I was spoiled. Growing up in Somerville, we lived just across Route 206 from Raritan – home of the best pizza on the planet. DeLucia’s, a local institution, has been run by the same family since Costantino DeLucia, an Italian immigrant, opened his bread bakery there in 1917. That original brick oven and the thousands of pizzas cooked in it since flavor the perfectly cooked pies that emerge today.
My earliest pizza memories are of DeLucia’s delicious crust, tangy-salty sauce and just the right amount of cheese. My first Delucia’s pie was probably take out – good even out of the box. Eating in at DeLucia’s meant playing Pac Man (in the early ’80s) and sitting in one of the booths along the wall. On the other side of the small dining area, opposite the wall where the video game used to stand, there’s a portrait of a stern-faced Constantino. Under his gaze, I could eat a whole pie in one sitting as a teenager. OK, I still could, but I shouldn’t. De Lucia’s menu is nice and simple: pizza (no slices) and calzones. The sausage and meatball toppings are first-rate.
I’ve sung the praises of DeLucia’s pizza to anyone who would listen and measured all the pizza I’ve tried, from Italy to Costa Rica, against the Raritan standard. In the back of my mind, I thought maybe everyone’s favorite pizza was the one they grew up with. Then I saw the results of Peter Genovese‘s monumental “Pizza Patrol” state-wide search for Jersey’s best pizza. After methodically tasting Jersey pizza, county by county, visiting 330 pizza joints, and eating 1000 slices last year, the Best Plain Pizza in New Jersey: DeLucia’s.