In the past, to acknowledge the appreciation of your reader/viewer support, they used to say, “keep those cards and letters coming.” In today’s terms, this translates to e-mails and comments on Facebook or WordPress. Nonetheless, reader support is a huge inspiration, and in the pizza business, a valued source of new leads. In my tenure as the Snob, no place has received more recommendations than Kinchley’s Tavern in Ramsey, NJ.
It took me awhile, but I knew that I’d get there sooner or later. So, on a recent late summer Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Pie, my Dad and I made the long journey north up Route 17, a road so miserably traffic-laden, that I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Eventually, we found this Jersey pizza mecca just a short right turn off of Hell’s highway.
Kinchley’s is a free-standing brick building that has stood since 1937 accompanied by a big fat parking lot. The obvious thing to question though is the purpose of the giant horse statue that sits atop stomping the giant “PIZZA” sign. This sadly remains unexplained along with an issue that I had with their pizza.
This place is as traditionally down-home as a Jersey pizza tavern could be. And in my true Jersey fashion, I had to instruct the Texas-born Mrs. Pie that it was pronounced “tav-ren” with the accent on the “r.” The wooden décor, checkered tabletops and model train motif inside made us all feel relaxed and welcome. Kinchley’s serves up a pretty full Italian menu and also takes reservations although we didn’t need ours on this late Saturday afternoon. No checks or credit cards, and they do takeaway.
We would naturally be ordering their legendary thin crust pie (two large plain cheese pies for $9.25 each), but first started with a superb giant Caesar salad and two luscious large meatballs as a side. Those protein babies were a forerunner to the delicious tomato sauce that would soon be topping our pizza. Dad even got a bottle of birch beer, another reminder we were in a Jersey tavern.
The pizzas were delivered on silver platters atop stands where they stood shining brilliantly. They were noticeably lush with oil that beautifully blended with the tomato sauce and Mozzarella cheese that oozed over and hid the end crust revealing only traces of char. Each small slice looked crisp and yummy. Though not cooked solid to a crisp, the slices stood firm when lifted.
Now this is where my mystery begins. We three hit this thing like a bat out of hell and were loving every bite. Just when I thought I had shown Mrs. Pie all the pizza should could stand in her lifetime, she was flinging superlatives right and left. Dad just kept eating. I was going pretty steady myself, totally lost in the delicious taste and crispness. Then something happened.
After several slices, my stomach quit on me and the thought of absorbing more of this oily pizza was no longer within me. I had had a similar experience at Jersey’s Star Tavern a few years earlier and honestly don’t know if it’s a case of too much oil or just the Snob’s weak stomach. I have survived many a greasy pie in my day, so it’s hard to claim this weakness although Mrs. Pie thought it was me.
So, there you have it. Potentially one of the best pizzas in the Pizza State and this is what happens. Still, I enjoyed my journey until I stopped eating, and certainly won’t be trying to steer anyone away from Kinchley’s. However, I am curious to hear what others might have to say about this. Is there a gastroenterologist in the house to help solve my dilemma?
PIZZA SNOB RATING **** Near Perfection
586 Franklin Turnpike
Ramsey, NJ 07446