Homemade pastas, hand-formed gnocchi, and meatballs made from a savory blend of beef, veal, and pork proudly showcase Thomas' Ristorante's dedication to Italian culinary traditions. However, the menu also features a handful of dishes that draw more inspiration from the sea in general than the Mediterranean in particular. This is evident in dishes such as the almond-crusted salmon with citrus glaze as well as the crab cakes with homemade cocktail and mustard sauces. The unifying factor amongst all the dishes is the chefs' reliance on locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Gleaming wooden floorboards and exposed brickwork lend a cozy vibe to the space, making it an inviting spot for people watching out the large front windows. Although the white linen-covered tables are set with crystalline wine glasses entire bunches of chardonnay grapes, Thomas' Ristorante doesn't serve any wines. Instead, the BYOB eatery encourages diners to bring one of their favorite bottles from home.
Vitarelli's Restaurant, in business since 1976, slings a stunning selection of time-tested Italian delicacies. The Vitarelli sampler beckons visiting taste buds to board a vessel of crispy mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, and fried zucchini served alongside a marinara sea ($9.95). Twirl a forkful of pasta and meatballs ($9.95) or probe the cheesy pastascape of baked ziti ($10.95) with the same acuity that allowed Christopher Columbus to find India. Peer through the crusty bread bars of an extensive sandwich zoo, which houses sausage parmigiana ($5 for a small) and the Cherry Hill cheesesteak, with swiss and provolone cheeses co-existing peacefully beneath a warm blanket of fried onions ($6.50 for a small). Vitarelli's sociable staff also rolls out an array of pizzas ($6.95 for a 9"), whose doughy canvasses sport paint-by-number classics as well as avant garde mexican and BLT specialty pies.
Lorenzo's pizza purveyors stack disks of fresh dough with a panoply of gourmet ingredients before sliding them into brick ovens to seal in a smoky redolence. Classic pies such as the sweet Hawaiian and the basil-infused margherita send taste buds back in time more quickly than wormhole-flavored toothpaste, and innovative recipes set palates ablaze with creations such as the spicy buffalo-chicken pizza adorned with wing sauce and blue cheese. Chefs saddle up the Ranchero with bacon, spinach, and tomatoes in melty mozzarella and cool ranch dressing. Greener eats include the eggplant-parmesan pizza and the Mediterranean, which flaunts its sauceless façade with roasted peppers, spinach, olives, and garlic. A savory side of garlic knots and a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, or Sprite accompany pizzas shared inside the eatery or savored at home in front of shamed frozen pizzas.
Behind stone countertops lit by orange pendant lights, staff members slice up thin-crust pizza, fill plates with pasta, and pile Angus beef burgers with toppings and condiments. Chefs slide over plates of Italian specialties such as veal parmigiana and penne alfredo as well as American-style fare such as wraps and chicken wings. Soft drinks from the soda fountain splash into ice-filled cups to accompany dinners, and the restaurant's BYOB policy encourages diners to bring in a bottle of their favorite libation, such as red wine or smoothies made from bottled ships, to accompany all-you-can eat pasta and signature angel pizza with fresh greens and bruschetta tomatoes. For offsite events, the catering menu offers trays of chicken parmigiana, baked ziti, and antipasto to fuel holiday parties and family gatherings.
Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
It may be New Jersey, but the pizza style is decidedly New York. Either in family or personal sizes, the pies on Original People's Pizza & Family Restaurant's menu pack toppings of ricotta cheese, fried onions, or fresh basil and can be stuffed or served in either classic New York or Sicilian slices. Fifteen years have helped the chefs add Big Apple flavor to its Italian classics in a variety of forms. There are entrees of chicken giardino, a chicken breast sauteed with mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, or scallops served with spinach and peas in a white wine sauce. Then there are the pasta dishes, which use fresh noodles to soak up garlic sauce and corral littleneck clams just the way swimming pool noodles soak up pool water and littleneck clams.