Review from the "Trenton Times" September 20, 2013, by Susan Sprague Yeske:
Since Papa’s Tomato Pies opened at its new Robbinsville location, it has been packed most evenings, often with customers the owner hadn’t seen in years.
“People love it,” Nick Azzaro says of the new location, which opened a month ago after more than a century on Chambers Street in Trenton.
Papa’s claims the title of the oldest continuously operating pizzeria in the United States, having been founded by Azzaro’s grandfather, Joe Papa, in 1912. The new location is more spacious than the old, and you can watch the pie makers at work through a window to the kitchen. But what hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm of Azzaro and his staff, and, of course, his tomato pies.
While Azzaro learned pizza making from his father and grandfather, he does not say that his tomato pies are exactly the same as theirs. He recalls when his grandmother would can tomatoes in the summer for his grandfather to use on his pizza. Those days are gone, and over the years he has made his own choices when it comes to ingredients and recipes.
Mercer County residents are no stranger to great pizza. Good quality pies can be found in every community, and many people have their special favorites. But there are some restaurants that are considered standard-bearers for the traditional Trenton-style tomato pie, and Papa’s is among them.
We ordered a small tomato pie, $12, thinking it would be a good starter. But it wound up being the last item delivered to our table, so in the meantime our server brought our bowl of pasta e fagioli, $3; an antipasto, $4.50; a steak sandwich, $6; spaghetti and meatballs, $12; and the night’s special, chicken parmigiana, $10.
Pasta e fagioli is a staple in Italian restaurants, and I have yet to find one I haven’t liked. Papa’s version is different, as are they all, with noodles outnumbering the beans (at least in our cup) and a chicken-based broth. It was much like a very good bowl of chicken noodle soup, and will no doubt be highly sought after as the colder months arrive.
The antipasto was crunchy and fresh with tomatoes, peppers, meat and cheese over crisp lettuce dressed in oil and just a hint of vinegar.
The steak sandwich was traditional, served on a good roll, while the moist meatballs were much like you might make at home. The chicken parmigiana was hearty and filling with a large chicken breast battered and fried, set on a bed of rigatoni and covered in tomato sauce.
Everything we ordered was quite satisfying, but the pizza was the best part of the meal. Hot with tiny bits of charring on the crust, it came with more cheese than you find on most Trenton-style pies, crushed tomatoes and a light, flavorful crust. We ordered sausage on half, and that was good too.
There is no dessert served at Papa’s, but you really don’t need it. It’s the pizza that makes it worth the wait for a table and the wait for the pie to arrive.
True pizza connoisseurs enjoy trying pies at different locations, and are able to appreciate the subtle differences from one pizzeria to the next. For old-fashioned pizza with plenty of flavor, Papa’s more than holds its own in a crowded field of top-shelf New Jersey pizzas. If Azzaro has anything to say about it, it will for some time to come.
Papa's was featured in the January 2010 issue of "New Jersey Monthly", in their special "Pizza Issue"!
To read more about Papa's official status as the oldest continuously-owned pizza resaturant in the USA, visit our "The Oldest!" web page, with links articles by the New York Times, National Public Radio and other authorities!
Some of the best reviews, though, are on the Papa's Facebook page, from happy customers. Some people describe the experience in words, but others find it more descriptive to just post photos of their pizza!
Become a Fan of Papa's on Facebook!
A review of Papa's on the "Hidden Trenton" web site, it made "Editor's Pick for Best Tomato Pie"!
Pizza blogger Ed Tseng gives Papa's a 9.5 in this video review and tour of the restaurant:
PART OF A REVIEW ABOUT PIZZA PLACES IN TRENTON by "SLICE AMERICA", May 2007: