It was a pretty fall day as I strolled down 8th Street in Jersey City on my way to Carmine’s Pizza Factory. Lo and behold, I spotted Christo’s Deli & Pizzeria on the other side of the street just two blocks before my destination. My interest in adding another joint to my day’s work quickly waned after reviewing its storefront advertising. Christo’s offerings made it sound like a full-service corner deli grocery store that also happened to sell pizza. So, following my unwritten rule of only covering joints where pizza is a specialty, I decided to give it a pass.
But! Something happened on my return trip from Carmine’s that made me change my mind. By this time, the local area students (St. Anthony’s High School I believe) were out for lunch. I spotted several hanging around outside the place eating awfully big slices of pizza! They looked pretty good so I thought I’d give what Christo’s bills as “The Largest Slice in Town” a try.
When I walked through the door my eyes lit up: It was pizza time at the grocery store! There inside this typical stuffed-shelf corner store they were fully geared up for school lunch time. Atop what would normally be the checkout counter were four different types of giant pizzas (plus some Sicilian slabs) cut into slices laid in pans across a slab of granite. I ordered a big cheese slice which was a fab bargain for only $2.00 cash including Governor Christie’s cut. With nowhere to sit inside, I took mine for a walk back to my car while many of the students ate theirs around the corner leaning against the building.
The slice sure was bigger than usual–somewhere between a regular slice and the colossal one from nearby Benny Tudino’s in Hoboken. My pre-assessment of my slice was that it would not be very hot since it was sitting out on the counter and did not get a reheat. It also looked a little thicker than standard, but otherwise it had a nice classic look and a good cheese melt.
As soon as I folded it, I found that the crust was heavy on the dough. Likewise my first bite confirmed my other suspicion that it would not be hot enough for my liking. As I continued to eat, I found that the dough also lacked any real crispness. Although somewhat plain tasting, the cheese and sauce on top were in the right mix and were quite tasty. Christo’s slice had a better top than bottom.
Despite its shortcomings, the fresh and tasty ingredients in Christo’s large slice can satisfy your pizza urge and fill you up at the same time. Thumbs up to these guys for offering a great, quick bargain lunch for the local students. Good pizza at a great price—who could ask for more? But, with Carmine’s offering a better slice just two blocks away, I doubt I’d ever return to Christo’s.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
Christo’s Deli & Pizzeria
301 8th Street (corner of Coles Street)
Jersey City, NJ 07302
FYI the students are from McNair Academic, one of the best high schools in the nation. St. Anthony High School students would have worn uniforms and look dumber.