NJ Dining: Pizza Town USA

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Pizza Town USA
89 US Highway 46
Elmwood Park, NJ 07407

I’ve driven down the stretch of US Highway 46 between Elmwood Park and Clifton hundreds of times, and seen the old Pizza Town structure, with its failing vintage neon sign, sporting drive-in movie theater “1960 Snack Bar” architecture and unpleasant yellow lighting inside. However, it never occurred to me to actually go in there, thinking it would have great pizza. Oy, I can be such a dumbass. Doesn’t the very fact that something has been there nearly 50 years merit at least a first visit?

I was finally motivated to go there when a complete stranger alerted me that it had classic steel deck thin crust New York style pizza, the kind that your average decent pizza place made 30 or 40 years ago. Like the kind I had when I was a kid. And that they were a slice joint and that they were open very late at night. That was all the hook I needed.

Behold, Pizza Town, in all of its Wonder Years glory.

Won’t you take me to… PIZZA TOWN! Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

The countermen at Pizza Town are true Jersey characters. They’d have to be, to work the hours that they do. Take a look at how many steel decks are behind this guy!

Observe — you can eat here week nights and Sundays until 1am, and weekends until 2am.

Exhibit A, a classic retro thin crust slice. It’s fully cooked — none of that uncooked doughy stuff in the middle — with good uniform crust char, a tangy sauce that’s just slightly sweet, with a little bit of oregano and basil spicing. With decent pizza cheese. And for a $1.35 each!

Exhibit B, the Kuban Upskirt shot. Notice the uniform spots of char. The crust spring on this slice is excellent too, and has a nice taste.

Exhibit C, the Pizza Town Calzone, which is filled with ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and ham, and then is deep fried, Italian Carnival style. The inside becomes like molten lava. A larger version of the calzone is also sold, which is baked in the pizza oven.

A calzone cross section.

Calzone piece with some of the Pizza sauce provided for dipping.

21 Responses to NJ Dining: Pizza Town USA

  1. MJP says:

    If you’re ever in the area for lunch, call Piast and get their fax lunch menu. It changes every day and it’s the best (but the only) down-home Polish food I’ve ever had and a fantastic deal. My short-lived project management career had me eating their food for lunch once or twice. Their kielbasa is amazing… it’s a pound of their awesome homemade kielbasa and even more of their homemade sauerkraut, which is flavored with even MORE kielbasa. Or you could just get some to take home. Awesome on the grill.


  2. pixelchef says:

    Everything… yellow… the hole building looks like either dirty teeth, or cigarette-stained fingers. Neither of which I find at all appealing, unfortunately. Even if I think the food might actually be delicious and appetizing, if not drenched in light the colour of urine. Ewww. Sorry Jason, but I can’t get past it — what the hell is up with the lighting?

  3. Yea, I tried everything I could in GIMP and Picasa for Linux to fix the lighting on the photos, but everything was drenched in that yellow. The colors in the photos are realistic.

  4. […] NJ Dining: Pizza Town USA Click Here for Hi-Res Photo Slideshow! […]

  5. double 0 says:

    pixel chef
    Go for lunch, the yellow is gone. The slices make it worthwhile.

  6. Phonedave says:

    Oh my, PizzaTown USA. There used to be one on the corner of Hackensack Ave and Main St in River Edge (in the island) right across from the junk yard (which is gone now too) All thats there now is a vacant lot where they sell Christmas trees.

    Many a trip was made there for some fine pizza. It was almost a carbon copy; bad lighting, falling apart, unsanitary as all get out, and still we went. The pizza was THAT good.


  7. Jon says:

    I drove by around 8PM tonight. It wasn’t dark out yet, but from all the way across Route 46 you could easily see that yellow glow coming from the windows. Its weird.

    At first I thought maybe they coated the windows with yellow cellophane, but that. of course. makes no sense if Jason took his pictures at night, from inside the place. Its just yellow, that’s all.

  8. A&E says:

    put some a/c in the place ……. when you order a soda tell them …..easy on the ice……

  9. JerseyNOLA says:

    I remember the joint when it opened in 1958….. (does the pizza box still have the newspaper article from the Grand Opening printed on it ???? )

    I live in Louisianan now, and have not eaten there in close to 20 years, but I could still almost taste the pizza and calzone!

    Yellow Lighting? Dirty teeth? Cigarette stains? Sounds like the Jersey I knew way back when…..

    But actually, the yellow lights, back in the time, were supposed to keep bugs away….. with the meadowlands near -by, there was no shortage of them.

