I seldom take the time to write local restaurant reviews since our reach is global in nature and local restaurants or events never seem to warrant the time involved in writing the article. However, I wanted to write this review of one of our local eateries, because they are part of a franchise whose headquarters are located in Northborough, Massachusetts, so my favorite local pizza restaurant could be your favorite too.
Many years ago while returning from a trip, my wife and I stopped by a Pizza restaurant called Bertucci’s. We had never heard of them before and thought we would give it a try and ordered one of their signature brick oven pizza’s. Now understand, we are pizza gourmets and I lived in Brooklyn, New York as a child and as an adult moved to New Jersey. Of course going to New York City on a daily basis back then when I worked in the city meant I dined on pizza on a regular basis. Everything from Kosher pizza to the Famous Ray’s Pizza and everything in between.
When I would travel around the country or internationally, I would of course eat pizza. Even in Italy on the many trips there, I found pizza, some good and some not as good as the pizza’s I have eaten back home, but my quest was never ending for the perfect Pizza.
A few years ago, we were fortunate to have a Bertucci’s open in our neighborhood. Right next to my favorite store Costco. You can read one of my articles Secret Price Codes Will Save You Money At Costco, which will show you how to save money shopping there. This article has received over 400,000 reads already and is the number one hit on Google if you simply search for any term that includes “Saving Money at Costco” or similar. Now after you finish this review of Bertucci’s read my Costco article and find out how you can also save even more money buying Bertucci’s Gift Cards there too.
So now that we have Bertucci’s in our area, we try to go in when we want the best Brick Oven pizza in our area. Now people may scoff at my review of a chain or franchise restaurant when rating pizza in New Jersey. After all we have pizza sold in every shopping center and mall in the area, but I have to admit, the others pale in comparison to the Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizza.
From their website…For over 30, years our pizza has been handcrafted from the freshest ingredients, then baked by the fire. The brick oven reaches temperatures over 650°, coaxing out the natural flavors of our homemade dough and creating a taste you won’t find anyplace else.
This pretty much says it all, the taste is unique and worth the trip to your local Bertucci’s. You can order their pies in the individual size or the large and we always order the large for a few dollars more. The pizza is thin crust, with the char from the brick oven’s intense heat on the bottom of the pie and on the edges and that simply adds to the divine taste as you bite into the crispy crust.
We like a number of their pies, but four of them are our favorites. They are the more traditional pies then most of their offerings and being a New Yorker, the ones we ate as kids growing up.
At times we may add sausage to the pie, or we may go with the Sporkie, and sub the ricotta cheese for the mozzarella…they give you the flexibility to swap toppings too, so you can really design your own pies by starting from scratch and ordering a basic pie and then adding the toppings you want, or order a pie you may like and swap out one or more of the toppings.
Pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, house made tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
A Bertucci’s favorite. Fresh mozzarella, house made tomato sauce, Romano cheese and fresh basil.
The pizzas start at $9.99 for the individual pie and $17.99 for some of their large pies, which is what we order. Now remember, these are brick over, thin crust, so you will eat more then two slices, which is usually my limit on a traditional thick crust pie, so be prepared to eat half the pie yourself.
Now pizza may be the main reason we go to Bertucci’s in Hazlet, but they do offer other dishes too. When you first arrive at the restaurant, you are greeted by charming hostess. On a busy night she will tell you that the wait is 20-30 minutes, usually not true, and we normally get seated in no more then 15 minutes. If you visit during some of their off hours, you will enjoy instant seating. The restaurant is huge and they have many tables and booths and the service is fast, people eat pizza quickly, so they can turn the tables fast too. My wife, however, refuses to sit at a table and must have a booth, so for us the wait is a little longer. She must have experienced a childhood incident that has created this dislike for restaurant tables.
Once seated a pleasant server introduces themselves to you and delivers a basket of hot, freshly baked Bertucci’s famous rolls. They are made from the pizza dough and are incredible to say the least. The bread comes with butter, but better then the butter is the fresh olive oil with seasoning that you can dip the hot bread in, our preferred choice of the two options.
