Having met Al briefly at a canned-tomato tasting, I knew he was driven by his own curiosity and a desire to perfect his pizzas. I also suspected that any visit to Santillo's on my part would not be a short one. But, hey, I'm not complaining.
'Al Santillo Jr' on Serious Eats
The phone rings at Santillo's Brick Oven Pizza and Al Santillo Jr., third-generation bread-baker and pizza-maker, picks up. "Yeah? The usual? OK. How's your mother? OK. See you soon." Hidden down an alleyway between two houses in a sleepy section of Elizabeth, it's just the kind of place you'd expect that kind of exchange to happen. Santillo's is a certifiably old-school New Jersey pizzeria. Al says he's been working at Santillo's since he was 5 — he's now 54.