    I wished that there might have bee a way to cut down on the noise of the eighteen-wheelers downshifting to make it up the hill just yards away from where you were sitting, Pizza and diesel fumes…. (New Jersey…. it ain’t for wimps!)

    and not far from Rt 17 where Steve would sell you a sizzling steak,, or go for a tube steak all the way at late, lamented Fat Mikes (washed down with a Boylan’s Birch of course)

    Thanks for the pics! Now that the whole world knows what a calzone is, people look at me like a Martian when I tell them about the deep-fried ones.

  10. Jan the Former Bronxite says:

    Memories! Years ago when we lived in the Bronx, my parents & grandparents purchased a summer bungalow at Lake Hopatcong. In the days bofore Route 80, we always traveled Route 46 and my family ALWAYS stopped at Pizza Town on the way “up the country” for dinner. Our cars never had A/C so we always traveled late at night and no matter how late we started out, Pizza Town would always be open! Funny you mention the yellow lighting. I seem to remember hearing they did that to discourage flies (although there always seemed to be an ample supply! LOL) We would order a large pizza most of the time but occasionally we’d splurge with those delicious calzones and my grandmother always bought a bag of zeppole. I used to love fishing out the powdered sugar that collected at the bottom of the bag. Talk about belly bombers! But then, our digestive systems were a lot younger! sigh. Sadly, when Route 80 was finished and later when we moved out of the Bronx we no longer had need to travel Rte. 46. I told hubby when the weather gets nicer, we will make a pilgrimage to Pizza Town. I wonder if the pizza will taste the same without Mom, Dad and Grandma to share it with??

  11. stephen says:

    I’m a regular customer for over 20 years. Great food always consistent. Great atmosphere and customer service. To know them is to love them. They’re great people including the two women that all of you shouldn’t be bashing. As far s the yellow lights thats only during the summer to keep the flies out – so what are you talking about. Go in once and you’ll be a regular customer just like me. You don’t know what you’re missing!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Scott says:

    I’m born and raise in St. Louis, Missouri. However, my dad was born in Garfield, New Jersey. For vacation we would visit my Grandparents and my Dad always took us to Pizza town for slices and zeppoles. The Best Pizza in the World.

  13. kellie says:

    i grew up on this place .. coming to pick up some pies and calzones with my dad on friday nights. i still live in the area, but haven’t been there in a long time.

    as i was scrolling down your page, i was praying to myself ‘please show a calzone, please show a calzone’ and when i saw those lovely photos .. it was like giving a parched girl ice cold water.

    thank you. :)

  14. Jerry says:

    I returned after 40 years absence. We used to go all the time. I always loved it. What can I say? It was the same.

  15. howard says:

    hey! I yoused to work in da place in da summer of 69. nites, 4 daze a week. making that dough and the sauce. we could eat all da cold leftover slices we wanted. wot a trip ! if youse walk around to the back of the building and look up at the sign, you could most likely still see where we threw some rotten eggs at the sign in the middle of the night. they were still there about 8 years ago when I last visited. they never repainted that sign!
    best pizza, and sausage and peppers. calzones and zeppoles. I’m 3000 miles and 40 years away and still haven’t found a better pizza.

  16. Michael says:

    The tables, windows, oven and even the menu signs are the same as they were when I started going there in 1969. Since I now live in LI, I always make it a point to make the annoying detour to get there when I drive through NJ. The pizza is one of 5 best in country. Calzones are number one, and the zeppoles give you a reason to hold back on that 4th slice. They also did the toasted sandwich thing decades before the chains.

  17. Joe Marziano says:

    I remember the Pizza Town in Pompton Lakes in the 60’s. Guy never did know how to make a good Pizza, and in fact he used to come to my place, Royal Pizza in Riverdale for some good food. Those were the Good Days and Guy amd I always had loads of fun.

  18. John says:

    I remember back in the 80’s (The good old days) when I went to Pizza Town USA in Elmwood Park B.J. Now I live in Georgia. Not too many good Pizza places here. Theres a few that are good.

  19. JerseyNOLA says:

    Earlier this month, during a rare trip to NJ, stopped there for the first time in over 15 years…..

    The brother and I had 2 slices, they were so good that we went for a third….


  20. A classic Jersey pizza place complete with mice, roaches and nasty wops to insult you while you give them your business

  21. Sue Card says:

    I worked at the Pizza Town in Hackensack about 40 yrs ago…still have never found anyplace that came close to their pizza , subs, calzone or zeppole! What memories!

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