Now for me and my wife, the pizza is usually enough, but at times, as is the case with all restaurants today, they do run coupons in the local papers and we can save $5 if we purchase $30 or more, so we will then order a main dish, usually one of their nice pasta dishes and a large pizza. We share the main dish and only have two slices each of the pie and take the rest home. We have not only saved some money with the coupon, but have the next days lunch or dinners appetizer.
Since I like sausage, I love their Rigatoni Abruzzi, which contains roasted peppers, sweet Italian sausage and rigatoni tossed in a mildly spicy tomato sauce. I also have ordered their Chicken Domani which is sautéed chicken tossed in a white wine sauce with gemelli pasta and spinach, finished with Asiago cheese. Very nice indeed and reasonably priced at only $13.49.
I mentioned earlier in this article that you could save even more If you are a member of Costco. Here is how, look for their rack with all the local discount Gift Cards offered. If your store is near a Bertucci’s they will most likely have the cards there. You can purchase four $25 cards for $80 which is a 20% savings if you use the cards yourself. Now if you also catch one of their coupon promotions…well better still. You can use the coupons when paying your check and also use your Gift Cards for payment of the remainder. A double savings, which today we can all appreciate. One little issue, you should be aware of.
Some of the gift cards I purchased at Costco were never activated with the $25 credit. So when I attempted to use one of mine at Bertucci’s it was showing a zero balance. If you experience this problem too, ask to speak to the Bertucci’s manager and he can correct this situation. They can see the card was never activated properly and will make the proper adjustment.
They understand that a zero balance card is usually an error because a used card with a zero balance is destroyed once it is used. Our local Hospitality Manager Charles Cherepanya, was kind enough to correct the issue for us last time we visited. They have a great team at Bertucci’s, Hazlet and you can be certain they appreciate your business and make you feel welcome.
For now, I was able to grab some information from their corporate site and you should visit it and sign up for their email program where you will then receive coupons and special offers by email. You will also be able to find out more about Bertucci’s and how they started, view their complete menu, find local locations, order gift cards for friends and family and even download their menu’s.
Unfortunately, Bertucci locations are only available on the east coast and are located in the following states: Connecticut, Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts (loads of locations here), Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York (Long Island only), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.
If you would like to visit the Hazlet, NJ location, please be sure to let them know you saw our review.
We have gone to Bertucci’s over the past few months, but this time, we wanted more then just pizza. We decided on a nice sit down dinner and my wife decided on the Sautéed Chicken Piccata which is made with fresh lemon, capers, white wine, Romano cheese and fresh herbs on top of a nice order of tender breaded chicken and served over spaghetti. The cost of this ample and very tasty dish with a nice node of garlic was only, $14.99.
I decided to go with the Chicken Domani a beautifully sautéed chicken tossed in a white wine sauce with gemelli pasta and spinach and finished with Asiago cheese at an even better price of only $13.79.
I took actual photos of these dishes because quite often the photos on the menu have no resemblance to the actual dish that comes to the table, but in this case they were the same. We decided to dine at Bertucci’s that evening, a day filled with shopping, because and we were so hungry and tired and simply wanted a nice fast meal. Of course being tired and hungry, we ended up ordering too much food. Not only did we order the two entrees, but a beautiful large pizza made with grilled eggplant, sweet italian sausage, house made tomato sauce and of course loads of fresh mozzarella cheese. As you can see from the photo, it was absolutely gorgeous with its beautiful brick oven taste and texture.
Now I know what you may be thinking…did they finish it all…of course not. My wife had one slice of the pizza and half of her Chicken Piccata and I finished my entree and after a light dessert packed everything we didn’t eat to go. Tomorrow will be another day for us to enjoy Bertucci’s this time at home after another day of shopping. After all, there are so many deals in the store now that we simply have to go out one more big day to find them all.
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention their wonderful manager on duty that night, Andrea Anselmi, a beautiful and charming woman who greeted us and made sure we were happy with the food and the service, of course we were. Once again, Bertucci’s stands out as one of our favorite casual Pizza and Italian specialty restaurants and we will continue to return there often. After all they are in the same center as my favorite retail store Costco.
2847 Highway 35
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Phone: 732-264-2422 Fax: 732-335-9874
M-Th: 11am – 10pm
Fr-Sat: 11am – 11pm
Sun: 11am – 10pm
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