Santillo's Brick Oven Pizza
639 S Broad St,
Today: 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Take three generations of pizza making, an antique oven that's more than 100 years old, and a passion for the perfect pie, and you've got one of the most unique pizzerias in the country. Santillos Brick Oven Pizza in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Back in 1920, Lou Santillo started out delivering bread in a horse and buggy, but he was also making foccia ( pizza dough baked in a pan with various toppings) for his family at home.
By 1950, in his next bakery location while working with his son Alfred, he decided to incorporate pizza into his business. "He wanted to keep the place open in the evening and make a little more money, so he started making pizza," says Al Santillo, son of Alfred and current owner of Santillos. "In 1957, he bought the brick oven I use now."
This is the only one of its type that Al knows to exist- a special type called a low- arch. "These are considered the perfect proportions for an oven; every brick was individually cut by hand to make this arch," says Al. This oven permits infinite possibilities in temperature and character; it continues to surprise and amaze me." Al is able to craft pies according to each person's individual tastes, adjusting baking times and locations for infinite possibilities. " I take careful measure of each customers desires," he says.
Indeed, Al is a perfectionist with his pies, which incorporate the same recipe that his grandfather developed. Al started working at the bakery at the of age five, according to Italian custom, handing his father the dough, putting dough in boxes, picking out unburned coal from the ashes, and poking the fire. "Just to load the coal -13 shovels twice a day- and maintain the fire is a full time job, to do it right," he says. "If you want something that good, you must suffer, and we do!"
But Al's tenacity has won him a loyal following and numerous accolades over the years, so he knows not to tamper with a good thing. "Everyone else I know of has compromised the recipe for convenience or to americanize it, to gain mass appeal,"he says. I guess you could call me an old stick-in-the-mud, because I don't want to change if it means giving up quality standards-then I wouldn't be happy with the product, and I wouldn't be happy with myself." Tracy Morin
Mon 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Tue 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Wed 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Thu 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Fri 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sat 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Sun 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Products and ServicesPhone Orders
Baked On Premises
Reviews for Santillo's Brick Oven Pizza
Write a review
Great pizza by susan l via Insider Pages on 8/25/2009
The pizza here is fantastic, and has been for as long as I can remember! The Sicilian slices are awesome. The quality is always consistent, delicious every time.
Santillo's sicilian.. by Epdblue via Menuism on 12/3/2008
Santillo's pizza has the best sicilian pie you will ever taste. if you don't like sicilian try his great...