Lombardi’s may be responsible for “America’s first pizza,” but as Nick Azzaro, owner of Papa’s Tomato Pies, isn’t shy about saying, Papa’s — established in 1912 — is America’s oldest continuously owned, family-owned pizzeria. With more than 100 years under its belt, no wonder Papa’s made this list of America’s best pies again. And the family behind this operation is key: The recipe has been passed down through generations and survived a 2013 move from Trenton to Robbinsville.
The Azzaro family cooks made-to-order pies customizable in a variety of ways. You can choose everything from garlic to mushrooms and pepperoni to meatballs, or add anchovies for a salty kick. But it’s tradition that makes Papa’s special, so order their signature tomato pie. But because you’ve made the trip, brought friends, and are hungry, order a Papa’s tangy original: the mustard pie.
Yes, it sounds crazy, but don’t doubt for a second that it works. Forget the Times’ claim that the pepperoni mustard pie tastes a bit too much like a hot dog. Their palates may be a bit too, ahem, “refined.” It tastes less like a hot dog, or any of the over-the-top hybrid creations fast food companies are flinging themselves at, than an unexpected, nuanced creation that shouldn’t work, but does — a brilliant pizza you’ll crave and won’t find anywhere else.