NJ Dining: Kinchley’s Tavern


Kinchley’s Tavern
586 N Franklin Tpke, Ramsey, NJ
(201) 934-7777

Some of you are probably aware that I am not a native-born Jersey Boy. I am, in fact, from New Yawk. Both of my parents are from Queens and I grew up on the Nassau County/Queens border near Little Neck. So when it comes to Pizza, I have a particular slant for the New York style.

Since founding eGullet, I have since learned about and dined at several of the best pizza parlors in New York City — Patsy’s and Arturo’s in Manhattan, Grimaldi’s, Totonno, DiFara and L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, Full Moon in the Bronx, the list goes on. As a New Jersey resident, I do have to say that there are probably a scant few places that would come even close to those giants. But I submit to you that such a place does exist, and its in way the hell up Route 17 in Ramsey, and its called Kinchley’s Tavern. Stylistically the pizza they serve is very different from true New York style pizza, but its damn good pizza nevertheless.

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Kinchley’s brightly lit sign is like a beacon, magically drawing you in, much like the legendary lighthouse at Pharos.

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You know its a serious joint when its got a big plastic Budweiser Clydesdale on the roof.

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The main dining room at 9:30 on a Friday night. Go an hour or two earlier, you might have to wait — a while.

Kinchley’s has been serving pizza for at least 40 years, probably more. Originally, it started out as a bar, but then at some point, they started making bar pies.

Now, a bar pie is essentially a small pizza (approximately 12 inches in diameter) with a very thin, almost cracker like crust. In terms of sauce, its somewhat on the sweet side, unless you get the “Fra Diavolo” sauce, which is considerably spicier and is usually what we opt for. My suggestion is if you go that way, opt for the pitchers of Boylan’s Birch Beer to go with it.

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Start off with a salad, because you’re gonna want some roughage.

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A bacon pie with Fra Diavolo sauce.

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Slice closeup. Note the very thin crust.

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The pie disappears rather quickly, so you’ll want to put another one into the ordering queue.

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Sausage pie. Note the very thin slices of sausage that look practically razor cut, crisped up nice.

Kinchley’s also has a full bar, which apparently no longer smells smoky due to the fact that New Jersey passed its no smoking legislation last month. So if you’ve been staying away from bar-type atmospheres because of the smoke, fear not — Kinchey’s is smoke-free.

(5/20) Got leftovers? Try this for breakfast:

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26 Responses to NJ Dining: Kinchley’s Tavern

  1. Maryellen Shea Fritz says:

    I grew up in Ramsey and needless to say ate at Kinchleys all the time, and especially after the little league games. This was in the 60′s-70′s. And when I got engaged and knew I was moving to Florida I “”acquired”” some Kinchley glasses and have displayed these for over 30 years. I now only have one left and would love to be able to have some (at my expense of course) sent to me in Florida to enjoy. I am a “Shea” and my sister who still lives in Ramsey is a “Maisch”. I hope and am sure you can accommodate me.. Or I guess I can always make a visit and get some more glasses bez then I get to eat the best pizza ever…………….. I am serious so please let me know if I can give you my FEDEX number and get my wine/drink glasses……….thanks Maryellen Shea Fritz

  2. Joe Peraino says:

    Great review, great pics. I also grew up in Ramsey and the pizza is a staple at our house – at least once a week.

    • Dottie Beatty says:

      I grew up in Ridgewood, NJ, my sister lived in Mahwah, went to Kinchley’s frequently but the best Pizza I have ever had in my 67 years was at a place called Blue Hill Tavern, can’t remember the name of the town but it wasn’t far from Ridgewood area. I have never had anything that comes even close to it. Thin crust great spices and mozzarella so hot you always burnt the roof of your mouth because you couldn’t wait to take the first bite. I started going there when I was about 7 years old and was still going when I was in my twenties. It has closed and I always wondered if the children ever opened up a new place or who the heck has that recipe.

  3. Rose says:

    I am one of the few New Yorkers that is not fond of Pizza. I must tell you that I LOVE the pizza at KINCHLEYS. It is a thin crust, made to perfection pizza that is second to none. The atmosphere is casual and relaxing. Most of the time the place is packed and therefore you have to wait but it is WORTH IT. If you are debating on taking the drive, rest assured it is worth making the trip and you will see that you too will keep going back. Just thinking about going there tonight is making my mouth water. I am not one to leave responses on websites but I really do enjoy this place. I hope you will too.

  4. Gretchen Sargent says:

    I grew up in Ramsey and Kinchley’s was a favorite place to eat for our family. I left the area in the eighties. I am now married and living in Europe for the past ten years. Every time I have European pizza, which is thin crust, I say it tastes just like Kinchley’s! Thanks for the great website. Now I can show my family what I am talking about. The atmosphere is great too. I’m glad to see it hasn’t changed! I hope they are still playing those old italian songs. another favorite on the menu was mussels in marinara sauce.

  5. Phil says:

    Kinchley’s is the best. I lived in Ramsey for a while and we got pizza every week from there. I work in the area and a bunch of us go there on a regular basis to celebrate Birthdays, etc. It’s even better since they went smoke-free

  6. I grew up in Mahwah, and I have very strong memories of Kinchley’s. Dear god it’s the best!!

  7. Tony K says:

    I literally grew up eating Kinchley’s. My father Carl owned it from 1964 to 1987, and I worked there through my teens. It’s amazing how many loyal customers who had moved away would come in and buy them “7/8ths” cooked by the dozen to take them home and freeze. I still love the pizza and try to drop by when I’m in town.

