Rick DeLorenzo Jr.'s family inheritance is more than just a recipe for thin-crust pizza—it's a tradition of hard work and dedication. After emigrating from a small Italian town called San Fele, his grandparents settled in a row home on Hudson Street in Trenton. They raised 12 children there, all of whom became well-versed in the application of elbow grease. Circa 1938, DeLorenzo's uncle Joe opened the first family pizzeria at the corner of Hudson and Mott Streets. Four of the older brothers formulated the signature Trenton tomato-pie recipe—a supercrispy thin crust topped with garden-fresh california tomatoes and wisconsin cheese—and passed it on to four younger brothers, including DeLorenzo's father. Today, the pizzaiolo duties are carried on by DeLorenzo and his children, Michael, Melissa, and Maria.
The menu at DeLorenzo's Pizza has earned high praise in several newspaper articles and a spot on Dash’s list of America's best slices. After enjoying a tomato pie, Rich Defabritus of the Slice food blog said, "The balance struck between the sauce and cheese is about as close to perfection as you could get." Wood-paneled walls and old-timey memorabilia give the restaurant a nostalgic, throwback vibe, similar to the pizza parlor where Frank Sinatra first read a menu with his famously blue-tinted contact lenses.
Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.
Michael Scotto draws on his native Italian heritage and knowledge of traditional recipes at Jester’s Cafe’s, which serves classic Italian dishes crafted to pair with a deep, international-wine menu. Italian and Australian varietals of red and white complement high-grade poultry and filet mignon delivered fresh daily, creating worldly meals without the pulpy aftertaste left after chewing through a road atlas. The eatery fosters a cheerful ambiance with a wide array of specialty cocktails mixed with top-shelf vodkas, rum, and even champagne. Jester’s Cafe also provides a semisecluded back room for private parties as well as off-premises catering services for wedding parties and postdivorce luaus.
Everybody has a favorite style of pizza crust. Rather than take sides, the cooks at Family Nest Restaurant include several of the most popular, including Sicilian and thin crust. Atop gourmet pies they sprinkle ingredients such as buffalo chicken and baked ziti, one of Family Nest's many housemade Italian classics, which range from chicken florentine to veal marsala.
Besides Italian staples, the culinary team whips up pizzeria favorites such as eggplant parm subs, ham calzones with seven-cheese blends, and gourmet wraps. The Brando, for instance, combines pesto chicken, roasted red peppers, and mozzeralla cheese, the same foods Marlon Brando stuffed in his mouth to make that wheezy voice in The Godfather.
There is no one way to make a pie at Nino's Trattoria & Pizzeria. Chefs leave off the cheese with the Old Fashion pizza, and build the Trenton tomato pizza by first layering the cheese atop a crust, and then slathering on the plum tomato sauce. They double the crust and tuck all the fixings of a cheesesteak sandwich inside a stuffed pie, and completely encase toppings in dough to make a calzone. There are also square, thick-crust pies and taco pizzas, regional specialties from opposite sides of the globe. The extensive Italian offerings include pasta and chicken dishes served with four types of noodles, and panini sandwiches flattened in a professional panini maker or the hands of a sumo wrestler.
Helmed by Vinny and Antonio Mannino, Mannino’s Family Restaurant offers diners the simple pleasures of Italian cuisine prepared by experienced chefs. Pizza-making pros toss doughy discs to craft more than 25 Sicilian and gourmet pies, topped with the likes of steak, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Veal nine ways includes classic preparations of piccata and marsala, stuffed pastas are filled with manicotti and meat confetti, and a kids’ menu is home to swirl-able plates piled with spaghetti and meatballs