Polizzi’s Brick Oven Pizza has opened on Egg Harbor Road in Washington Township, in the location which formerly housed Amalfi. Damien and his Washington Township family behind this new shop have put a lot of thought and research into bringing a product to Township that he hopes stands out from the competition… and it seems they have succeeded! Detroit Style Pizza?! And also traditional and Sicilian… all with the best and freshest ingredients.
If you aren’t aware of the location, they are on Egg Harbor road in that small strip mall of stores across the side street from the Village Pub Restaurant, near the 5-Points intersection.
Polizzi’s is open for dinner only now, starting at 4pm… and closed Sundays and Mondays! Check the site or Facebook for latest information. (I am posting this Saturday morning so either get a pizza or cheesesteak today, or wait until Tuesday!)
The funny thing is I don’t think they ever had an official opening day…. as Damien was getting the kitchen and recipes prepared he just started offering up pizzas via posts on Facebook and Instagram.
Then it turned into “hey, we’re going to be open tomorrow for 3 hours or until we run out”
Then they ran the trial runs again and again.
Quickly they moved on to being open with some regular hours… which even then the rules twisted when Damien posted an hour or so before opening “We’re bored. Come see us now”
So they still consider this a soft opening.. but someone forgot to tell the customers of Washington Township that they were slow rolling into this because when I visited Thursday night the joint was jumping!
I hung out and chatted with Damien and the crew for about 45 minutes… with me standing in the way of everything Damien never stopped making pizzas. Talking and making the whole time!
And we all know about the challenges of hiring restaurant staff right now, and at Polizzi’s they had a crew of 8 working. All family and friends! I tell ya… the family’s love for quality pizza spreads!
And they needed every one of those employees working on delicious pizzas and sandwiches, because it was a steady stream of customers!
So yes I tried the pizza and it is amazing. That alone is enough to give them a try, of course.
But I think these little stories lead to what is most significant about Polizzi’s pizza…
Passion for Pizza
Damien really has a passion for making the best pizza and sandwiches that the area has seen.
And after meeting his son Nicky and seeing him work in the kitchen.. it’s clear that Damien’s love for serving delicious food has spread to his family and the team.
Damien’s passion for pizza is so strong that even when life gave him some twists and turns which lead him to take a step away from the pizza business 10+ years ago and enter the Corporate world…
… Damien was still making pizzas!
A few years ago he built a wood burning pizza oven in his backyard. Actually it’s a full outdoor kitchen with grill, sink and more.
And while he was working in the Corporate world (including sales of point-of-sales systems), Damien was entertaining friends and family with his delicious pizza creations.. and perfecting his recipe along the way.
In a way this sounds to me like a path that many of our area brewery owners have taken… hobby brewer to brewery business owner. But remember, Damien was a Pizza guy for a LONG time before he started further perfecting his recipes and technique.
So owning a shop is something he has a lot of experience in. Making artisan pizzas is something he has perfected. Now Damien has brought it all back together into a new shop for the public to enjoy.
Damien tells the story of when that Sales job for the point-of-sale systems seemed very promising. The owner was beyond retirement age, and maybe there was a chance for Damien to move into a higher level role.
But the job came with a lot of travel. Out of state travel. Almost every week.
Not a lot of fun for a husband and father… not a lot of fun for anyone in the family.
So one day at the dinner table with the family.. there was a growing sense of frustration, and maybe just not the normal full happiness that is typical with the family. And it was clear the heavy weight on the family was Damien’s sales job and travel.
So many times the wisest ideas come from the youth. Son Nicky suggested “Mom, just let dad open up a pizzeria in town”
And it all came together from there.
But they still needed a restaurant location, and since hours can be long in running an restaurant, and the Polizzi’s wanted to build this business as a family, they wanted something close.
So even the Polizzi daughter had a big hand in getting things started. “Hey Dad, I saw on Facebook that someone started a GoFundMe page for Amalfi’s.”…
…which lead to Damien reaching out to owner Moses to see if there was an opportunity for the Polizzi’s to take over the restaurant.
