Checking Out an Elite South Jersey Pizzeria

After a solid but unexceptional pizza experience earlier this week, I had long-standing lunch plans for Friday at a well-known pizzeria in South Jersey. The original Tacconelli’s Pizzeria, where I once ate many years ago, has long been regarded as being among the top pie purveyors in Philadelphia. In fact, for many years – before Philly’s pizza scene picked up considerably in the past decade or two – it was virtually unchallenged as the best. But they only serve dinner, and my two dining partners and I needed a lunch spot.

While browsing restaurants online a few month ago, I came across a second Tacconelli’s Pizzeria that I had been unaware of. It’s in Maple Shade Township, New Jersey, which is a short ride from Philly, and has been around for nearly 20 years. I’m surprised it wasn’t on my radar sooner. According to their web site, they are owned independently by family members who used to run the original. And while also being mainly a dinner spot, they serve lunch every Friday, which was perfect for our little lunch group. 

Tacconelli’s Pizzeria in Maple Shade Township, New Jersey

The restaurant is on Maple Shade’s Main Street and has a casual yet tasteful interior. We had a nice view of the pizza oven from our table.

The menu is fairly short and simple. They serve pizza, salads and a few pastas. There was also a special lunch sandwich that was basically a pizza grinder. 

I knew I was only having pizza and was surprised – though happily so – when my companions, Kamala and Helene, decided to share a pie with me rather than ordering anything separate. Tacconelli’s pizzas come in only one size, and it’s big enough for three people with our respective appetites. 

I noticed online that they will make a half-red (regular) and half-white pizza and ordered one of those with roasted red peppers on the white half.

Half-red (regular) and half-white with roasted red peppers.

Based on my memory and photos I’ve seen more recently, I don’t think there is much – if any at all – difference between the pizza at the two Tacconelli’s locations. Although they may be separately owned, I suspect they have the same pizza recipes that have been passed down through the generations within the family, as well as similar brick ovens.

This was top-notch pizza. The sauce and cheese were perfectly balanced on the red half and that sauce had a fantastic and slightly sweet flavor. It appeared that the chef spooned a little sauce on top of the cheese in addition to the layer beneath it – although those could have also been spots that simply didn’t get any cheese. The crust was also excellent with a nice bit of char, although it wasn’t sturdy enough to remain straight when I held a slice of the red. That was probably from the weight and moisture of the sauce, as the white slices had a firmer back-bone. 

It’s tough to say which half of the pizza I liked more. Tacconelli’s is known as much for their white pies with various vegetable toppings as they are for standard pies with sauce. They were both outstanding. 

It would be great to get back to the original location in Philly at some point for a more up-to-date comparison. Customers actually need to reserve their dough by stating how many pies their party will order when making reservations at the original. They also have a more casual and festive atmosphere if memory serves me. It’s a great place for larger groups.

At the Jersey spot where we ate today, there are no hoops to jump through. Just show up, get seated and order.

I doubt pizza lovers will be disappointed at either location.

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

2 thoughts on “Checking Out an Elite South Jersey Pizzeria

  1. Judging by the menu, Tacconelli’s makes their white pizza mostly by omitting the red sauce. Do any Philly pizzerias offer a bechamel/alfredo sauce?

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    1. Not as a standard white pie that I’m aware of. But some places mix in some ricotta with the Mozzarella. I prefer it without the ricotta – as you say, a standard pie minus the sauce. I will sometimes add a meat topping or egg to a white pizza.

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