New Jersey's Santillo's Serves a Timeline of Pizza History


Santillo's is tucked away down a passage between two houses in Elizabeth, New Jersey. [Photograph:]

GQ's Alan Richman last week wrote an entertaining, makes-you-wanna-go-there-right-away piece about Santillo's Brick Oven Pizza in Elizabeth, New Jersey:

I asked Lorraine [Santillo] which pizza she preferred, and she recommended a 1957/'64. Allow me to explain. A lot of the specialty pies are named for the years in which they were conceived, starting with the 1940, which is a plain tomato pie without cheese. The 1957/'64 is the 1957 crust (extra thin) with the 1964 toppings (mozzarella, parmesan, olive oil). It was wonderful, but I preferred Al's standard crust, especially when left in the oven a little longer than usual for added crispness. Al loves playing with crusts, sometimes leaving them in the steel pans until done, sometimes sliding them onto the bottom of the brick oven, sometimes cooking them a little less, sometimes a little more. If you're taking your pie home (or to Vasco Da Gama), he will cook them a little longer so the steam that saturates the box doesn't make the pies soggy. Al thinks creatively and intensely about pizza, the same way da Vinci thought about paint.

Yes, Al Santillo, third-generation pizza man at Santillo's, makes pizzas according to decade at Santillo's. So you could conceivably go there and order an evolutionary timeline of pizza — or at least pizza the way they made it at Santillo's.

[Thanks to jguzzi68 for the nudge]