The third-generation owners of De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies have known how to make great pizza for decades.
Seven years ago, they showed how much they know about running a business.
In 2007, sensing a customer shift away from their historic location in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, the family opened a second store in Robbinsville.
“When our demographics changed, we moved out seven years ago to where our customers are,” owner Sam Amico said.
The original Chambersburg location, which opened in 1936, closed its doors for good in 2012. Business at De Lorenzo's has never been better.
De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies has seen steady growth since it opened in Robbinsville — a feat in and of itself in the industry.
“Steadiness is an accomplishment all on its own,” Amico said. “You never know what's going to happen in the restaurant business from one day to the next.”
There's one thing, apparently, that you can count on: De Lorenzo's being honored as having the best pizza in the state.
De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies has been top-rated by Zagat as the “gold standard” of pizza and the “holy grail” of tomato pies, chosen as the New Jersey choice by USA Today Travel's “Great American Bites,” ranked No. 8 among the Top 38 Pizza Places in the country by the website EATER — and most recently, profiled as one of the four New Jersey pizzerias featured on the 101 Best Pizzas in America 2014 Slideshow by the robust culinary news resource TheDailyMeal.com.
Amico feels there may not be a direct correlation between polls and increased business, but you never know.
“(It's) definitely a great feeling to be ranked amongst your peers and recognized for your hard work and traditions,” he said.
At No. 31, De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies was tops among New Jersey-based joints in The Daily Meal rankings.
Amazingly, it was one of two Robbinsville-area pizza places on the national Top 101.
Papa's Tomato Pies — ranked at 75 — “coexisted with us in Trenton for over 75 years,” Amico said.
“(They) saw us here and moved here, too, about a year ago.”
Perhaps Papa's Tomato Pies saw how well De Lorenzo's was doing in the area after making seating more accessible and parking more convenient to the customer base that had enjoyed dining at its original row-house location.
“There are at least 20 pizza places within a couple miles of us now,” Amico said.
“To be ranked at all — even if it were just amongst the 20 surrounding pizzerias, let alone the thousands in the country — is a huge accomplishment.”
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Biz in brief
Company: De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies
Founded: 1936 (Robbinsville location opened 2007)
One more thing: North Jersey had two representatives on the recent Top 101 list: Star Tavern in Orange came in at No. 37; Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza in Elizabeth was ranked No. 51.