Overall Experience - 8.1
Summary : This classic Trenton spot has is a local favorite and they are known for their famous tomato pies. If you're anywhere near Trenton, it's worth a visit.
In late 2011, the owners of the original De Lorenzo’s in Trenton, New Jersey announced that they’d be closing their renowned pizza place after nearly 65 years in business. Although there are outposts on Hamilton Street in Trenton (owned by a different family) and on Route 33 in Robbinsville (owned by the same family), it is the original location — on Hudson Street — that has always garnered the most attention and longest lines.
I made it my mission to visit the original location before it closed. But long story short, they have very limited hours (they’re only open after 4PM a few days a week) and I wasn’t able to make it down to Trenton at those times. So I settled for the second best thing: De Lorenzo’s at 1007 Hamilton Avenue. The good news is, that if you’re reading this, it’s probably still in business and bustling. And if you’re passing through Trenton, you should check it out.
Although I can’t compare the Hamilton Street location to the original, I can compare it to other spots I’ve visited in New Jersey. Although the pies is better here than somewhere like Federici’s (Freehold, NJ), it doesn’t quite live up to that at Star Tavern (Orange, NJ). The Trenton area, and De Lorenzo’s in particular, is know for its tomato pies. I know what you’re thinking — doesn’t all pizza have tomato sauce on it? Legend (or rather a peak in the kitchen) has it that Trenton tomato pies are put together backwards. First cheese and toppings are place on the dough followed by a sauce comprised of seasoned, crushed plum tomatoes. As you might imagine, it’s the sauce which makes these pies special.
We ordered three pies: (1) a tomato and cheese pie, (2) a pie with cheese, garlic and asparagus, and a (3) a tomato and cheese pie with half sausage and half mushrooms. Although the asparagus with nothing to rave about, our first pie was solid and the sausage was a nice complement. The mushrooms were cooked well, but I preferred my pie without them. Pies some in two sizes: small — which range from $11-$15 and large — which range from $14-$20. It’s nice that they’ll do half and half, and three small pies were just a little too much for our party of four.
The place itself is no frills — a rectangular space with benches along the walls and tables in the middle. About 50 people can fit inside. With the closing of the original De Lorenzo’s it will be interesting to see how business is impacted at this outpost. On a Tuesday in late December, it was bustling during lunchtime (the original location is closed at lunch anyway) with a 10-15 minutes wait for our party.
While it is certainly worth that wait if you live in the area or are passing through, I’m not sure it warrants a trip all the way to Trenton. Unlike its brethren in New Haven, De Lorenzo’s is not a destination pizza place.