When it comes to local eats, Northern New Jersey is a real slice of life


There aren’t a lot of things you can count on these days. Luckily, for those of us living in suburban NJ communities like the townships of Maplewood, South Orange, and West Orange and surrounding towns, great pizza is something that we consistently expect and can get around here. 


It’s not easy to settle on a favorite, but we do find ourselves landing at a few places more often than others. We also take a lot of pride in knowing that these places are what help make up the communities in which our clients live, work, and raise families. Local eateries, almost as much as schools, parks, and proximity to work, are often a critical part of a homebuyer’s decision-making process and help create that special sense of place that makes each town special. After all, if you’re not factoring in local pizza joints, how serious are you really about buying? Here are some of our favorites:


Village Trattoria

With locations in South Orange, Maplewood, and Summit, there’s no escaping the pull of this classic New Jersey Italian restaurant. Yes, you can find a number of traditional pasta dishes, but this place can deliver some pizza. Best for families and groups with a wide variety of tastes and even diet restrictions, Village Trattoria has a multitude of options, including whole wheat and gluten-free crusts. Can’t decide? Get the Sicillian with pepperoni or the chicken parm slice. 


Roman Gourmet

Some traditionalists may scoff at a few of the options at this Maplewood favorite (Mac & Cheese Pizza, Baked Ziti Slice) but as the adage goes, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Keep in mind that pizza was created as an affordable, flatbread-based way for poor families to leverage small gardens and the goods of local farmers. Its origins are complicated and varied, so make it, and eat it, however you like. We got your back. 



This Jersey City restaurant has had its fair share of well-deserved media attention, mainly because it makes making pizza an art form. When they say, “we aspire to the Italian way of cooking and eating, where location and seasonality dictate your ingredients,” know that it’s not merely marketing speak. Owner and chef Dan Richer was a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semi-finalist in 2011, and started his first eatery in nearby Maplewood. 



Maplewood’s answer to artisanal pizza focuses on local ingredients and creating specialities based on the regional growing season. When you want something unique, maybe even sweet, try the Maple Bacon pizza; or, simplify things with a Bosco, a stripped-down mushroom option on which no ingredient can hide, meaning they have to be fresh. Arturo’s sandwiches and pasta are great lunch options, too.



One of South Orange’s most famous restaurants, Reservoir made it on the long-running and highly popular “one-bite pizza review” YouTube series by Barstool Sports. (Note: we didn’t link to the video, as it’s not-safe-for-work) Needless to say, it was a hit. It’s authentic, it’s medium-crust, and it has just the right amount of surface grease to know it was made when you ordered it.  The meatball pie is amazing.Try Tony’s salad too. It’s like an Italian sub on a plate.


Star Tavern 

If you’re going to put “world famous pizza” in your logo, you better be able to back it up. And of course, they do. Consistently rated above many others by those in the know, Orange’s Star Tavern is as small-town as a place with “tavern” in its name can be. Old wooden tables. Low, tile ceilings. Neon lights. And a pizza crust thin enough to fold into your shirt pocket. This is what’s meant by “bar pizza.” If you can beat the locals to a stool, belly up to the 65-year-old bar and order a “regular,” a light beer, and a stack of napkins. You’re going to need them.  


SQR Artisan Pizza

Big. Square. Slices. This unique Summit restaurant serves up an array of options in half or full-sheets. They make Margherita slices fresh every day, offer a Detroit-style pizza, and love to pile on the veggies. Its signature dish is theTomato Pie, a simple, two-cheese take on authentic Italian street pizza. But, don’t sleep on the Goat Cheese or Burrata pies. Thick or thin crust?  You can find a slice to suit every taste here to sustain you while shopping in downtown Summit.



Named by nj.com as one of the Garden State’s 25 Best Pizzerias, Millburn’s Fiamma uses its wood-fired oven to cook up its own Tomato Pie speciality, a Vodka Pie, multiple white options, and a number of other perfectly-cooked, artfully created pizzas. To narrow it down, start with a Sorrentina, LoBello, or the Original Wood-Fired Tomato Pie. 


If you’re looking to tour the state to put our list to the test, this travel website offers a great starting point. Let us know how we did. 


And bring us back a slice, won’t you?


Wondering about what’s happening in the changing market? Email Allison at [email protected] to set up a time to chat about real estate and maybe pizza too. 

The Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group is a top producing real estate team based at Compass in Short Hills, NJ. We are local market experts, specializing in real estate and homes in Maplewood, South Orange, Millburn/Short Hills, Montclair, West Orange, NJ and the surrounding towns. We are driven by earning great testimonials and referral business from happy clients. You can read our testimonials here.