Well, my backlog of pizza joints to pontificate upon hasn’t gotten sufficient attention during this COVID-19 mess. Knowing that some places might be closed and that their future existence could be in jeopardy were not pleasant thoughts. There was also my Dad’s passing from the virus in a Jersey nursing home that made me not want to think too much about the Pizza State. But time has rolled on, and I faithfully believe that we will all someday see brighter days.
So, back to this pizza snob business. On my last trip home a few months ago, I found new place with good Yelp ratings that was between my points of travel from the nursing home to my childhood home. (The latter by the way should be sold in just a few days which has brought more sadness into my life!)
The target of this late weekday lunch would be Florio’s Restaurant & Pizzeria which occupies a doublewide berth in a small strip center near what looks to be a commercial zone full of tall office buildings. Living up to its name, the left side of Florio’s room is as typical looking a Jersey pizza joint that you will find while the other side is more of your sit-down Italian restaurant.
Empty at this odd hour, I had the pizzeria side of the place all to myself. My counter scanning led me to double down and order a yummy-looking Grandma square to accompany my customary plain cheese (“PC”) slice. Funny how the PCs are rarely on display and are usually stored down below somewhere. As for the Grandma, I shamelessly requested and was honored with a double crust-ended corner piece.
The requisite reheat of my slices took as long as a three-minute egg. My instant reactions upon their delivery were that the PC was sorta small and overly white in color. My senses were also struck by the garlic aroma emanating from the Grandma.
Getting down to business, the PC tasted far better than it looked. The crust carried a good crispy crunch all the way through from tip to end. The Mozzarella cheese however was fluffier and applied heavier than I generally prefer, but in the end, I found its good taste quite satisfying. Overall, the PC was OK – no frills or fanciness about it and it was on par with a good Jersey slice. A little less cheese and some more Jersey gravy and I would have perhaps taken my rating up a notch.
Now on to that gorgeous Grandma. Man, did it rock! Ultra-thin, this baby had two good solid and crunchy end crusts and that tasty garlic made it quite yummy. It was lean and mean, and I could have easily found room for another!
I also had a chicken Caesar salad which led me to believe that Florio’s is likely a pretty decent Italian restaurant. If I were you (and if you lived near Iselin) I’d check it out from that aspect, but I wouldn’t label it as a destination place if all you were looking for was a PC slice. On the other hand you might go there just for the Grandma!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***1/2 Working on a Good Thing
Florio’s Restaurant & Pizzeria
37 Gill Lane
Iselin, NJ 08830