Celebrate with Clifton's Best Pizzas, Decided by You
Pizza is such an easy food to love. It’s inexpensive, easy to find, and made for sharing with a group. It’s a favorite for parties of all sizes, feeding groups of hungry kids, or grabbing a quick dinner. At its simplest, pizza is dough, sauce, and cheese but there are nearly as many variations on this basic theme as there are pizza places within the city limits. Thin crust, stuffed crust, piled high with veggies or layered in meats…there is something for every pizza palate.
Here are some fun pizza facts, according to the National Day Calendar website:
- In ancient Greece, the Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs, and cheese, which some attribute to the beginning of the pizza.
- In Byzantine Greek, the word was spelled “πίτα,” pita, meaning pie.
- The Romans developed a pastry with a sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey, then flavored with bay leaves.
- Our modern pizza had its beginning in Italy as the Neapolitan flatbread.
- The original pizza used only mozzarella cheese, mainly the highest quality buffalo mozzarella variant. It was produced in the surroundings of Naples.
- An estimated 2 billion pounds of pizza cheese was produced in the United States in 1997.
- The first United States pizza establishment opened in New York’s Little Italy in 1905.
- The largest pizza ever made, according to Guinness World Records, weighed 26,883 pounds. It was made in Norwood, South Africa, on December 8, 1990.
- As far as pizza-eating contests go, the winner goes to Kelvin Medina, who ate a 12-inch pizza in 23.62 seconds on April 12, 2015.
Last month, in preparation for National Pizza Party Day, The Clifton Times asked the community to vote for the city’s best pizza in each of three categories - best tasting pizza, best atmosphere, and friendliest staff. The community responded and here are the big winners!
BEST TASTING PIZZA: Holding down the far corner of Richfield Plaza for nine years now, Clifton Village Pizza was the clear frontrunner in this category.
Managed by Gent, James, and Jimmy, Clifton Village Pizza prides itself on its warm family-friendly atmosphere and their dedication to making sure that every customer is taken care of with a smile. “The secret [of our success] is freshness and years of experience in making a large amount of delicious selections of pizza and a wide variety of sandwiches and dinners,” said Jimmy.
If you visit early in the day, when their cases are fully stocked, you’ll see just how spectacular the selection is. Their most popular pies are the Bella, Bruschetta and Chicken Caprese, Chicken Vodka, Buffalo Chicken, and Chicken Fresca, but there are many more to try. They also offer appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts. For the full menu, see HERE.
This pizzeria is so popular with Cliftonites, it won a second category - FRIENDLIEST STAFF. Here you can expect quick and helpful service with a smile, no matter how busy they are.
Clifton Village Pizza is located in the Richfield Plaza at 1380 Clifton Avenue. Their phone number is 973-458-0505 and they offer dine-in service, take-out, and delivery.
BEST ATMOSPHERE: If you’ve been in Clifton for any length of time, you’ve surely visited - or at least heard of - Mario’s. Located on Van Houten Avenue, Mario’s is Clifton’s oldest restaurant and first pizzeria. According to their website, “We were founded by Mario and Emma Barilari on July 4th, 1945 and have become famous for our thin crust pizza, especially our very thin “Emma Style.” In keeping with Mario and Emma’s tradition, we continue to be a casual family-friendly restaurant, one that serves fresh traditional Italian dishes at reasonable prices.”
Mario’s features several rooms, including a private room in the back, more casual seating in the bar room, and a large dining room. Their menu includes appetizers, salads, burgers, entrees of all sorts, desserts, and of course pizza. They have a Happy Hour and Early Bird Specials, too. They also have a special party menu and host many events. If you’re lucky, you might even run into Mayor Grabowski there!
Mario’s is located at 710 Van Houten Avenue and their phone number is 973-777-1559. You can dine there, order for take-out, or get delivery with one of many third-party services.
In addition to these winners, Wize Guys Brick Oven Pizzeria & Restaurant made a strong showing in all three categories and earned an Honorable Mention. Wize Guys, in addition to all of the things you’d expect at a pizzeria, has its own ice cream parlor - Scoops. You can eat in, order for take-out, get delivery, or have them cater your party, big or small.
You’ll find Wize Guys at 353 Crooks Avenue. Their phone number is 973-772-3535.
Congratulations to our winners! As we celebrate National Pizza Party Day, consider visiting one of these stand-out pizzerias or one of the many others that call Clifton home. There are so many to choose from, you might need to celebrate for the next several weeks in order to taste them all!