At age 11, while other Jersey kids were playing ball up the block, Tony Aponte was treating his four siblings to pizzas in the family kitchen. More than three decades have passed since those days. Tony has found new digs. He's moved to Ohio to be closer to his three daughters. But he is still crafting pizzas, drawing on those childhood experiences and a greatly expanded palette of toppings and ingredients available at Aponte's Pizzeria, which was featured on The Food Network's Restaurant Impossible.
In the pies he makes now, house-made sauce, hand-tossed white or wheat dough, and fistfuls of whole-milk cheese support capicola, genoa salami, grilled peppers, and artichoke hearts. While pulling apart slices, guests at Aponte?s Pizzeria can drink from a full bar or glance up at five flat-screen TVs to check sports scores or see if the anchorman is still wearing their friendship bracelet. Sports photos and team insignias pepper the marinara-red walls, and the tables clatter with plates of subs and baked pastas.
At Roc-A-Fellas Pizza, chefs make the day's batch of dough from scratch and blend crushed tomatoes, garlic, sour cream, and Romano cheese into a tangy sauce. They take the traditional New York approach to pizza, hand-tossing the dough, dressing the crust with sauce and toppings, baking it in a stone oven, and branding the final product with a map of the subway system. They also whip up Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and homemade cookies. All proceeds go to Self-Sustaining Enterprises, an organization that fights domestic and international poverty.
Harking back to the first American-made coal-fired pizzas, the ovens at Delicio Coal Fired Pizza are home to smoldering embers that imbue the pies with a rich, smoky flavor. These pizzas emerge from the ovens with Southwestern-influenced flavor profiles, with topping combinations such as roasted chicken, black beans, and green chiles, or carnitas with pepper jack, spicy pickles, and red onions. Cocktails fuse together the Southwestern and Italian themes of the food menu, featuring zesty micheladas, sweet prickly pear margaritas, Italian mojitos, and housemade limoncello.
With a menu of classic pizza pies, generous helpings of piping hot pasta, and hearty sandwiches, Fairfield Pizza & Pasta Company highlights the inherent comfort of Italian culinary traditions. Sandwiches such as the meatball sub and italian sausage compete for tastebuds' attention with classic dishes such as lasagna and baked ziti. The house pizzas, meanwhile, range in size from 6 to 16 inches and serve as worthy vessels for ingesting heaps of fresh toppings. Hungry patrons can also opt for a signature pizza such as the Deluxe, which is loaded down with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and mushrooms, or the Slaughter House Five with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, bacon, and ham.
Chefs at Dough Boys Pizzeria toss rounds of fresh dough every day to make the crusts of their 6”–16” pies. The kitchen names its specialty pizzas after music of yore, from the Al Green Veggie Lovers, to the Dolly Pardon with double cheese and pepperoni, to the Supremes, which keeps pepperoni, ham, sausage, and vegetables hangin' on. Dough Boys also doles out paninis named for celebrities such as the ham-and-bacon Rocky Balboa and all-beef hot dogs such as the Frank Sinatra with sauerkraut and spicy mustard. To wrap up meals, the chefs fry up orders of cinnabites, deep-fried dough balls tossed in butter, cinnamon, and sugar with a topping of vanilla icing.
Serving fresh and speedy pies across America for more than 50 years, Little Caesars now sates impatient appetites and sauce-starved tongue buds worldwide. Large one-topping Hot-N-Ready pizzas are available to drop-in patrons posthaste, eliminating stress caused by spur-of-the-moment houseguests who insist on sleeping on doughy disks ($5.99; additional toppings $1.50 each), or plumb the savory strata of three-meat pizza ($8.99) or supreme pizza ($9.99) . Little Caesars' Italian cheese or pepperoni bread ($4.99) and Caesar wings with barbecue or buffalo sauce ($5.99) are available for stomachs that have developed crust issues ever since they caught pizza sharing a plate with pre-dressed salad.