DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza of Raritan celebrates 100 years

Written by MyCentralJersey.com on 12/19/17

When Constantino DeLucia, an Italian immigrant, opened a bread bakery on First Avenue in Raritan in 1917, he probably wouldn’t have guessed that his brick bread oven would still be in use in 2017 by his great-grandson, Christian DeLucia.

However, three million pizzas later, the DeLucias are still cooking up pizza in that same oven in the site which became DeLucia’s Brick Over Pizza in the early 1950s, evolving to capitalize on America’s pizza craze.

“There’s not many places in this country that have been through four generations in 100 years,” said DeLucia, who lives in Raritan. “My great-grandfather would be ecstatic and very proud.”

Courtesy of DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza

Cooking the exact same way that his great-grandfather did, DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza is known for its pizzas which sport a slightly different flavor from the norm due to their bread oven cooking — this makes the crust taste like “the crunchy exterior of Italian bread,” said DeLucia.

Costantino wanted to cook his products with a clean source of fuel so he decided to heat his brick oven with oil as opposed to coal. The technique required that the oven be warmed up for four hours.

When the heating ends, the cooking can start since the bricks then get to work. This method is still used today, and also contributes to the unique taste of DeLucia’s pies.

Courtesy of DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza

The most popular pies at DeLucia’s are the plain and Italian sausage pies, with the Italian sausage cooked atop the pizza from raw to completion. These pies — ranging from a $7 small pie to a $15 large Sicilian pie with toppings going for $1.50 for each small pie and $2.25 for each large pie — are served to more than 500 weekly customers. Toppings range from bacon to broccoli rabe.

DeLucia’s also wholesales frozen cheese pies to Flemington, Greenwich and Clinton ShopRites as well as various local bars, convenience stores, American Legions and other organizations.

In a humble format, DeLucia said that the pizzeria doesn’t use any “crazy toppings,” yet clearly, this wasn’t needed to ensure the local staple’s success.

Courtesy of DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza

DeLucia, who grew up visiting his grandfather’s pizzeria with his father on Saturday mornings, started working at DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza when he was in high school. He took over following his father Allie’s passing in 2015. Founder Constantino passed in 1978 and Christian’s grandfather, Joe, passed in 1989.

“My dad told me in high school, ‘You have two options — you can work for someone else or you can work for me. Gas has got to get in your vehicle,’” DeLucia recalled with a laugh.

Since the business was founded, Christian said that DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza hasn’t changed very much — they still use the original dough bins and assembly table that were used when it first opened after Constantino immigrated to the U.S. after being born in Naples in 1886.

Courtesy of DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza

Constantino’s portrait hangs in the wall of the 40-seat dining room, perhaps keeping a lookout that his 100-year-old traditions will continue to live in for the next 100.

DeLucia’s Brick Oven Pizza

Where: 3 First Ave, Raritan

Phone: 908-725-1322

Website: deluciasbrickovenpizza.com

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