Brothers Ciro and Tony Baldino grew up on a small island near Capri. They immigrated to New Jersey and bought Conte’s in 1982. The Princeton institution has occupied its current location since 1957. They eventually recruited sister-in-law Angela to help run the place. Conte’s original owner was Angela’s husband’s uncle’s father-in-law. The details are a little fuzzy, but there’s only one thing you need to know: Conte’s offers a very good version of neighborhood New Jersey pizza.
Conte’s is located just south of Nassau Street, in what was once the Conte family home, a light stone building with a killer sign. The pizzeria was featured in “A Beautiful Mind,” the bio-pic about mathematician John Nash, who still tutors Princeton grad students.
My cousin made sure to order ahead, knowing how jammed Conte’s gets at lunch. He went with his family favorite: a large pepperoni pizza ($16).
This was the first stop in a 48-hour, five-pizzeria tour of New Jersey and New York City. We found better pizza later in the weekend, but Conte’s was a good start. This was the kind of pizza I remember eating growing up in northern New Jersey, but a notch better.