And of course that’s what happened.
Well, the Polizzi’s took over the location and equipment, but he wanted to bring his own recipes and ideas to the table…. so they passed on taking over the Amalfi name.
Pizzas, Cheesesteaks and More. Well Thought Out
Have you ever been to a restaurant where it just seems they put no effort into what they serve you? Have you ever ordered pizza and can tell the crust was made in factory somewhere, or when handed a cheesesteak you think “what the heck is this?”
That is not the case at Polizzi’s. Damien seems to have happily agonized over every detail.
For Pizzas, they will offer neo-Neapolitan, Detroit, and Sicilian style pizzas. All fresh ingredients, dough made in house.
Currently the pizzas are made in a traditional pizza oven, and taste amazing. But coming soon is a wood burning oven which will be delivered and installed in a few weeks. Damien had hoped to have it in place several weeks ago but global supply chain issues are impacting everyone’s deliveries!
For Pizzas, they will offer neo-Neapolitan, 313 Detroit, Sicilian and other style pizzas. All fresh ingredients.
The neo-Neapolitan is the more recognizable round pizza cooked in wood burning ovens. They typically have a larger and puffier crust, and amazing ingredients. I believe that for now they are not serving this pizza until the new oven is installed.
New York/Trenton style pizza is closer to our most familiar round pizza, and is cooked in a traditional pizza oven.
Sicilian is something we are all very familiar with in this area. A thick and airy (but rigid) crust pizza.
Detroit Style pizza is something completely new to me and our area. it’s in the same category as a Sicilian, but has differences in the crust being even more airier and soft, with the crust being very crispy… a crispiness that comes from baking in the pan. Detroit pizzas are reverse pizzas.. in fact we learned from watching in the oven that the pizza is cooked in the oven with the cheese on it, and the sauce is added AFTER it comes out of the oven!
Mark from 42Freeway took home a Detroit style pizza, and we all LOVED it!
The fresh ingredients and delicious sauce came through.
And true to the definition, the crust was light and airy, with a crackling crust all around.
The big differences from a Sicilian was that the in a sicilian the crust is hard and extra crunchy all the way through, but with Detroit it was definitely soft in the middle. The second thing is the sauce being ladled on top.
It’s a delicious twist to an old favorite!
For sandwiches, everything is freshly made… roast beef, turkey and roast pork! Even their own cutlet recipe, And everything will be served on Sarcone Rolls, which is a famous South Philadelphia bakery.
Their cheesesteaks are following a pattern of Angelo’s in South Philly, who were named the #1 cheesesteak by celebrity Instgrammer Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports… Polizzi’s cheesesteaks are served on the same Sarcone rolls and they offer Cooper Sharp for cheese.
An important side note, is that Damien’s enthusiasm has had him reach out to many legendary pizza and sandwich shops in the area to get advice on how to perfect his recipes!
The Grand Opening Ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for October 16th.
This will give Damien and crew plenty of time to get the new wood burning brick over delivered and installed!
We were the first to write about Polizzi’s coming to Washington Township back in back in June. Check out our post for more details
The 42Freeway post was based on information from Marilyn Johnson and her South Jersey Food Scene Facebook Group. Check out her group for interesting news on the South Jersey food scene.
The Courier Post also recently covered Polizzi’s (of course cause they learned about it at 42Freeway! Ha!). You can check out their post here, but they are a paywall site and you may not be able to read.
I can’t wait to get back to Polizzi’s to try their Cooper Sharp Cheesesteak… I eat way too many cheesesteaks, and one of these days I’ll get around to a 42freeway cheesesteak review post or video. Until then, we’ll call this “research”. ha
Links and Location
Polizzi’s Brick Oven Pizza
201 Egg Harbor Rd
Washington Township, NJ 08080
Facebook: Damien and the Family are very actively posting on Facebook. A worthy “like”