Sitting outside on lovely First Ave in downtown Atlantic Highlands made me feel like I was one of the extras on “The Sopranos!”

Like sitting outside Satrilaie’s Pork Store in Kearney.

Funny how a little atmosphere can give you the sense of anticipation for something really special to happen.

And good things happen at First Avenue Pizza.

Butch has been on the block since 2009, but he’s a real neighborhood guy.
He’s active in the community, lending his support to the many community organizations in and around the Highlands.

Here’s the thing about Butch. He reminds me somewhat of my dad.
Reason being is that I heard him inside barking orders to his family and workers; and immediately I was taken back to a much simpler time and place.

And being with Butch and his family does just that. It takes you back.

As does the pizza.

Let’s start with the thin crusted “Grandma Pie”. It’s a Sicilian pie, thin crusted, with a firm bottom and pan baked! Firm bottom is key. As a pan baked pie, it crunches to the bite.
Grandma would definitely have approved.

His BBQ pie is loaded with plenty of cheese, BBQ chicken, bacon, and just the right amount of BBQ sauce to make it a perfect compliment for football watching. Wash that baby down with a few cold beers; and you got a hell of a day right there!

This being the “Jersey Fresh” Weekend on New Jersey 101.5…what better pie to serve than the Bruschetta pie. Diced Jersey tomatoes over a bed of mozzarella and just the right amount of herbs.

I would call that the perfect antipasto.

Thick plum tomatoes adorned the Chicken Parmesan pie…with thinly sliced strips of chicken cutlets and plenty of mozzarella.

Sitting a table away from us was young TJ accompanied by his mom and a friend.

TJ’s favorite is the Meatball Pie; and I couldn’t help but grab a slice of it. TJ was only too happy to accommodate.

And lest we forget Butch’s plain pie….which is great whenever you’re on the run.
And save some room for dessert. Butch’s dessert Stromboli!

If Butch wanted to segue out of the pizza business, I told him his skills as a pastry chef are unparallelled!

Let’s take a tour and a taste:

Atlantic Highlands is very lucky to have Butch and his family on the block. Stay long enough and join the First Ave. Pizza “Wall of Fame”!

I swear…I think anyone who’s anyone in Atlantic Highlands adorns the wall!

As will you.

First Ave Pizza.
75 First Ave.
Atlantic Highlands, NJ, 07716.