza like this from King Umbertos. But once I tasted this, I knew I could save myself at least 2-3 hours of travel round trip, and a ton of money on tolls.
It started with the Grandma’s. It is a square pan pizza which is simple, and like the name, something your grandma would make. It is not inundated with a lot of sauce, or cheese or any toppings outside of the simplicity that pizza should be: hand rolled dough, sauce, and fresh cheese. Seems simple enough, but not many can get this concept right.
If you don’t think simple things matter, San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy does make a difference, no doubt. My favorite is the Pizzalina. I always wondered why it took an hour to order in advance, but I recently learned the reason. This square pan pizza is cooked twice for extra crispness.
Specialty pizza is all the rage these days, often making pizza anything but a pizza. You won’t see baked ziti or fried onion rings on any pizza at Tony D’s. What they do have however, is Gorgonzola and sausage which is an incredible combination. They have many others as well, but I am a fairly simple person when it comes to my pizza, and simplicity is the key, it just all comes down to the freshness of the ingredients, and the care that goes into making it. In fact, I’ve never been in there once in a hundred times when Tony D himself was not in the kitchen making the pizza. Consistency is also key.
The one thing that is not on the menu, and really never is, is the focaccia. I ask every time I have a conversation with him. He rarely makes it, but if he does, it is around the holidays. I love it because it as close as it gets to my mother’s pizza she made every Friday night when she was still alive.
As you can imagine, pizza is not just comfort food for me, it is very serious stuff. And when me or my wife have had a really difficult week and we don’t want to try someplace new or be disappointed. Tony D’s is always our first choice for a sure fire hit that will never disappoint.
If there is any drawback to Tony D’s, it is that you cannot really dine in. Even prior to the pandemic, they only had a table or two. This is pizza that is meant to be for takeout, and it travels very well, unlike a lot of pizza out there.
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