A while back, I read about some guy who had been to every single slice shop in Manhattan and offered his thoughts on each pizza slice. I thought that was pretty amazing. I credit this fellow with providing me with the inspiration to eat at, and subsequently rank, all of Hoboken's slice shops, which I've broken into four tiers. A couple of things before I start - (1) In no way am I trying to equate this list with what that guy did. (2) I only sampled "slice shops" - i.e., a place in which one can literally walk in, order a slice of pizza and leave. Thus, no full blown restaurants were included in this taste test, nor are Hoboken's artisinal/Neapolitan pizzerias such as Dozzino, Grimaldi's or Napoli's. There is also a pizzeria on 3rd and Jackson that went untested: it's a bit... shady over there, and I felt unsafe going there after work. Finally, I did not include convenient stores or delis that also moonlight as pizzerias. Other than the aforementioned exceptions, every pizzeria (I think) has been accounted for.
I also offer the following as a discussion point; not to offend or put down - particularly to the owners and pizzaiolos who had the balls to start a pizzeria in the first place. Your American and entrepreneurial spirit should be commended, even though your pizza, may suck.
Although I've been eating at various Hoboken slice shops for the last few years, I figured that in order to create the most accurate list possible, I needed to try all of them again within a condensed period of time so to fairly compare and contrast each slice. Thus, all of the below slice shops were sampled within once month of each other. In fact, I re-sampled the top 5 pizzerias on this ranking list more than once so to make sure of my eventual order. I've been eating a lot of pizza over the last month to say the least.
Now, without further ado, I present the JohnandElana Hoboken Pizza Rankings
THE PETER CAMARANO DIVISION - The Embarrassments
18. Famous Pizza
A newcomer to the Hoboken pizza scene. According to online sources, this pizzeria was some sort of unofficial spin off of the Artichoke Pizzerias in Manhattan and, as far as looks goes, there are definitely some similarities: the basil leaves, the grated parmesan that is semi melted, the crusty look of the slice, etc. But the similarities end there, as this pizza slice is borderline inedible. I'd probably go to Dominos before here. The cheese is bitter and overpowering, the crust is dry, and the sauce is basically non existent. Cost of Slice - 2.75. Overall score - 2/10.
17. Uptown Pizza
Overpriced yet undersauced, this triangle of tactlessness also features a dry crust and lifeless cheese. I'm not sure what the fuss is all about with this place. This slice's consistency is mediocre at best. Cost of Slice - 3.00. Overall score - 4/10.
Its store hours, delivery posture (until 4am on Saturday/Sunday mornings) and location are great. It's pizza? Pretty much the opposite. For 2.75, you get a crumbly, acidic, below average slice, with cheese tasting like that of the Ellio's frozen variety. But when your shitfaced, it's late as hell, and your jonesing for some 'za, you may be willing to forgive such imperfections. Overall score - 4/10.
I got the sense I was eating a day-old, dominos-esque slice. It's not very appetizing to look at either: puffy and cheaply cheesed, but it "eats" ok. It has a chewy, fluffy crust and decent tomato sauce. A slice costs 2.00. Overall Score - 5/10.
Another decent deal at 2.00 dollars, this thin, (overly) greasy slice has a nice "snap" to its consistency, but the crust gets crumbly at times. Sauce could also flex its muscles a bit more here. Overall Score - 5/10.
THE JOE PANTOLIANO DIVISION - The Respectable Performers
A hot mess of a slice - it's over cheesed and undercooked, but the sauce has a pleasing tomato tang. 2.25 per slice. Overall score - 5.5/10
12. Grande Pizza (and Wings to go)
Yet another pizzeria in which I got the sense that I was eating a day-old, or hours old slice, but it's not terrible. The sauce is flavorful and sweet, and the crust has a cushioned crustiness to it, all the way until the end. Overall Score - 6/10
11. Hudson Pizza
I suspect that Hudson Pizza may have assumed some of the pizza genetics of the now deceased operation that was Hoboken Pizza (which would have made a nice showing on this list if it was still in operation) as I could have sworn that I saw the owner from Hoboken at Hudson. And, indeed, the slice tastes similar: sweet tasting sauce, and a crusty but spongy crust. Towards the end of the slice, however, the slice gets a bit dry. 2.50 per slice. Overall Score - 6/10
Sets a good first impression with a good crackling snap, with soft insides. Nonetheless, it could use more sauce, and it's lacking a bit of taste in general. 2.50 per slice. Overall Score - 6/10.
