Food & Drink

Guest Column

Guest Column: The Best Area Pizza is in a Route 27 Strip Mall

cf25a94792b883156359_luca_pizza_2.jpg
LucAndréa Bettola's Margherita pizza consists of organic tomato sauce, basil, organic extra virgin olive oil and imported fior di latte fresh mozzarella. Credits: Devin Healey
8362aa985d41dd11545a_luca_pizza_1.jpg
Chef Andrea Di Meglio works some magic in the kitchen of Luca's Ristorante. Credits: Devin Healey
cf25a94792b883156359_luca_pizza_2.jpg

There's something to be said about eating something you've had maybe a thousand times, only to feel like you're eating it for the first time. This is how I felt while sampling two different pizzas from Luca's Ristorante, or rather their "Neapolitan brick oven artisan pizza" affiliate, LucAndréa Bettola. Both joints are discreetly tucked away in a nondescript strip mall on Route 27 in Somerset—and their food is worth the short trip from New Brunswick.

I've lived within walking distance of Luca's for almost two years and driven past it dozens of times. I'm pretty sure people have even recommended it, but until a few months ago I simply hadn't taken the time to check it out. Eventually, my girlfriend and I walked over to pick up some pasta to binge on while binge-watching “Master of None” (it seemed appropriate…love you, pasta). Spoiler alert: The food was just as incredible as the second season of the critically acclaimed Netflix show.

Luca’s Ristorante and LucAndréa Bettola are the brainchildren of chef Andrea Di Meglio, a Best Chef in America nominee in both 2014 and ’15. Just perusing the menus of both the main restaurant and the brick oven pizzeria, you can tell he treats every thoughtful dish with love and artful dedication.

Sign Up for E-News

On our second traipse to this Italian trattoria, we decided to sample some of their brick oven pizzas. At 12 inches, they can certainly be considered a “personal pie”—though any pizza is a personal pizza if you believe in yourself—so we decided to sample two. There was the classic Margherita and its organic tomato sauce, basil, organic extra virgin olive oil and imported fior di latte fresh mozzarella, and then the mouthwatering Fungo and its truffled mushrooms, ricotta, herbs and, again, the imported fior di latte fresh mozzarella.

Fungo. Photo credit: Devin Healey

As I mentioned above, these two pizzas were so lovingly crafted, so perfectly cooked, with just the right crunch on the crust, and so artfully prepared with the freshest ingredients, it was truly like tasting pizza for the first time.

Both were devoured fresh and hot, seconds were consumed later while cold and leftovers reheated over the next few days. (In the oven, though, because pizza this good deserves better than the microwave.) Each time was a different experience, and each taste was as delicious as the very first bite.

Living in the tri-state area, I've been spoiled by some of the best pizza in the country. But I can confidently say that from now on, whenever I'm home, I will never order pizza from another local spot. Unless I'm too hungover to pick it up. (Please deliver to me, Luca’s. I’m literally a three-minute walk.)

Needless to say, I'm #blessed to have such a diamond in the rough literally in my own backyard. And although I've never been in for a full meal, it won't be long. Oh and did I mention it's BYOB? So be sure to bring some great Italian reds with you and keep that Yellowtail garbage at home.

Devin Healey knows food and drink. In addition to writing columns for TAPinto New Brunswick, he runs a blog network called CougEats. You can find more of his work on Facebook and Instagram.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Franklin Township: Tuesday Game Night Party - Family Style board and other games

June 24, 2018

A FUN NIGHT: A GAME NIGHT: A PARTY NIGHT: A SOCIAL AFFAIR.

SOMERSET, NJ - DNA's Music will be hosting its weekly 'Tuesday Game Night Party' at De Island Breeze at 676 Franklin Boulevard, doors open at 6:30 pm. 

Organizers say the weekly event is a night to socialize with friends while engaging in logical and strategic, or not so strategic games.

"This is not only a ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

June 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

'Luggage Factory' Could Be Hunterdon's First Pot Shop

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A question about opening a marijuana dispensary on Route 202-31 has prompted officials here to consider whether they want such businesses in the township.

An informal inquiry was made to the township’s Planning and Zoning Department about locating such a business in the former Luggage Factory building, Mayor Mike Mangin said at Tuesday’s Township Committee ...

Edison Police Seek Help Finding Missing 14-Year-Old

EDISON, NJ - A 14-year-old Edison girl who ran away from home on May 3 has yet to be found and police are asking anyone with information about her to come forward.

Edison detectives are leading a statewide search for the girl, Jalaysia Staplar-Evans. They believe she could be staying with friends or acquaintances in Newark or the Essex County area, said Edison Police Lt. Robert ...

Police Issue Alert for Missing New Brunswick Girl (FOUND)

Update: According to New Brunswick Police Department Capt. JT Miller, Tomesell has been located.  

NEW BRUNSWICK - Police today issued a plea for the public’s help in finding a missing 13-year-old girl.

Payton Tomesell, was last seen on Wednesday at 18 Abeel St., authorities said.

The girl suffers from anxiety and depression, and is taking medication, police ...

Bridgewater Police: Avoid Mall for Ongoing Police Investigation

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

Keep checking back for more information.

Related article: Bridgewater Mall Shut Down ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

Read: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Talks Gun Violence, School Safety, ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

June 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

'Luggage Factory' Could Be Hunterdon's First Pot Shop

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A question about opening a marijuana dispensary on Route 202-31 has prompted officials here to consider whether they want such businesses in the township.

An informal inquiry was made to the township’s Planning and Zoning Department about locating such a business in the former Luggage Factory building, Mayor Mike Mangin said at Tuesday’s Township Committee ...

Edison Police Seek Help Finding Missing 14-Year-Old

EDISON, NJ - A 14-year-old Edison girl who ran away from home on May 3 has yet to be found and police are asking anyone with information about her to come forward.

Edison detectives are leading a statewide search for the girl, Jalaysia Staplar-Evans. They believe she could be staying with friends or acquaintances in Newark or the Essex County area, said Edison Police Lt. Robert ...

Hillsborough: Rain or Shine the Show Goes on at Sourland Music Festival

June 22, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The music always plays on at the Sourland Music Festival - rain or shine.

There is a chance of rain in Saturday's forecast, but the show will go on.

Organizers suggest Consider bringing a pop-up, umbrellas and towels with your beach chair and refillable water bottle. Rain did not dampen the spirits of 2017 Sourland Music Fest guests - it provided unplanned ...

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Opening ReStore in Manville

MANVILLE, NJ - Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is opening a Habitat ReStore in the Marketplace at Manville, next to Walmart on North Main Street in Manville, this fall.

At the store, RVHFH will pick up gently used furniture and goods from Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, and give them a second life at the store's grand opening.

To schedule a time for RVHFH to pick ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Hillsborough: Rain or Shine the Show Goes on at Sourland Music Festival

June 22, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The music always plays on at the Sourland Music Festival - rain or shine.

There is a chance of rain in Saturday's forecast, but the show will go on.

Organizers suggest Consider bringing a pop-up, umbrellas and towels with your beach chair and refillable water bottle. Rain did not dampen the spirits of 2017 Sourland Music Fest guests - it provided unplanned ...

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Opening ReStore in Manville

MANVILLE, NJ - Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is opening a Habitat ReStore in the Marketplace at Manville, next to Walmart on North Main Street in Manville, this fall.

At the store, RVHFH will pick up gently used furniture and goods from Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, and give them a second life at the store's grand opening.

To schedule a time for RVHFH to pick ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...