Hungry? Take a hike on the New Jersey Pizza Trail – NJBIZ
No matter how you slice it, here’s one experience that has New Jersey written all over this.
As part of an ongoing effort to promote the state’s culinary scene, the Nj-new jersey Division of Travel and Tourism recently launched the handy guide to help visitors and locals discover some of the best pizza joints around the Garden State.
With an estimated 2, 000 pizzerias in the state, specializing within everything from tomato pies to brick-oven Sicilian pies in order to thin crust tavern style to deep dish slices, there’s no better place to start – plus end – the search for the perfect slice.
New Jersey’s reputation for tasty pizza is already well established, with local spots around the condition frequently earning accolades from publications like Thrillist and NJ Monthly.
On the particular heels associated with the Garden State being crowned as the best pizza state in the U. S. by Food + Wine magazine in April 2021, the state’s travel plus tourism division wanted to celebrate the achievement.
For the first-ever New Shirt Pizza Path, the state said it compiled a list of 10 must-eat destinations based on fanfare from customers, community members and site visitors. And, after debuting the particular trail over the summer, the team updated it for the fall in order to coincide with the begin of National Pizza Month in October.
“We within the Backyard State know that our Jersey Fresh grown tomatoes – pizza’s key ingredient – location us among one of the best states within the whole country in which to celebrate a tomato pie, ” said Jeff Vasser, executive director of the state Division of Travel and Tourism.
“No issue where a person may roam in the Garden State, these top 10 french fries establishments will greet you with a delicious Jersey New slice, along with the particular warm hospitality which has made each restaurant a fan favorite, ” he stated.
Matt Verney was thrilled when he discovered that his shop, The Original Thin Crust Pizza Co. , made the cut. Located in East Brunswick, the pizzeria serves up hard-to-find, super-thin crust pan-baked pizza produced from a 75-year-old family recipe. Verney has also created some specialty pies, different from anything else in New Jersey’s pizza-scape, like the Hombre lasagna (mozzarella, onions, banana peppers, bacon, hot sauce and Asiago cheese) and the seriously spicy pizza called Jump within the Fire.
“It’s humbling to be on a very short list, relative to nachos places in New Hat, of destination dining, ” he mentioned. “There are some big names on the list as far as New Jersey pizza is concerned: Delo’s, Calabria, Federici’s. To become lumped in with them is something special. ”
For Michael Federici, a third-generation owner of Federici’s Family Restaurant in Freehold, being named a stop around the trail is “a great honor. ”
“We’ve been in business for 100 years, but have only been doing pizza for 75 years, so we’re really humbled by this, ” this individual said. “I always knew we had an incredible product, but sometimes getting the word out will be not always easy. We’re still pretty old fashioned here plus just rely on word associated with mouth. Something like this helps! ”
The particular New Shirt Food Tour Trail is just one example of how the particular food and beverage industry is branching out when it comes to marketing.
Dana Lancellotti, president of the Nj Cafe and Hospitality Association, applauded the state’s campaign plus said, “It’s all component of being creative. ”
“They are trying to find ways to push and promote a niche. New Jersey is one of those states that competes to have the very best pizza on the planet, so it makes sense plus it was smart to create that, ” she said associated with the New Jersey Pizza Trek.
In the age of social media, where visuals are usually everything, there has been a pivot to more experience-driven promotions, such as cafe weeks, culinary tours, food festivals, cooking classes plus wine tasting events.
In Nj-new jersey, there’s no shortage associated with experiential tourism for foodies, from meals crawls within Jersey City to pick-your-own farms in Hunterdon County towards the Anthony Bourdain foods trail.
The increasing participation of food and travel bloggers within culinary travel and leisure for unique experiences, and sharing what it is like along with their followers, provides a boost to the market. Food-related television shows featuring world-renowned chefs and special events have furthermore caused an increase inside tourism over the past decade.
In fact , after Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy dropped into Federici’s Family Restaurant in March 2020 to give it a “one bite” pizza review, Federici said the kitchen saw a jump in calls. Two days right after Portnoy uploaded his video ranking Federici’s pizza as an 8. 8 out of 10, the particular restaurant filled orders with regard to 900 pies on Friday night plus 800 on Saturday night, beating the old record of 600 pizzas in the single shift.
“We make use of top high quality ingredients, we’re consistent and we make all the pizzas for the crunchier, crispier, more well-done side. From your dough to the sauce towards the cheese, it is all really complementary, ” Federici stated.
As 1 of the most diverse culinary scenes in the country, Brand new Jerseyans possess the luxury of essentially traveling the world without ever leaving home, Lancellotti mentioned. “We have so much culture in every nook and cranny from the state which lets people who are curious and like to explore a chance to experience different flavors, ” the girl said.
“Maybe COVID made us a lot more appreciative of our own condition – this forced us to stay close to house and take day trips. Maybe we discovered more things that way and that gave us a lot more culinary experiences, ” Lancellotti added. “I also think the outdoor dining plus ‘streeteries’ really helped in order to get people to explore new places and new restaurants. ”
Within New Hat, the food industry generates about $18. 1 billion in tax revenue annually and employs near to 282, 000 workers, making it the particular state’s largest private sector employer, according to the Nj Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The particular majority – 203, 870 – work at one associated with New Jersey’s 19, 150 foodservice or drink establishments.
In an industry so vulnerable to economic fluctuations, journey and leisure are a single of the particular first items people scale back upon during tight times. And, the domino effect continues from presently there, with hotels and dining places tightening budgets and laying off employees.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, restaurants were forced to adapt to public health concerns, state-imposed safety mandates, reduced occupancy rates and worker shortages that will left many with a less profitable company in 2021, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by the NJRHA.
Significant developments in the NJ meals & hospitality industries
At one point during the last two years, the third of the restaurants within the state had been closed, Lancellotti said. And while some of those places have reopened, the state did lose “a lot of much-loved, go-tos regarding dining, ” she added.
Many associated with the small, family-owned establishments are still reeling plus must now contend with continued staffing issues, supply chain woes, inflation and competition from national restaurant chains.
That’s why every bit of promotion assists right now, business owners said.
“The pandemic has changed the way people eat and dine, ” Verney stated. “Pre-pandemic, my revenue has been 80-85% dine-in and now it’s around 35% dine-in. In general, dine-in customers’ average ticket prices are higher than a take-out customer because they’ll [buy] drinks, apps and maybe dessert or even coffee. ”
By running specials plus highlighting that The Original Slim Crust Pizzas Co. offers more than just the slice, Verney hopes he can attract clients to dine in or order out from the restaurant.
“That’s money not going in to a national chain, ” he mentioned. “We little guys need to support ourselves and our families and all of us get what’s left after all the particular bills are paid. Some weeks, that’s very small. ”