Reservoir Tavern: The Best Pizza in New Jersey?

by Cate on June 4, 2009

Pepperoni Pizza

Whenever there is a write-up on the best pizza in New Jersey, the Reservoir Tavern frequently makes the conversation.  It’s no wonder.  The place is four generations strong and has been around since 1936.  We actually originally set out to visit the place a few months ago.  I looked up the address and it was listed as Parsippany Road in Parsippany.  Easy enough, I knew exactly where to go.  After about 30 minutes of driving up and down Parsippany Road and looking for the darn place, we called.  No answer.  We asked.  No one knew.  We gave up and headed towards Star Tavern in Orange instead (see review here).

After asking around, it turns out the although Reservoir Tavern’s address is shown in Parsippany, they’re actually in Boonton.  Go figure.  Two totally different towns not even next door to each other.  Nick had karate after work today and I hadn’t planned anything for dinner.  I voted for calling in a take-out order to Reservoir Tavern.  It would give us a chance to try out their fare, but we could relax at home so we could still get in homework, bath and a reasonable bed time.

As luck would have it, today’s e-newsletter from NJ My Way was all about Reservoir Tavern.  That sealed the deal.  They waxed rhapsodic about the pineapple pizza.  I’ve always been intrigued by pineapple pizza, but can never find anyone adventurous enough to try it with me.  The newsletter suggested getting it as a bar pizza (much smaller), and that sounded like a perfect idea.  I added a half-pepperoni/half-cheese pizza for the kids, and mussels marinara to round out the order.

This time, I got directions from the restaurant’s website and found the place really easily.  I was a little shocked when I pulled into the parking lot.  Six-thirty on a Thursday night and the place was packed.  Packed.  As was the small lobby area, the bar area, the whole joint.  Body to body.  I was really glad I called in an order.  Except for the fact that when the restaurant is crowded, there is really no good place to wait.  I made my way over to the bar area because I saw two other patrons picking up take-out orders.  A woman who had just sat down at the bar with her husband looked over at me, with Nick and Maddie, and said, “You really shouldn’t have kids in a bar.  They don’t belong here.”  Seriously?  Seriously?  I restrained myself, biting my tongue, and said I was just there to pick up an order.  I mean, really, with Maddie on my hip, cash in my hand, and Nick at my side, does it sound like I’m there for a night on the town to throw back a few?  Honestly.

Pineapple Pizza

Unfortunately, her demeanor mirrored the staff at the restaurant.  The hostess didn’t smile once and greeted people with a head nod or a swift motion with her fingers.  No pleases, no thank yous, no friendliness.  I’m guessing it’s the food that keeps the restaurant so packed on a weeknight, because it sure as heck wasn’t their personality. We waited about ten minutes and left as soon as we received our order.  The pizza smelled amazing all the way home.  But how about the taste?

Before I had finished half of my cheese slice, Nick had hosed two full slices on his own and was reaching for a third.  Madeline?  Finished her first slice.  The whole darn thing.  Either they were starving or it was really good.  It was a bit of both.  So far we’ve tried Star Tavern, Grimaldi’s, and Margherita’s.  This is the fourth spot on our ongoing quest to find the best pizza in New Jersey (and as an aside I’m really hoping the best one is local because I would hate it if the best wasn’t geographically convenient!), and Reservoir Tavern has the pizza sauce to beat.  It had the most flavorful sauce of all the pizzas we’ve had so far.  You can see and taste the herbs and it was delicious.  The cheese was perfect, plenty of it, and not the kind that’s so stringy that it all comes off the slice when you take a bite.  I hate that.  I loved the crispy little burned bubbles on the pizza.  Yum.  My only complaint was the dough, but that’s a matter of preference.  I happen to like my pizza on the thin and crispy side, and this was a little more on the doughy, chewy side.  But for the sauce, I can live with it.

Now as for the Mussels Marinara, nothing to write home about.  They were fine, but the sauce was completely unmemorable, which is surpising given how good the pizza sauce was.  And it didn’t come with bread.  Anything that has that much marinara sauce should come with bread for dipping.  It’s a given.

And that pineapple pizza?  I think the pineapple chunks should be cut in half, at the very least, because once you get a few on the slice, they’re too heavy.  The herbs sprinkled over the pineapple didn’t do it for me, but overall, it wasn’t terrible.  The versions I’ve seen were white pizza, with ham and pineapple, so the tomato sauce was a nice twist.  I wasn’t completely I-can’t-wait-to-get-this-again over it, but I think it was just one of those things on my food list that I needed to check off.  And now I have.

A few notes:

  • They are closed Sunday and Monday.
  • The prices on the menu shown on their website are wrong, by a lot.  Not cool.
  • Credit cards accepted.
  • Big parking lot, but go early.

