Running an unsuccessful blog is easy. Much like a literal asshole, I deal with food every day and have a shit outlook, so specializing in giving shitty opinions on food is a pretty natural fit. God has gifted me with the ability to eat and talk shit, which took me about 30 years to actualize. He’s also gifted me with a 6th graders understanding of math and the metabolism of a Karakoram glacier.
The hardest part about this blog is having to eat the meals needed to write something. For starters, I almost exclusively get shitty recommendations. “Go to this place, IT WAS FUCKING TERRIBLE!” is a recurring theme in my DMs, and I don’t want to actually have a bad meal or go to a known shitty restaurant. That’s not fun. I give myself one big gluttonous meal a week and I want to spend that somewhere I’ll likely leave fully erect and cartwheeling out the door.
More importantly, I – as I’m sure most of you can relate – often feel like there is a constant war of personal responsibility raging inside my head. On one side, my narrowing arteries and depleted finances; on the other, my desire to eat and drink out 7 nights a week. I have to quantify the price of going out in both calories and in dollars. And, again, I’m bad at math.
My inner monologue usually goes like this:
Do I want to go out and eat/drink something delicious? Yes.
Do I want to spend $120 every day to live like Caligula? I mean…
If I do this will I have my own show on TLC showcasing the realities of morbid obesity, complete with floral pattern mumu, a freshly greased reciprocating saw, and a team of concerned doctors plotting incision points on my anesthetized double-gut? Fine, you win.
When I look at Tony Boloney’s, it’s like staring into my own fleeting mortality and having my future’s evaporating black eyes stare back. In its reflection I see my family playfully chasing one another around the house. Fresh baked cookies and playful barks from our responsibly sized dog echo through our perfect little house. Our little Craftsman with a fresh coat of pale paint, tapered white columns and a goldenrod door, just like that one from House Hunters. The fresh tilled black garden beds with carefully plotted islands of azaleas throw little purple trumpets towards the river-rocks that border our lawn. My fresh pair of outlet mall New Balances soak through to my Gold Toes as I wash the pollen off my 2015 Camry. I see all of these things that I will never have because Daddy went full Gandolfini and stroked out mid-bite of his Skittles and Crisco pizza.
So, yeah, I’m trying to eat better. But since Tony’s just opened a JC location, I decided to take a vacation from the midnight showing of The Cell that is my inner-thoughts and go back to Tony’s to get a little fatter.
For anyone who has been drunk in Hoboken past 1AM or stopped doing coke early enough in Atlantic City to develop an appetite, Tony Boloney’s isn’t new to you. For newcomers, it’s the place you go to get slices of pizza with whacky toppings while you’re borderline blackout drunk. If Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights had a pizzeria, it would have a similar menu.
If you still don’t understand what I’m talking about, try this Tony Boloney’s item generator to get a sense of what’s on the menu. Huge shout out to tech maven @nicksahler for assisting in the creation of this thing. Go follow him, please. If you see him walking around in a VERY exclusive Nice Things shirt whisper something soft into his ear – something like “Halloumi“. Be extra breathy on the “oooh”.
Also, a huge fuck you to WordPress. I’d like to embed this sprightly little generator, but it requires an upgrade from my already premium account (don’t say I never did anything for you) to a $300+ business account. If anyone wants to give me $300 I’ll give you a shirt and some Halloumi. Anyways…
Restaurants should make good food. It’s almost impossible to be successful and make bad food, unless you’ve got some corporate conglomerate behind you. If you have 500 things on the menu, prepare to not do any of them well.
Tony Boloney’s food isn’t amazing, but it’s eccentric enough to warrant an order and can occasionally be deeply satisfying. Generally, its items deliver on its promise the way the bigger box of Crayola does on its colors. The Denim kind of looks like blue jeans, but more concentrated; Flamingo Pink, more or less, looks like a plastic lawn flamingo.
The Shitfaced, a New Brunswick grease truck dumped onto a pizza, is tasty but you know the deal after one bite. The Big Mac (as you can tell, I don’t know the kitschy name for any of these pizzas, but you’ll know wtf I’m talking about) is interesting. Using lettuce, pickles and tomatoes to contrast texture and temperature is creative and interesting….but I just want a burger now.