  8. Jennifer Aiello (aka) Gordon The Big Express's Rider says:

    I have been here once! Great Salad with dressing, Apps Great also, And the Pizza OMG, So Yummy and crispy. Gordon The Big Express: “Jennifer is it that good?” Me: “Yea Gordon Try it.”

  9. Mike says:

    Hey Tony ,

    Its been a really long time …. Do you remember laughter?? The Friday night crew? The guy who got his hand stuck in the rolling machine ?? I hop you are well .

    Reach out ..

    Mike

  10. Rob from LI (originally Warwick, NY) says:

    As I write this, I am finishing my Kentucky Derby Pie and digesting a large pie with meatballs. My first Kinchley’s experience was in 1988 and I have been a fan ever since. We’d come down from Warwick and have pizza and often the linguini with broccoli. I have lived in Long Island basically since college and am constantly on “the great pizza quest”. I have never had any thin crust that even compares to Kinchley’s. I introduced my wife to Kinchley’s while we were dating, making day trips from LI to Warwick. She would always get the baked ziti. As many places as there are on Long Island to get baked ziti or pizza, it was Kinchley’s that drew us like a magnet. We eloped in Warwick on one of those “day trips” just weeks prior to our big wedding (shhh! it’s still a secret to all but the mayor) – and it was Kinchley’s who unknowingly threw our reception. Soon after, it was also the place where we introduced our baby son to pizza as well. He’s hooked now too. Today he discovered he loves meatballs… and throwing sugar packets on the floor. Can’t wait to go back – though I wish I read about the 7/8th’s cooked idea. I’d love to be able to keep a few in the freezer for when it’s too cold to make the drive.

  11. Tony K says:

    I do remember that! Who the heck got his hand stuck in the machine?
    Mike who?

  12. Mike R says:

    I did , Johnny Koz got the crow bar and set me free. Mike who??? There were only 3 that were The Crew as your dad used to say . Nuzz ,you and me. Are you in the food business? In NJ ? I am still local ,married 2 girls. Do you know who I am yet? Man did automation ruin the Kinchleys pie. I still remember the taste of your Nans sauce ,one of a kind…

  13. iesha says:

    i nerver had this so i wouln’t lnow hw this taste like it wouln’t taste good to me i don’t eat everybody’s cookong just my mom. grandma ,dad

  14. Mike K. says:

    I worked in Ramsey from 1992 to 2000, and would eat pizza at Kinchley’s at least once a week. The restaurant has an odd, musty smell, but the pizza was delicious.
    If you are ever in Cranford, NJ, try Emma’s Brick Oven on Union Ave. They import their buffalo milk mozzarella from Italy, and cook the pies in a coal and apple wood-fired oven. Fantastic pizza, easily the best in the area.

  15. Bill T. says:

    I’ve been going to Kinchley’s since 1961. It’s still the best thin-crust pizza in the area. I can’t comment on anything else on the menu because pizza is the only thing I’ve ever had there. Order three large pies for two people along with a pitcher of beer and you’ve got a party.

  16. janna says:

    Gosh, I feel like a traitor. Have lived in Ramsey 30 + yrs. Tried Kinchley’s pizza 2x thought it was awful. Soggy, too thin and burnt. Try Pompilio’s in Westwood for thin & crisp crust.

  17. Kevin B says:

    Janna, I just finished a Kinchleys sausage pie and I think you must live in an alternate universe. I have been going there for 25+ years and I have NEVER had a soggy pizza. It seems like soggy would be impossible unless you ordered a salad pizza or something with a lot of water. It is hands down the best in the area. For a totally different but equally satisfying experience try Nanuet Hotel in Nanuet, NY. I rate it equal to Kinchleys but with a thicker pastry like crust and loaded with cheese.

  18. stephen mcgirr says:

    i ate there last night, first time. i’ve heard about it for years, i was in the area so… fantastic! can anybody tell me if they still make 7/8 pies? i’ll take a dozen myself. thanks for your time. peace!

  19. Well I am a Jersey gal born and raised in Ramsey right on Spring Street and Island Road …Pizza is horrible in Florida and every time I get to Ramsey I go there. I just love the atmosphere and I can remember when u ordered just a cheese pizza pie and that was a real treat…..
    I just love the plain,no added toppings necessary for a Kinchleys pizza pie….. Let’s go another 40 years or more. You will always be a popular landmark…..

  20. barbara Randlett says:

    I lived in Sloatsburg, about 8 miles away from Ramsey, from 1963 to 66…and ate at Kinchley’s at least once a week. My son could barely sit up and was eating pizza in a high chair. I’d love to have a chance to eat there again!! I’m NOT surprise it is still in business.

  21. Ana Zotta says:

    Ana Z

    We took our son and his Japanese wife (they live in Tokyo) for diner on their last visit, and they
    still talk about this pizza place. Kinchleys has the best pizza in known world!!!.(according to my daughter in law). And I agree.

  22. [...] Off The Broiler Share and Enjoy: [...]

  23. Here is a bit of history on Kinchley’s. I was told as a kid it was a speakeasy and on the county line for that reason. Later it was a hang out for teens during the 50′s yep, that long ago. My parents used to go there on dates and it has been a family tradition. I am in my mid fifties if that helps ya. Yes, I drive in from KY now to meet up with family. It is a must when ever we are in the area. 3 hours is close enough for a trip. Love Kinchleys it is in the blood.

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