The Pizza Snob’s alter-ego, Music City Mike, was on his way to do what he likes to do best—see live music. My destination as my alter-ego, Music City Mike was to the Outpost in the Burbs concert series in Montclair, NJ, to see Willie Nile. As always, The Pizza Snob was also in the mix setting his sights on a pre-show stop at Villa Victoria Pizzeria. Although I found some good things said about this joint on the web, I never expected to find such a pizza treasure in suburban Jersey.
Montclair sits about 20 miles west of Manhattan on the better side of Newark. Villa Victoria sits on a small side street just off the main commercial drag, Bloomfield Avenue. Parking in downtown Montclair just after rush hour is dear; however, I got lucky and found a spot in the small free lot alongside the place. On my way inside, I took my usual storefront photo and noticed that I startled one of the gentlemen sitting inside at the window eating a slice.
Villa Victoria is tiny. It has only a handful of seats along a counter at the front window and along the sides. There is a walk-up counter with a visible and bustling kitchen behind it. Coming upon a place this tiny and busy, I just knew it had to be good.
While there were plenty of people like me that were there just for a slice, the kitchen was quite busy filling to-go and delivery orders from their rather complete Italian menu. I ordered a plain cheese slice ($2.35) at the counter which they immediately put back in the oven to toast up for me. I then took it to a counter seat facing the window. My pizza sensors eagerly alerted me that I was about to get into something really good.
The first thing I noticed about this perfect-looking slice was that it was slightly larger than usual, an added bonus to the great experience about to come. My first bite revealed how fresh and zesty it tasted. This hot, enticing slice of perfect proportion was pleasantly dosed with flavorful spicing. I next gave praise to each of its components: the cheese, sauce and oil which were all flawless. My slice was cooked crisp and toasty–beautifully browned on the bottom–allowing me to execute a classic Fold and Rip. Wow! It was really hard for me not to have another slice, but time just didn’t permit.
As I was leaving, the young gentleman who saw me taking photos surprisingly approached and asked me if I was trailing him on behalf of his ex-wife. Even after ID-ing myself with my business card as The Pizza Snob, I somehow thought he still didn’t believe me. I doubt that she’ll ever see this, but his ex should take solace in the fact that he has excellent taste in pizza!
Being just a tiny, cramped hole-in-the wall, Villa Victoria may not be worth a special journey into the heart of Jersey. But, if you are ever in the area, it is one perfect slice of pizza that should not be missed!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
Villa Victoria Pizzeria
11 Park Street Montclair, NJ 07042