That’s how all the pizza goes: they’re facsimiles of the highlighted ingredient, but poor as a standalone with no context. If it’s a General Tso’s pizza, you’re going to get blasted with that familiar sweet chili sauce. If you get the Elote pizza, you’ll be biting into cream and corn.
With that said, don’t ever get a plain slice. It’s average and could easily be substituted for a $1 slice anywhere, plus, you’re also here for the goofy shit. Let yourself have fun.
Tony’s also specializes in comically over-priced specialty pies, like their lasanga-eqse Ramen Fuck Pie (I’M NOT RESEARCHING THESE FUCKING NAMES). This $90 argument for socialism is a collaboration pizza with Devour Power (the Osmond Twins of food narcissism) and Citibank (for the financing needed to procure the pie). Unrelated, but the Devour couple look like they’re from Florida – take that as you will.
In addition to this fuck-you pie, they’ve managed to take Gringo’s and dump it unceremoniously on top of a pizza. This has become the pie most synonymous with Tony Boloney’s and is a viral favorite. You’ve seen it 100 times in your feed “This New Jersey pizzeria puts tacos…….ON PIZZA!”
Look at this fucking thing. Which bite looks good? I hate an uneven burrito – all the meat on one side, a ton of rice in the middle, then cold ass guac and sour cream at the other end. At least half of this pizza is the worst bite of a bad burrito. And it’s $80.
Next, you’ve got some tacos on your slice. Is Tony Boloney’s known for their amazing tacos? Nope. When you order tacos, are you typically just getting meat and a random skeeting of a sauce? Nope. You’d never order a taco like this because you don’t want a taco like this. I appreciate that this exists, but you’re buying a gimmick.
Sometimes the image on IG matches its hype. The Ole Cheesesteak is fucking great and tastes like a refined version of the mystery hot goo in the center of many Taco Bell items, but with Mezcal marinated steak. It’s also comically on-brand, winning some Guy Fieri’s Cheesesteak Challenge Award and various other “notable” competitions that probably involve being called ‘brother’. As a side note, I really enjoyed the sub roll, which I was totally expecting them to skimp on.
It’s worth saying that the best part about Tony’s might not even be its whimsical pizza – the subs are pretty fucking great. I’d say they’re better than the pizza, which is odd because they’re pretty much just derivations of the pizza but thrown in a sub roll. You can get something equally as goofy and tastier, so if you’re looking for something more satisfying or the novelty has just worn off, stay in this section.
Sometimes the hype falls short. As someone who has spent 30+ years coming to terms with my own crippling lactose intolerance, dairy = pain. But Flamin’ Hot Cheetos mozzarella sticks sounded worth the next 6 hours of molten fist slowly rotating through my lower intestines.
And they definitely weren’t.
There’s not even a hint of Flamin’ Hot or Cheeto. False advertising. These were flat out bad. The truffle sticks and original we’re equally bad. All of the sticks were bad. I’m close to writing them off but might need re-examination after another 45 mins in the fryer.
The service was a bit of a shit show. Somehow early on a Friday night with little delivery traffic and even fewer sit-down customers there was almost no pizza ready to go. Everyone was very chill and very unorganized. Almost everything was gone or empty. The service is reminiscent of Burger King in a bad way.
Since its brand new I’m not really taking points off for this, but something you should know.
Tony Boloney’s is actually the type of stuff that should be on IG. You’re eating with your eyes and imagination here. French Onion Soup Pizza? Rigatoni Bolognese Burrito? What does that look like? What does that taste like? The existence of these items, regardless of its quality, is remarkable and warrants documentation.
Food doesn’t have to be serious, but it should be genuine. Tony’s doesn’t take itself seriously, and it shouldn’t. It’s genuinely irreverent and over-the-top, it’s unabashedly designed for drunken consumption. It wants to be fun and by making everything accessible (even those fuck you pizzas are available by the $10 slice) its actively trying to get it’s customers in on the joke. That’s the fun of it. It’s genuinely goofy and it is what it’s trying to be. This is why I like Tony’s.
- The buffalo chicken pizza
- YMMV on all other slices, but worth the try
- Hot Subs, especially the Ole
- Fuccboi Taco Pizza
- Ramen Pizza feat. Incestuous Floridians
- Anything delivered, check Yelp for a pretty prevalent trend of delivery disasters.
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