[Editor's Note: This week in Bites Nearby we're featuring two Jersey Shore institutions— Vic's and Pete and Elda's. Both are known for their famously thin pizza and their loyal followings. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of the article!]
As an absolute fiend for pizza, the second I relocated to this area, everyone that I knew here began to inundate me with demands to go to Carmen's Pizerria at Pete and Elda's Bar on Route 35 in Neptune City.
"Its the best pizza on the planet." "Their pizza is like an addictive drug." "I would eat their pizza off the ground."
These were just a few of the sentiments I heard from my ever vocal and descriptive friends.
After partaking in a night of pizza and wings, I realized why Carmen's was such an institution. My girlfriend and her family made their trips there a weekly tradition since she was in grade school and for good reason. At this point in time, I have probably dined there about 40 times and have had take out about 50.
Even though at times, getting seating can take extremely long, up to 45 minutes—it's worth the wait. Once you take your first bite, you'll know why the parking lot is always full.
Most recently, my girlfriend and I had our usual— a double extra large half plain, half bacon pie, a sausage, peppers and onions pie, an order of buffalo tenders and a side of cheesy garlic bread. Even though they offer an extensive Italian-based menu and nightly specials, we only go there for the pizza.
Most people from the area know that if a single person eats a whole double extra large pie, they get a free t-shirt.
The pizza is super thin. So thin that if you pick it up before it cools down, it will break in half, which I love. You can eat a whole pie and leave feeling good, not like you might to pass out from a food coma.
The crust is always crunchy but rarely burnt. The focus is more on cheese than the sauce. If you want a saucy pie, request extra. The bacon is a shredded and spread all over the pie. The sausage topping is the same, crumbles spread everywhere. The peppers and onions are large, freshly cut chunks.
The boneless buffalo wings are standard bar food. The difference is the amount per serving. Carmen's offers five or six large tenders to an order, as opposed to the usual four elsewhere. The buffalo sauce has a bit of a kick, but nothing that leaves your mouth burning. Coming from someone who doesn't like spicy foods, the kick is perfect. The cheesy garlic bread is your standard Italian bread with slices of cheese melted onto it and smothered with garlic. The bread is always toasted golden and never burnt.
On top of the amazing food, I have always had great service. My opinion could be a bit skewed, since I always request the same person— Betsy. She is the happiest, most accommodating waitress I've had. I've had other staff members wait on me who were equally efficient.
Overall, I will recommend Carmines time and time again. The staff is as friendly as it gets. The manager always stops by to ask how you are doing no ,matter how busy it is and you can always count on one thing— great, thin crust pizza.