By Bill Woolley
As a newcomer to the area and a supporter of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, I was eager to enlist in the current Pizza Wars fundraising effort. Motivated by a strong sense of fairness and a deep desire to become an informed voter (and maybe a mild mozzarella addiction), I set out to sample slices from all 10 participating pizzerias over the course of one week.
Thursday, January 19
Day Four of the Pizza Wars quest saw heated engagements in ovens to the south and west. In Landing, a crusty campaign was being waged by Cambiotti’s Tomato Pie Café when I arrived shortly after noon. Their pie presidio was established in 2000 at the southernmost reach of Lake Hopatcong. The extensive menu features eight Classic Pies and seven Gourmet Pies, each in 10-, 14- and 16-inch sizes, as well as a 12-inch square deep dish option. Borrowing a baseball term, Cambiotti’s brings the “high cheese” with it’s Quattro Formaggio Classic that pitches mozzarella, asiago, cheddar and Grana Padano, the latter of which is similar to parmesan.
On the Gourmet Pie side, I’ll be eager to try the Spinach Dip, with caramelized onions, ricotta, spinach, artichokes, mozzarella and asiago someday. On this day, though, I wanted to get back to basics with a thin-crust slice of plain ($1.99) and a slice of pepperoni (30 cents per additional topping). Those were the simple choices I always made when growing up in Morristown, so Cambiotti’s tasted very much like home.
Later, three miles up the west side of the lake, The Grotto was fortifying its own position in the Pizza Wars. I met Todd, who started working there in 1994 and bought the place five years later.
The Grotto, he informed me, was established in 1968, making it the elder statesman of pizzerias in the area. The walls are filled with old photos of Hopatcong buildings, collected from the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, but none of them featured The Grotto’s building.
Let me make a quick plea on Todd’s behalf. If you know of any 1960s era, or earlier, photos that include The Grotto or whatever preceded it at that location, please pass them along!
Todd was very personable and took care of me with a slice of meatball pizza and a slice with ham and pineapple, both of which earned a salute with a tab of $4.50. The menu declares The Grotto features “good food, good people, good prices,” and you’re not going to hear any argument from me.
I have only two more battle zones to visit. Remember to support the Lake Hopatcong Foundation by casting your votes for your favorite participating Pizza Wars pizzeria by the end of the month!
Participating Pizza Places
|Cambiotti’s Tomato Pie Café||102 Shippenport Rd||Landing|
|Frank’s Pizza||181 Howard Blvd # H||Mt Arlington|
|Frank’s Pizza||50 Hopatchung Rd||Hopatcong|
|Frank’s Pizza||725 NJ-15||Lake Hopatcong|
|Grotto Restaurant||454 River Styx Rd||Hopatcong|
|Joey’s Pizzeria||47 Hopatchung Rd||Hopatcong|
|Knot Just Pizza||49 Lakeside Blvd||Hopatcong|
|Little Nicki’s Italian Restaurant||120 Brady Rd||Lake Hopatcong|
|Sal’s Pizza & Restaurant||175 Lakeside Blvd # 7||Landing|
|Vinnie & Son Restaurant||312 Howard Blvd||Mt Arlington|
|– and –||215 Espanong Rd #312||Mt Arlington|
A HUGE thank you to Hopatcong Lake Regional News and all of the Pizza Wars sponsors!