Similar to Torna with it's fluffier consistency, but better. The crust, which is a bit like fresh focaccia, is a pleasure to eat. The sauce and cheese has good salt levels, but the slice in general lacks upper echelon chops. $2.00 per slice makes this a very good deal. Overall Score - 6/10
This handsome pizzeria is newer to the Hoboken scene, and it's a bit of a shame that Balbo's can't couple its handsome shop with a better slice. There is a good consistency and freshness here, but it's overly salted and missing tomato flavor. In August - when I sampled Balbo's - their slices were $1.00 (a monthly promotional special). Overall Score - 6/10.
THE ELI MANNING DIVISION - Maybe Not The Best, But Proven Winners
I have to say, Rome pizzeria did not do itself any first impression favors with its hilarious store front ornament seen above, but we're not here to critique appearances, and Rome serves up an above average slice for sure. It's ingredients are applied lightly, but it's high on taste, consistency and with just the right amount of oil. Towards the end, the slice gets a tad dry however. 2.75 per slice. Overall Score - 7/10.
6. Benny Tudino's
This slice, even at $3.00 per, is a great value: it is, indeed, "home of the largest slice" in Hoboken. But it's size may be its most memorable feature. It's still an above average slice - the cheese and crust are crispy and fresh, but like many of the slices on this list, it gets a bit dry towards its end. Overall Score - 7/10.
5. Seven Stars
Another monster of a slice (this one costs 2.75) features a nice golden brown creme brulee-like toasted crust on its cheese, good tomato flavor, and a foldable consistency without being too floppy. Still, it's not mind blowingly flavorful and suffers a tad from moisture-less crust. Overall Score - 7/10
4. H & S Giovanni
For $3.00, this slice could arguably have the best consistency in town. The crust - simultaneously delicate, yet substantial - maintains this peaceful coexistence of extremes all the way through the slice. It's finely crafted, even if it's missing a little bit of punch overall. Overall Score - 7/10
THE FRANK SINATRA DIVISION - The Top of the Heap
Putting Basile's in the Frank Sinatra division is not easy for me personally, as there are many aspects about this place that I dislike - mainly, when I'm stumbling back from the Path train to my apartment in the wee hours, this centrally located pizzeria collects some maniacal degenerates, idiots, and Jersey Shore wannabes. Also, the staff can be a bit rude or out to lunch. Nonetheless, Basile's makes a very quality slice; its thin, crunchy, cornmeal covered crust is delicious, satisfying, and evenly cooked. It features a fresh, sweet tasting tomato sauce, and lightly applied cheese. Cost of Slice 2.50. Overall Score - 7.5/10
2. Fillippo's on First
I could be biased on this one, as I've been eating these slices (with unwavering satisfaction) since Mike and the Maddog were still together. But, personal biases aside, this is a very good slice. For $2.50, you'll get a larger than average slice with a wonderful, sweet tomato sauce. Its crust has great snap, but is also forgiving and fresh, with a perfect amount of cushion. The cheesy top layer is often toasted to a golden crisp. Overall Score - 8/10.
1. Pizza Republic
You heard that right, Pizza Republic is the best slice of pizza in Hoboken. It fashions itself as a "gourmet family eatery" and, if the pizza is an indication as to the rest of its food, it very well may be. I'll be honest, I was skeptical of this place owing to its name, but any doubts were quickly dismissed after a few bites. Why is this slice the best? Because, quite simply, the crust, cheese, and sauce each make their wonderful presence known without overshadowing one another. The crust maintains its fresh and elastic nature all the way through and its cheese is fresh and not overly applied. The sauce is also prominently featured, mouthwatering, and even a bit seasoned. Cost of slice is $2.75. Overall Score - 8/10.
Fellow Hobokenites, feel free to comment on this list with thoughts and favorites of your own! We're interested to know what you have to say. Hope you enjoyed this list.