Although an encyclopedia may be required to navigate through the “Who’s Who” of family members operating a disassociated empire of New Jersey pizzerias, it is safe to say that no one else, except maybe the Azzaro’s if your from that part of Trenton, has inherited an Old Fashioned Tomato Pie recipe quite as good as the DeLorenzo’s.
Established in 1936 by Italian immigrants in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, New Jersey, the DeLorenzo’s have been replicating their family specialty for three generations. Over the past seven decades they have acquired national attention for their old-fashioned Trenton Tomato Pies, attracting high profile patrons like Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio as well as achieving high remarks by New York Times food critics and People Magazine.
After years of success in several locations across New Jersey, the local dynasty has finally made the move across the Delaware to accommodate one of their most loyal customer bases. And, although both the Hamilton Avenue and Hudson Street descendants of Delo’s restauranteurs have announced proprietary rights in PA, DeLorenzo’s The Burg, owned and operated by third generation Pizzaiolo Tyler DeLorenzo of the Hamilton Avenue lineage, has set a precedent as the first stationary operation to successfully serve Bucks County residents without a trip across the river.
Commonly known as “The Burg”, the name pays homage to the family’s distinguished Chambersburg roots. The Burg officially opened its doors for business this past February in the Vermillion Hills Shopping Center on New Falls Road in Levittown, less than six miles from the Trenton-Morrisville Bridge. The space, formerly occupied by Scappa’s Brick Oven Trattoria, provided DeLorenzo with a qualified foundation and an opportunity he couldn’t ignore.
A nonconformist in the eyes of tradition, Tyler decided to feature an extended menu. In addition to the pizzas, salads, soups and desserts typically found on the menu at the Sloan Avenue location, he added a variety of pastas, sandwiches and appetizers. Pasta dishes are not included on the permanent menu yet, but, are served on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s each week for $20 a pound according to their Facebook page. Soft drinks, coffee and tea are also available to purchase and wine glasses are provided for those who prefer to BYOB.
Prices are appropriate and fall between $2- $17. Twenty-four toppings are available to add to any of the three sizes of Tomato Pies offered at $2 for a full and $1.50 for a half. Gourmet Pies are also offered in all three sizes and include house favorites like the Clam and Margherita.
The atmosphere is standard for casual Italian cuisine, however, it felt pleasant and welcoming with a variety of personal touches. Adorned with a signature bowtie, the staff was friendly and greeted customers as they approached the door. Black and white photos of family members and relevant NJ relics draped the walls, paying homage to the family’s humble beginnings. The space seems accommodating for both children and large groups. Booths and tables are available for dine-in service and counter top seats border the windows of the main lobby for those who want to grab a quick slice or wait around for their take-out.
I know it sounds cheesy, but, with so much history involved it simply made sense to take a traditional approach as a first time customer at this location and order a classic pizza and salad for take-out. Below is a critical breakdown of the order.
Order date: Friday, 10/6/17
Order time: 4:50pm
Wait time: 20 minutes
Pick-up time: 5:15pm
Return time: 5:30pm
The large Margherita Pie came out exactly as imagined. Placed in a typical carry-out cardboard pizza box, the pie was still hot and fresh when we arrived home. Their famous thin crust was a deep golden brown, with not as much char as I’d hoped, but, unlike many other brick oven pizza shops, the crust was consistent from the inside out, allowing for a nice firm hold and easy transition from the box to a plate. The sauce was sweet and robust with just enough chunks. The fresh mozzarella and chopped basil was scattered randomly on top and had melted nicely into the pie to create a full flavor profile. Grated cheese and seasoning was lightly sprinkled around for a simple finishing touch.
The menu does not itemize the ingredients they use to make the salad which caused some apprehension about what version of the Italian classic we were actually going to get. The salad was kept cold in an aluminum container and removed from refrigeration at the time of pick-up rather than being placed with the rest of the order. To the best of my knowledge, the ingredients included: Genoa salami, sliced provolone, shaved parmesan, grated romano, hard-boiled eggs, white onions, pepperoncini’s, black olives, roasted red peppers and grape tomatoes over crisp romaine hearts with a side of house Italian vinaigrette.
In conclusion, the new location stood strong against its illustrious reputation. I would strongly recommend against paying a toll to travel into NJ the next time you crave a taste of Delo’s pie. And even though it is not a part of their legacy, I look forward to going back one Wednesday or Sunday and trying a pasta dish while dining-in! Perfezionare!
Location: 8919 New Falls Road, Levittown, PA 19054
Hours: Like many traditional Italian restaurants, they are closed on Monday’s. Regular business hours are Sunday’s from 12pm-9pm, Friday’s and Saturday’s from 11am-12pm, and Tuesday’s through Thursday’s from 11am-9pm
Neighborhood and Parking: The Burg is in a primarily residential area near the Vermillion Hills and Thornridge sections of Levittown. Since it is in a shopping center with several other businesses, parking is not an issue. It is also less than a mile from Pennsbury High school making it a hot spot for teens to gather on weekdays. Baseball fields are also in close proximity to the store allowing for a nice place to celebrate after a tournament or a big win.
Extras and Events: In addition to The Burg, Tyler also operates DeLorenzo’s On the Go, an 18 ft mobile pizza kitchen. The truck serves 10 inch pies made to order with a variety of available toppings for weekend special events within a 50-mile radius. The trick is also equipped to produce salads, sandwiches and pasta.