I order from Renato’s Pizza Masters in the Heights about every other week. I eat dinner around 10pm (or later), and this place delivers late and quickly.
The funny thing is, I’ve only had pizza here three times. It’s perfectly delicious, don’t get me wrong, but my obsession lies with the fresh calamari salad. I’m apprehensive about buying seafood around here, but PM must get their squid from a great vendor, because this salad always was, and continues to be, magnificent.
This past winter I started ordering soup from there, which is addictive. Pasta faglioli is my fave, but escarole and navy beans a close second.
When you want a really comforting treat-myself meal, get the chicken boscaiola, with portobello mushrooms, prosciutto, shallots, brandy, garlic, and a touch of cream.
I also jones the spicy waffle friesall of the time.
What not to get: I’ve ordered zuppida clams. The broth is spot-on, but they always send mussels, which makes me sad. If you like mussels, OK. The caesar salad is over dressed which wilts the lettuce—or the lettuce is wilted anyway, I can’t tell.
All the parm sandwiches are standard, as are the mozzarella sticks, garlic knots, garlic bread with cheese and cold antipasto salad.
Anthony “Rich” De Marchi who currently heads the business alongside his sons Mark and Lorenzo, says the success of the restaurant can be summed up in three words “Quality, Service, and Price. In that order. If you don’t have the quality, you have nothing,” explained Rich. “We started in 1959 so we must be doing something right.”
The thing that many people don’t know about Renato’s, if they’re just walking down Central Avenue, is that it’s not just a pizza joint, which is what it looks like from the street and when you walk in. They have a separate entrance on Cambridge Ave. (with a parking lot) that houses a dimly-lit, fancier back room with a full bar and restaurant service. Totally different feel.
But best of all, over the years Renato’s Restaurant has sponsored numerous little league teams, donated to Jersey City causes, gotten involved with local church functions (i.e. St. Joseph’s, St. Anne’s, and St. Nicholas) and organizations like The Dante Alighieri Society and Police Benevolent Association.
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