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