Pizza Stop number 1- Santillo’s…639 South Broad St. Elizabeth, NJ 07202

You’re not going to Santillo’s to sit and eat. You’re going there to order a pie; then maybe go home, open a bottle of wine, and have a feast.

Al says the place (South Broad St.) has been there since his father opened it in 1957. Before that, his grandfather opened the original Santillo’s back in 1918. Either way, Al claims it’s “not only the best; but in a class of its own!”

And it is!

The neighborhood knows when the pie’s ready, because they all descend like vultures at just the precise time.

Just in time for Al to serve his breakfast pie: A square-shaped pie with a bit of olive oil, an egg in the middle of each slice, sprinkled with red pepper. Perfect as a beginner.

Then we graduated over to Al’s signature pies.

His lasagna pie is to die for.  A thin crusted round pie with generous helpings of ricotta, plum tomato, and baked eggplant on top.  I could’ve eaten the whole thing by myself.

Then there’s the obligatory round Margarita, with generous helpings of crushed plum tomato, which Al crushes by hand; aged mozzarella, and a sprinkle of imported Greek oregano to give it a little bit of sweetness.

And who can resist the Sicilian pizza.  Al’s is served in the cast iron black tray, (just like the ones we used to have in Rome Bakery back in the day); but his comes out thin. I opted for a corner piece….that’s what I’d always go for whenever we made the Sicilian pie…..however Al’s has a thin crust.

What impressed me the most is the oven.  An original brick oven, built with handcrafted brick and a layer of baking stones placed atop a bed of sand. My dad used to say that when an oven was built like that, it gave you a true heat. Here is a picture of the oven:

Ray Rossi Checking Out the Oven at Santillos Pizza in Elizabeth

Al also places beneath the round pie baked on the floor of the oven, some granulated corn meal, giving the pie it’s distinctive crispiness.

Here is video footage of me sampling the different pies.

This is no ordinary pie, and it’s no ordinary place.

Santillo’s….639 South Broad St. Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

The gauntlet has been thrown down! You other pizza owners better bring it!

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