60-year-old recipe brings thin crust pizza back to life

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By JENNIFER AMATO
Staff Writer

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — At 11 a.m., the doors officially opened.

Just two minutes prior, the first customer walked into the pizzeria. After perusing the menu, he ordered a large pepperoni to go.

Simultaneously, the phone rang and another order for a 9-inch pepperoni pizza was taken.

Seemingly seconds later, another phone order came in for a 14-inch pepperoni pizza.

Within five minutes, The Original Thin Crust Pizza Company was already gaining popularity in the Dayton section of South Brunswick.

Adjacent to Indian Fields at Dayton school on Georges Road and surrounded by quaint residential neighborhoods, the restaurant opened on Feb. 1 to the delight of owners Matt and Debbie Verney.

“As a senior in high school, the woman across the street from my house asked my mother if I needed a job because her family ran the kitchen at this dive place on Bordentown Avenue in East Brunswick called Pete’s Bar. Within a year the family bought a bar and grill in Old Bridge on Englishtown Road, Cantore’s. I worked at what was then Vitale’s Bar and Grill through the rest of high school, college and some after college. In total, I worked in the kitchen for about 10 years,” Matt Verney said.

“I started experimenting with the pizza recipe in the early 2000s at home for my young, growing family and finally hit on all cylinders. I’d make it on occasion for dinner or when we’d have company and was told I should open a pizza shop. But since I was already in an accounting career, I was content with cooking them for family and friends. Fast-forward to about a year ago, nearly to the day, I was given notice that my job with GE was being outsourced overseas. I figured if I ever wanted to take a chance on something, it was now.”

To establish a business in their hometown of South Brunswick, where they have raised their three children since 1996, the Verneys decided to look at the former Frankie’s Cafe.

“The more people I got feedback from about bringing this style pie back, I noticed the core wasn’t necessarily in the Old Bridge/East Brunswick area so I put an inquiry in to the building owner that we’re in and we were able to hammer out a very fair deal,” Matt Verney said.

Using the Vitale family recipe that is more than 60 years old, The Original Thin Crust will continue to offer the classic thin pizza pie.

“Since I’ve been talking about opening this restaurant, a lot of comments to me are that, ‘I love thin crust pizza’ but no one around this area sells it. It’s less carbs and it lets the sauce and the toppings dominate the taste rather than a big, pillowy crust,” Matt Verney said.

Accompanying Italian staples Matt Verney has developed over the years are new additions such as pulled pork sandwiches, a Cuban sandwich, a fish special and Marsala chicken wings, he said, under the direction of Head Chef Jose Orellano.

“I have three very talented chefs who attended culinary schools including Instituto Culinario de Mexico, The Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University. They bring palettes and flavors from their learning but also from their lives. Even though the name of the restaurant pushes our pizza, the guys in the kitchen are delivering a whole lot more,” Matt Verney said.

The Original Thin Crust Pizza Company features a 40-seat main dining room, separate party room, 3,000-square-foot banquet facility downstairs and outdoor seating in the warm weather.

Catering is an option, and delivery is currently available to Dayton and Monmouth Junction.

The address is 304 Georges Road, Dayton section of South Brunswick. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 732-823-1471 or visit theoriginalthincrustpizzacompany.com or the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@gmnews.com.