Reservoir Tavern
90 Parsippany Blvd. (US RT.202)
Parsippany, NJ
PO Box 185
Boonton, NJ 07005

Telephone: 973-334-5708

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

donna June 4, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I didnt realize you were from NJ. Me too.Have you ever tried Pete and Eldas thin crust pizza in Asbury Park? Love theirs.

donnas last blog post..Bow Tie Taco Casserole, Chocolate Chip Snack Cake, and I’d Like an Honest Opinion Poll

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Claire June 4, 2009 at 11:28 pm

I love pineapple pizza. The sweet from the pineapple goes great with the tomato sauce. I’ve never seen it on a white pizza. This is a fun game! And that lady shouldn’t have said anything…unless of course you were drinking with your kids there…that would be a different story! ;-)

Claires last blog post..So Corny!

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Starnesfam June 4, 2009 at 11:56 pm

I cannot believe that lady said that to you. People are so brave these days. Wouldn’t it have been funny to order a shot right there in front of her? Crazy woman’s head would have spun. Totally worth it.

I love a good pizza….great review!

Starnesfams last blog post..Nature Walk

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Janet June 5, 2009 at 2:32 am

Wow- sad! Especially in these times, people need to be appreciative that they have work- and the customer is why! Boy, I don’t know if I could’ve shown the restraint that you did…

I’m with you- the thinner the better on the crust. A Grimaldi’s pizza opened up out here, walking distance from my house, and it is fabulous. But let me tell you, if you ever make it out Phoenix way, Pizzeria Bianco is the place to be! Usually a 2 hour wait! http://www.pizzeriabianco.com/

Janets last blog post..Lemon Meringue Pie with homemade crust

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Patsy Kreitman June 5, 2009 at 8:07 am

We did take out from there when our boys were much younger. Even though we called in our order and were told it would be an hour wait, it was another 30 minutes after we got there before the pie was ready. I agree the pizza was good, but we’ve never been back because we had the same impressions as you when it came to the service, staff and over-packed bar area.

You should try Annabella’s (email me if you want directions). Our whole neighborhood heads over there on a weekly basis (convenience helps!). they are relatively new to the area, but are pretty good – prices are also reasonable.

Patsy Kreitmans last blog post..Triple-Chocolate Brownie Cookies For Bunko

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The Neighbor (Wife) June 5, 2009 at 9:41 am

I always order pineapples on my pizza. I love it!! The Husband hates it. It’s the sweet and salty thing.

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Debbie June 5, 2009 at 10:11 am

Why don’t people mind their own business…stupid lady!!!! I don’t like places that are not friendly when I’m spending my money there….Glad the pizza was good. It’s hard to find good pizza here in Virginia. I’m from Long Island so I certainly miss “real” pizza from up north!!!

Debbies last blog post..Chocolate Cake

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Michele June 5, 2009 at 11:11 am

This is on my list of places to try. I’m in Morris plains and I’ve tried a bunch of places around here. The only place that we’ve found that’s pretty good is Saporito’s on Route 10 in Denville. It’s good but it’s not fantastic. I’d love to know what other places in the area that you’ve tried.

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Ramona June 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm

The pepperoni pizza looks good. I don’t like pineapple on my pizza and hubby doesn’t like pineapple at all.

I can tell you when I get bad service or don’t get what I expect then I don’t go back.

The woman in the bar was rude. You should have told her to mind her own business. She didn’t mind being rude so I wouldn’t have minded being rude right back.

Ramonas last blog post..Yellow Butterfly Bush

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BrooklynQ June 5, 2009 at 6:55 pm

http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=benny+tudinos+hoboken&fb=1&split=1&gl=us&view=text&latlng=9704986407736334850

Benny Tudino’s has the best pizza in Jersey.

Boonton? I’ve been there many a times and it can’t hold a candle to Benny’s!

BrooklynQs last blog post..Going Down on Daisy

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Honest Mike August 12, 2009 at 8:21 pm

There a few good pizza places to try around northern NJ. Star Tavern is Orange is great and very well known. Rays Pizza in Verona is great too, thicker than some places, but if you like thick, go try it out. The Reservoir I know of is in South Orange, and there pizza is very good as well. It resembles Star Tavern in Orange, but I think Star has them beat just slightly, but both very good. GodfatherPizza in East Hanover is also very very good. For the best sicilian pizza, try Avellinos in East Hanover. ~Mike

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Marc September 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Kinchley’s Tavern, Franklin Tpke. in Mahwah …

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Stacey Snacks November 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Hi!
I was looking on google for Reservoir’s number & your summer post came up.
The Res has been my favorite pizzeria for 35 years.

The staff is brisk and pushy and the place is always packed with locals and loyals.
I live in Summit and we drive to Parsippany/Boonton for pizza often.
I have tried all the top dogs….DeLorenzo’s in Trenton, Pete & Elda’s in Neptune and every wonderful NY and Brooklyn pie…..my personal fave is still Reservoir.
I hope you tried it again!
Stacey

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Frank November 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Best regular pizza in Hoboken is Filippo’s on First Street. Benny Tudino’s stinks. It’s good when you’re drunk and that’s about it.

Best Sicilian in NJ is Vesuvio’s on Beaver Dam Road in Point Pleasant, NJ. WEIRD GOOD.

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