On the heels of the honorable announcement that Star Tavern has been awarded the title of #2 Best Pizzeria in America voted by the American public themselves on The Daily Meal, it seemed only fitting that I would finally share my love for this restaurant.
My first visit to Star Tavern was just over four years ago. My fiancé had spent his early childhood years living in the next town over from this Orange, NJ establishment. He ranted and raved about “his” childhood pizzeria where post basketball game and family night dinners often occurred. For those of us in New Jersey or New York, I think it’s safe to say that we can all become very opinionated, and even dare I say prideful, when it comes to naming your favorite slice of pizza. I thought of my fiance’s claim of favoritism for Star Tavern as most likely just a case of childhood nostalgia. However; after finally sitting down to dinner there and taking my first bite my preconceived notions all went out the window. I was instantly jealous of the additional 20 or so years that my fiancé has had to gluttonously enjoy Star Tavern pizza.
Their pizza is paper thin and crispy. Growing up in central New Jersey near the shore, this is the type of pizza I was often used to. The style of pizza is what many people would consider a “bar pie”. I have had a hard time finding a North Jersey pizzeria in my area that I can really count on. It’s often too doughy, too chewy, or too thick (which in my mind thick pizza is only suitable for Sicilian style slices). The other taste factor that Star Tavern has perfected is it’s sauce. It’s not too sweet and it’s not too pasty. They even have the sauce to cheese ratio down to a “Tee”. There’s really nothing I can say that diminishes the spectacular feeling of eating a Star Tavern pizza. I’ve now been at least a half a dozen times and my cravings have only grown since my initiation. There are however; some important things you should know about this pizzeria before you enter its doors. First and foremost, expect no less than a 30 minute wait (Unless you get there at 5PM promptly!). On our last visit we made it there just before 5:30PM on a Friday. We managed to get seated after about 30 minutes. We were only the 4th table in line. Within a matter of minutes, the line circumvented the small pizzeria, weaving in and out of occupied tables and out through their front door. We counted upwards of 45 patrons waiting by the time we were seated! Grab a beer from the bar for your wait in line and settle in for the long haul.
Secondly, this is a casual family style restaurant and bar atmosphere. You’ll find original wood paneled walls, paper plates and napkins as your dining wear, and no frills service (That’s not to say everyone isn’t friendly). It’s fast paced. The restaurant wants you in and out to get that line moving!
Finally, remember what Star Tavern is known for. It is widely awarded for its pizza for a reason. Do they have other things on their menu, of course! But, why bother with those? I’ve yet to read an article that has proclaimed any accolades for their Italian dinners. Stick to the basics on your visit. I’ve ventured out to some appetizers and they’re good for a group. But, if it’s just a pair of you, I suggest saving all your room for the pizza! And if you’re wondering why I haven’t shared this restaurant in the past; I was trying to hold on to any last shred of secrecy this place had. But something tells me that after the NJMonthly award for best NJ pizza in 2015 and the Daily Meal giving it both the readers’ (#2 of 35) and writers’ choice (#82 of 100) in America, it had no shot left anyway! Maybe I’ll see you standing in that long line sometime soon…..
…all for the love of the dish!