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36. Napoli's

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

Classification: Traditional

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey

Saturday morning cartoons were a semi-sacred ritual in the suburban 1970s, and a significant portion of one's social status came from the Monday morning schoolyard discourse when reviewing recent programming. Of course, now it's easy to see that we were being led unsuspectingly into the inner sanctum of consumerism at an early age, but back then, the commercial temptations being introduced every 8-10 minutes were inspiring, with toys, games, and breakfast cereals perpetually jockeying for position in our still-forming brains. One of the ringleaders of my personal cerebral occupation was Quisp cereal, a delightful alien-themed blend of sugar, corn syrup, and Niacin and Thiamine, and formed into tiny spacecraft-shaped bowls. And Mom stocked our cupboards with it as frequently as modern parents bring home kale and Greek yogurt from the co-op. It was a great time to be alive.

I was reminded of this when visiting Napoli's, a long-time Jersey tradition, whose pepperoni discs transformed into a Quispish-like bowl shape when fully heated. The end result was pleasing on several levels, as a stand-alone topping, but also as a conduit to memories of a simpler time in life. Lunchtime was a standard two slices and a drink for around $6, and the cupped-pepperoni pizza was very good, and served in a pleasing dining room located in the center of the town's historic district. After lunch, my quickie tour of Hoboken was made complete by visiting Elysian Fields, the site of the first organized baseball game in 1846, just a few blocks away. (The Knickerbockers won 23-1.)

As it turned out, Napoli's was a fantastic host as I looped together the pre-Civil War years with the Space Age and today's Era of Assorted Insanities. Nothing can bind together the generations quite like a good pizza. It's a great time to be alive. (8 of 10 stars)

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