Finding the best tomato pies

We have all heard that the best Neapolitan pizza in the world comes from Italy. And of course the best deep dish pizza is well known to come from Chicago. I am going to guess that everyone also knows that the best foldable large sliced pizza comes from the Big Apple of New York City.

But what I would like to talk to about today is where the best tomato pies come from. Tomato pies are indigenous to the Trenton area of central New Jersey.

Poppa’s Tomato Pies located at 19 Robbinsville Allentown Rd. in Robbinsville, NJ was established in 1912. Owner Nick Azzaro is the third-generation pizza pie maker. Nick and his family claim that Poppa’s is the oldest family owned pizzeria restaurant in all of the United States.

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Poppa’s is famous for its all original tomato pie.

So, what exactly is a tomato pie? A Trenton tomato pie also known as a New Jersey tomato pie is a normal round pizza, but the crust is on the thinner side. What makes it tomato pie different is simply how it is made. It is actually made in reverse of a normal pizza. The mozzarella goes first onto the dough, and then the sauce goes on top.

Most Trenton tomato pie makers keep it very simple with the ingredients. One of the secrets is that the sauce itself is simply just quickly crushed tomatoes that are a little bit on the sweeter side.

De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies is also one of the oldest tomato pie makers in the Trenton area.

Other really good tomato pies can be had at Marcellos coal-fired restaurant located in 206 Farnsworth Ave., in Bordentown, NJ. And Joey’s pizza of Hamilton located at 1201 Whitehorse Mercerville Rd. in Trenton New Jersey.

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Trenton actually has about 20 different small pizzerias and restaurants that make tomato pies in the area. Oddly enough this is really the only area that does make tomato pies. There are a couple of other places throughout New Jersey that make them as well, but there really aren’t that many surprisingly.

If you have never had the luxury of pasting a true tomato pie we recommend that you head out to New Jersey as soon as possible. And of course we would say that you would specifically have to had to Trenton New Jersey.  Here is a good website where you can find other tomato pies as well as all of the best pizzerias in New Jersey.

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If it’s impossible for you to get out to the Garden State of New Jersey, you may want to try to make your own Trenton tomato pie. The ingredients are pretty simple.

You of course need pizza dough. You can make your own pizza dough from scratch or you can get a premade one from your local pizzeria. You also need 128 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, salt, flour, fresh mozzarella, a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and optionally crushed red pepper flakes. Here’s a full recipe from Epicurus.

Philip Okoye
the authorPhilip Okoye
Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at

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