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. In short, a dozen Pizza Wars sponsors will make a monetary donation to LHF for each vote cast on behalf of your favorite pizza place around the lake. Since I take voting very seriously – even for favorite foods – I couldn’t very well cast a ballot for one of the 10 participating eateries without having tried their fare.
So, 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.
Monday, Jan. 16
Day One featured one pizza place that has been in business a little more than 30 years, and another that opened a little more than 30 days ago. Salʼs Pizzeria and Restaurant has been around since the Reagan Administration and they offer 10 specialty pies, including “Baked Ziti, ($15)” and “Steak & Cheese ($17.50).” They also sling plain slices for an affordable $1.80 for a round and $1.90 for a Sicilian, so I tried one of each.
Hey, with 10 pizza places to patronize, buying whole pies might keep me from making my February rent. The LHF would probably rather just have me make a $150 donation, right?
Salʼs slices are as classic as Reaganʼs 1940 “Knute Rockne All American” flick, and as straightforward but satisfying as a quarterback sneak for a winning TD. A follow-up visit will probably tempt me to try a Hawaiian Sicilian from the specialty list. Think of it as a marriage between Keanu Reeves and Liza Minnelli. On second thought, donʼt. Anyway, Salʼs has enjoyed three decades in business for a reason—solid, sleeves-rolled-up pizza.
Knot Just Pizza took over the former Parma Johnʼs Pizzeria in Hopatcong just last month. I met the owners, Tina and her boyfriend Mike, who met coincidentally when they worked at Parma Johnʼs as teenagers. Knot Just Pizza offers more than a dozen specialty pies of their own ($15.50 to $18.75), as well as regular and Sicilian options, but they often serve up surprises. On the day of my visit, some kitchen creativity yielded a yet-to-be-named, sweat-inducing pie that featured fresh jalapeño and cherry peppers, sriracha and flaked red pepper. I suggested “Bonfire” for a name, but Tina was leaning toward “Five-Alarm Fire.” You get the point. One slice a day and I could probably save a bundle on heating oil. I also tried a slice of Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza, which has become an early favorite at Knot Just Pizza with good reason. It’s $3.50 for specialty slices; expect huge ones with sturdy crusts.
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!