Route 440, referred to as the “back highway,” is a four-lane stretch of road running alongside Newark Bay from the end of Bayonne through most of Jersey City. It features an ever changing flow of retail establishments. Stadium Pizza is on the bayside near the Danforth Avenue in Stadium Plaza. Although their menu displays an image of the ancient Roman Coliseum, the “stadium” referenced by both the center and restaurant is the late Roosevelt Stadium.
Roosevelt Stadium which once stood nearby was a historic place where Jackie Robinson famously first broke the color barrier in baseball’s minor leagues in a game against the old Jersey City Giants. In the late Seventies before its demise, the dilapidated old place was where we watched high school football games and big-time rock concerts. (One memorable show there was Crosby, Stills Nash and Young on the night Nixon resigned.) Its parking lot was a place where couples “parked” and where you took your drivers’ test. But today in place of these memories stands a housing development called Society Hill.
Now that I’ve gotten all nostalgic and cleared that up, we can talk about pizza. Stadium Pizza sits on the end of a row shops anchored by a Pathmark supermarket. This generic joint’s menu includes everything you’d expect with classic New York-style pizza serving as its main calling card. There’s a walk-up counter and casual seating (Formica booths and tables) in the front and a fancier dining room with wooden tables and chairs in the rear.
There was a busy weekday lunchtime crowd there when I arrived including a police car parked out front. I took that as a good sign since local cops know all the good places to eat! My plan was to take something home for the folks after first grabbing two slices while I waited. I sheepishly asked the gal at the counter how the pie was as I placed my order. She gingerly told me “Oh, it is good!” Some slices were sitting out there waiting for me, and for two bucks a pop they fired them up for me in their twin conventional pizza oven.
The gal was right—Stadium’s pie hit a home run out-of-the-park! The slices were perfect in terms of construction. Text book correct. The tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and olive oil were all delicious, fresh and tasty, topped with a pleasant seasoning of oregano. A little drippy with oil and majorly hot, my first slice became a bit of a battle with cheese slippage and minor damage to the roof of my mouth. After I let things cool down a bit, I was able to control my second slice much better.
These slices are just about as good as you can get. I left a truly happy man with the roof-of my mouth scalded just enough to remind for the rest of the day about the great pizza lunch I had in Jersey City.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
321 New Jersey 440
Jersey City, NJ 07305