• Gabriel Donio

Pizza places have played a big role locally


We currently have 14 places you can buy freshly-made pizza in Hammonton. (Courtesy Photo)

Let’s see … we currently have 14 places you can buy freshly-made pizza in Hammonton (in alphabetical order): Andy’s, Brother’s Pizza, Bruni’s Pizza, Cacia’s Bakery, Corrado’s, Costello’s, DiDonato’s (Alley), Domino’s, Illiano’s, Marcello’s, Mario’s Pizza, Nino’s Pizza Rama, Ricca’s Brick Oven Pizza and Vinny’s Pizza.


If I missed anybody, let me apologize in advance for any omissions.


What I’d like to ask the readers out there is: What were the names of the pizza places of the decades before now, the places that are gone but still bring a smile when you remember biting into a hot slice of a particular place’s pizza?


We’re looking for four things:


• The name.


• The location. What street was the pizza place located on, and what did it look like inside the restaurant?


• What kind (or kinds) of pizza did they make?


• The name or names of the owners of the pizza place.


When I go to places like Brother’s Pizza, Bruni’s Pizza or Nino’s Pizza Rama, part of the allure is that I am returning to a place that is still selling the same kind of pizza (and in the case of Brother’s and Nino’s, other Italian food) that I ate in high school, and in the case of Brother’s and Nino’s is still owned and operated by the same families who owned and operated the places when I first went there as a kid more than 30 years ago. It’s amazing to me.


People from other towns who come to Hammonton often marvel at the number of pizza places here. They ask me how one town of about 15,000 people can sustain it. I always tell them that while the locals are extremely supportive of the pizza places, they also draw people from the region who love good food.


It shouldn’t be surprising to you that people have allegiances to their favorite pizza place. The longest-lasting ones have developed an incredibly loyal following during the decades.


The reasons for that are probably the same as the questions about the former pizza places I listed earlier. It’s the people who own it, the quality of the pizza (and other food), where the place is and what it looks like and even the name of the place that draws people back for pizza again and again.


The newer pizza places currently operating in town with these longstanding ones also have their own merits, proudly continuing the tradition of serving pizza to people of all ages, both from town and throughout the area.


Pizza places are great hangouts, where the conversation flows freely with people gathering around a table, splitting up a pie and enjoying drinks from the soda fountain.


Where were the places you went in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s that aren’t here anymore? Remember the memories you made there? Whether it was Neapolitan or Sicilian, a big place or a little one, downtown or uptown—name a few pizza places Hammonton has lost to time.


As always, you can contact me at donio@hammontongazette.com or at (609) 704-1940.


Summer is on its way. Pizza is one of those foods that goes with any season, but for some reason, it’s even better on a nice summer day, sitting inside an air-conditioned pizzeria with some friends with an ice cold drink. Lifelong memories are often made with a slice of pizza in your hand.


So the question is out there: Name those pizza places from years ago. The idea for the former pizza places question was given to me a while ago by Atlantic County Surrogate James Curcio. I’m glad to finally throw it out there to The Gazette readership.


Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.