New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, treat your date to a second helping of pie. Pizza, that is.

After so many days, the last thing anyone wants is another turkey sandwich with a side of leftovers. The flavors of Thanksgiving are amazing, but they’re not supposed to last forever. You and your date are ready for a fresh taste to hit your palates — something spicy, hot and Italian.

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Going out for pizza makes for the perfect post-Thanksgiving date night because it’s on the opposite spectrum of what you’ve been eating. The crispy crust and the savory sauce is exactly what the doctor ordered. 

Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night that’s hot with all the toppings.

The Skinny on the Thin Crust

Lombardi’s in Cedar Grove has been serving up pizza since 2002 and are well known for their thin crust.  Crispy and tasty, you can’t go wrong with just a pepperoni, but the choices of toppings are extensive.  Perhaps you and your date would like to try their burrata pizza (topped with prosciutto, fried basil, burrata cheese and red pepper flakes) or their Artichoke oreganata Pizza (topped with sautéed artichoke hearts in a lemon garlic white wine sauce mixed with bread crumbs). 

Lombardi’s also offers a whole wheat crust pizza and a gluten-free option as well.  Be sure to save room for dessert, as the made-to-order cannolis are fantastic!

For more information on the Lombardi’s, visit their website at

Hot Out of the Brick Oven

With the fast pace of the holiday season upon us, Ava’s Kitchen and Bar is the perfect place to unwind and refresh.  Located in Kenilworth, their bar alone is a great reason to visit.  With 32 beers on tap and a long list of craft whisky, spirits and cocktails on the ready, you and your date won’t be thirsty. 

When it comes to pizza, you’re going to love what comes out of the brick oven.  The classic Guanciale Amatrcianna with pork jowl, stewed tomatoes, aged pecorino and fresh parsley is sure to impress.  Other choices include the meatball (topped with plum tomato sauce, ricotta salata, meatballs and fresh basil) and the speck (topped with gruyere, potato, rosemary and speck).  Vegetarian options are also available, such as the sweety heat (topped with sweety drop peppers, goat chesse, roasted cipollinis and fresh basil).

For more information about Ava’s Kitchen and Bar, visit

Cozy and Romantic

When it comes to an amazing experience only to be surpassed by flavorful perfection, Bivio in Montclair doesn’t disappoint. This family-owned restaurant is small in size but large in taste. Their pizzas are created in Neapolitan tradition using “00” flour from Naples, San Marzzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt and fior di latte and mozzarella di bufala cheeses. 

The dough is mixed using a 20-year old natural yeast culture (lieveto madre) and baked in a custom-made wood-burning oven at intense heat for about 90 seconds. Bivio offers daily specials, but you can’t go wrong with their fan favorites including the porcini (porcini mushrooms, San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt) or the Filetti (fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, fresh garlic, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt).  Bivio doesn’t accept reservations, nor do they offer delivery or take-away — it’s meant to be experienced and well worth the wait.

For more information on Bivio please visit

The Best Staten Island Import

What started as a confectionary store in 1923 led to a pool hall next door, which went straight to serving up some of the best pizza in New York. If you grew up in Staten Island, it’s a given you had many pizzas at Dinino’s.  Thankfully as their business expanded, they included New Jersey locations in Brick and Manahawkin. 

Their signature thin crust and homemade sauce are truly stand-alone greatness, so regardless of the topping you can’t go wrong. Their M.O.R. pie (meatballs, fresh onions and ricotta) would be a great choice for your date, as would the garbage pie (sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, mushrooms and onions). Their white pie (fresh onions, garlic, olive oil and cheese with no sauce) is not to be missed.

For more information on Dinino’s, visit

Who Gets the Last Slice?

As we enter into the holiday season, we find ourselves with full plates. Lots of parties, many family obligations and of course quite a bit of shopping to do. There’s so much to do you can’t think, but it’s very important that in all the hustle and bustle you remember the most important slice in your pizza of life. 

Taking time with your other half during the holiday season is honestly the best way to enjoy the festivities.  Going on a date night and focusing on each other and the couple you are, you’ll discover that the holiday lights are a little brighter and your hearts are quite a bit lighter. 

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write. Author of The 49th Challenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery. To learn more about Craig, visit

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date?  Tell Craig all about it at


More Date Night Ideas:

Get Lost in the Game at These Sports Bars

The Paranormal Date

Delightful Delis

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