Behind the scenes with an eccentric pizza master and his legendary little N.J. shop

Sep 27, 2019 224

BY: Jeremy Schneider

The ancient brick oven looms like an incinerator, occupying most of the claustrophobic kitchen. Pizza worshippers have told tales of this monolithic wall of clay and steel. For more than 60 years, it’s baked many of the most deliciously distinctive Sicilian, pan and tomato pies prepared in New Jersey — and if your pizza is the best here, it’s the best anywhere, full stop.

The oven is “a gift from the gods,” says Al Santillo, keeper of the legendary kiln and owner of vaunted Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza on Broad Street in Elizabeth — a mecca of mozzarella, semolina and San Marzanos hiding just a half-mile off Exit 13 on the Turnpike. Santillo’s has slung pies and bread in the city for more than 100 years, and the little shop has changed only marginally over the last half-century.

Read more


You may be interested