Patsy’s Tavern & Pizza: The Best Pizza in New Jersey?

by Cate on June 22, 2011

Patsys - Loaded Aerial
On Twitter a few weeks back, someone linked to my pizza reviews while they were on a Pizza Tasting Tour in New Jersey.  At the time, they were at Patsy’s in Paterson, a place that we haven’t been to yet.  They also mentioned another place in Montclair, and I asked the head chief reviewer which he would recommend first.  He said to go to Patsy’s if you love idiosyncracies.  And so it was.

So if you’re from New Jersey, you’ll likely know that Paterson isn’t really where you want to hang out.  A non-descript building in a not-so-good area of town, I could see how Patsy’s wouldn’t get more than a passing mention, if that.  But Mystic and I were out sans kids, so considered it a safe bet.  Or generally speaking anyway.

Patsys - Exterior
The outside brick facade is at complete juxtaposition with the interior of the restaurant.  Once inside and seated, it felt like we were at our Italian grandmother’s kitchen table.  Cute booths boasting 1950s Formica tabletops and food arriving on mismatched old-fashioned plates.  Love it.  I didn’t go around the room and query the other dinner guests, but I would have bet most of them were Italian and either grew up in the neighborhood way back when, or moved away and were coming “home.”  It felt like home.  Like Sunday dinner any night of the week.

Patsys - Interior
I’ve noticed a few things when Mystic and I have gone out to eat lately.  1) He always orders an appetizer.  2) He is into food the way I am.  3) He understands the need for the perfect food photo before we dig in.  Relationships have been built on far less. He gets #3 to the point that we now bring home some of our food so I can take more pictures at home, where I have the opportunity to play with lighting and take my time.  I love that about him.

Patsys - Calamari
When it comes to ordering pizza in our ongoing quest to find the best, I have one hard and fast rule.  You have to taste the restaurant’s cheese pizza.  They need to be able to conquer the standard pie before mucking around with toppings.  And so our pizza was half cheese, and half black olive and mushroom.

Patsys - Cheese Side

Patsys - Side View

Patsys - Aerial View
Patsy’s pizza is baked in a pan, which explains those fun, funky edges.  It’s a sturdy dough, so totally stands up to folding without giving way to floppiness.  But there are no bubbles to be found (and I do love my bubbles) and very little charred bits (and I happen to love those too).  The sauce was okay, not exceptionally robust, and I felt it needed a little salt.

Patsys - Loaded

The cheese is non-stringy, and I prefer it a little bit stringier.  I mean, half the fun is having a long strand of mozzarella stretch from your mouth to the slice.  Particularly when on a date. No?  The slices that had topping were way too overloaded.  And the mushrooms are canned.  I seriously hate that.

Patsys - Back Counter
A few details:

  • Not a Coke establishment.  Didn’t taste like Pepsi either, so our money is on RC
  • Attentive staff
  • Bar available
  • On-street parking
  • Good calamari.  A little on the spicy side (we requested mild), but a very tender bite
  • Even though we went on a Friday night, there was plenty of available seating

Patsy’s Tavern & Pizza
72 7th Avenue
Paterson, NJ 07524-2005
(973) 742-9596

Was it New Jersey’s best?  No.  But I would go back.  I’ve heard great things about their baked pastas, and I love the “you feel like you’re at home but really not” vibe.  Iffy neighborhood aside.

Miss our other pizza reviews?

Luigi’s in Succasunna
Reservoir Tavern in Boonton
Margherita’s Pizza & Cafe in Hoboken
Star Tavern in Orange
Grimaldi’s in Hoboken
Annabella’s Pizzeria in Parsippany
Fenicci’s Restaurant & Tavern in Hershey, PA
M&S II Pizza in Rockaway, NJ

June 22, 2011 – Bonus Photos
Playing Reporter
I interviewed the kids tonight during dinner (part of that coming in tomorrow’s post) and when I was done, Madeline turned the tables on me and began interviewing me. “Mommy, what do you do for work? What else? And what else? Anything else?”

Karen at Party
For an end-of-year celebration, we threw an ice cream social for Nick’s class. He grabbed my camera midway through to take a picture of one of his classmates’ creation. Ice cream party at 11 am? Yes, please.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Caron June 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Wait. No rainbow party for the end of the year? Where’s the tradition, lady?!?

I love that Mystic is becoming a regular here on Sweetnicks. Someday, perhaps, we should explain why I started calling him that too. Maybe with a road trip too … OMG. We could totally take a picture of Mystic in Mystic! SCORE!


Cate June 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Dude, c’mon now, you know better. Rainbow Cake Party is this weekend! :) Ice cream social was for Nick’s class, as in … at school. ;) Mystic in Mystic – you’re funny!


Cathy June 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I LOVE the bubble pieces too! Where’s the place in Montclair? Gonna need to hear more about how it’s goin’ with Mystic…. not sure I can wait til July!


Cate June 23, 2011 at 7:43 am

Will get you the info – they have 900 degree ovens and make the pizza in 90 seconds!!


Cathy June 23, 2011 at 10:38 pm

interesting… wonder if it’s the place that B went to?


patsy June 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Of course, with the name of the restaurant, I had to read to see if it would be worth the trip to that not-so-great area. Love that Mystic “gets it” when it comes to food and photos. I still have friends who look at me funny when I pull out the camera…. so I end up rushing and not getting the shot I really want.


Joanne June 23, 2011 at 6:29 am

to find a guy who’s okay with the food photos…that is my goal. Does he read the blog?


Cate June 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

He has enough information that he could find my web site, but hasn’t yet. And I’m ok with that. I’m not ready for that. Might be a post topic in the making. ;)


Kris #40 June 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

Mmmm looks good! Love the name Mystic – yes we want to know how the name came about. I agree – Mystic in Mystic.

I had my fix of M&S II buffalo chicken pizza on father’s day. I could go for some Star pizza and hot roast beef sandwiches. Haven’t been there in years!


Ramona June 23, 2011 at 10:32 am

I hope they can stay in business during these hard times. The pizza looks good. They could improve it in time too.

Your fellow sounds like a good guy.


JO June 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm

sounds like a good partner!
I hope you like Ah’Pizz next.

I’m really happy you went here though, it certainly has character. And the pizza isn’t for everyone. Some on our tour thought it was the worst! I loved it though. Thanks for the shoutout, I love that you’re going on these tours!


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