The Frugal Foodies have recently moved across the river to the wild state of New Jersey, meaning a brand-new culinary scene to dive into. While we crave tacos in the summer time, February calls for rib-sticking, carb-heavy, comfort food…. Like pizza! Napoli’s Neapolitan Brick Oven Pizza in Hoboken came up in countless “Hoboken Best Pizza” searches, and seemed like the perfect first Jersey 30 under 30, especially considering the fact it is BYOB.
Napoli’s opened in 2007 by the pizza master Frank Volpe. The Volpe’s founded the famous Lombardi’s Pizzeria in 1905, which was the first licensed pizzeria in the United States, so you better believe he knows his stuff. Both Hoboken locations serve up homemade pizza, pasta, salads, wraps, and paninis that are fresh and reasonably priced. We headed to the Washington Street location for our pizza journey, and were decently satisfied!
Long Story Short
Napoli’s Neapolitan Brick Oven Pizza is a laid back, local establishment with friendly service and a welcoming ambiance. The pizza isn’t revolutionary or mind blowing in the flavor department, but you can never be too upset with bread, sauce, and cheese. The Napoli Sliders (meatballs, mozzarella, and house marina on garlic knots), however, are something special and a killer deal.
Overall, the food is a great deal with low prices for hearty quantities, and the establishment is BYOB, making it the perfect spot to meet friends or go on a date that won’t eat up your paycheck.
The Full Story
The intimate space is cozy and casual with a handful of close tables and an open kitchen that allows you to watch the brick oven magic happen. It is clearly a spot beloved by the locals, and we sat among several families chowing down and excitedly chatting. My one qualm was that the lights were a bit to bright. I’m a sucker for dim mood lighting, but I also realize it may not be the vibe a family pizza joint wants to give off.
As soon as we arrived, a hostess spotted our bottle of wine and brought two wine glasses after popping the cork. Our waiter was extremely nice and helpful with a genuine pride for the quality of the products being served, and engaged in the perfect amount of conversation that was personable without being overly chatty.
We started out with the Napoli Sliders, which consisted of four giant meatballs topped with melted mozzarella on a garlic knot with a healthy serving of homemade marinara on the side. The meatballs were flavorful without having too much filling, and they complemented the buttery garlic knots without overpowering them. The marinara had a beautiful fresh flavor, and a consistency that was just chunky enough.
We got a large pie that was half vodka half meat lovers, and while it was good pizza, it wasn’t overwhelming special or unique. First, let’s talk crust. It was classic thin crust, but could have been a touch airier with more of those delectable crust bubbles you look for in a woodfire pizza.
The vodka half had both mozzarella and parmesan, and the two flavors felt like they were competing rather than complimenting. We preferred the meat lovers half, which had a solid sauce to cheese ratio and tasty little meatballs as well solid sweet sausage.
Overall, the pizza was perfectly fine, but tasted like the reheated slices at a to-go spot as oppose to fresh, wood-fire masterpiece.
Our bill was admittedly $0.45 over given the fact we sprung for half meat lovers, a more expensive gourmet pizza option. However, it was more than enough food and could have easily fed three, maybe even four people.
Napoli Sliders: $8.95
Large Pizza: $21.50
The BYOB factor is a key when planning for a frugal diner out. Having a couple beers or a glass of wine is a nice accompaniment to a meal, but is a major bill booster and wallet drainer. Having the ability to bring a cheap bottle of wine from a shop up the street elevated our dining experience while keeping the cost low, what more could you ask for?
While the pizza was average, the Napoli Sliders, cheap price, and BYOB component made for a fun, inexpensive date night out in Hoboken.
As always, stay frugal.