Daily Slice: Pepperoni Roll at Paterson, NJ's Center City Pizza
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Once-proud Paterson, founded as a center of industry by Alexander Hamilton, has admittedly seen better days. Its historic downtown buildings barely rate a glance from office workers and reluctant jurors grabbing a quick lunch in the shadow of the county courthouse—some of them headed to the slightly downtrodden Center City Mall, which is missing a few tenants for its retail spaces.
Center City Pizza, one of the three or four establishments making up the mall's "food court," doesn't look like much at first glance: a counter with the current slice and calzone offerings, a few sparsely populated tables. But it's a saving grace for the lunchtime crowd looking for something that really satisfies.
The slices are worth it—the grandma slice, with a crush of unadulterated tomatoes and a shatteringly crunchy crust, is a killer option—but the pepperoni roll ($5.95) gets my vote for best on-the-go lunch. Pepperoni makes up about half its body weight, then gets swathed in soft dough made fresh that morning, topped with a generous crunchy sprinkle of sesame seeds, and paired with a generous cup of house-made sauce for BYO dunking. The roll also passes the crucial taste test when eaten cold from the refrigerator the next morning.
Around the corner from the service counter, the space opens up to tall windows and more clean tables. Sit here, in the rear of the pizzeria, and take in the view of Paterson's historic courthouse and Flemish-inspired old post office, for a little bit of architectural appreciation with your slice.
Center City Pizza
About the author: Casey Barber is the editor of Good. Food. Stories., a freelance food writer, and a transplanted Pittsburgher making the most of the Garden State. Find her on Twitter: @GoodFoodStories