New Jersey houses some fierce competition in the pizza department. But when it comes to thin-crust, bar-style pies, a lot of people would say the best is made at Star Tavern. Located at 400 High Street in Orange, New Jersey, this landmark pizza joint has been a neighborhood staple for generations, drawing a band of loyalists who swear by the “The Star”. Keep reading for all of the details on what makes Star Tavern one of the most coveted pizzerias in the state.
About The Star
Star Tavern has been in business for over 75 years. The Star is now owned by Gary Vayianos, whose father bought the pizzeria in 1980. As Gary told Vice when he appeared on “The Pizza Show” a few years ago, his family took over the business the same year that he graduated Seton Hall Law School. Even though he had a corporate law job in those early years, he still worked in the pizza kitchen every Friday night.
While the tavern has gotten a facelift or two over the years, its ultra-thin pizza and warm, neighborhood feel have remained constant. Whether you’re a regular or a newcomer, there’s an immediate sense of familiarity when you walk in. It’s not uncommon to find a local at the bar whose family has been frequenting the pizzeria for generations. Its history is apparent and may bring on nostalgia for your own hometown eatery.
All of this sets the perfect backdrop for the true star — the pizza. After all, there’s a reason why Star Tavern was the winner of New Jersey Monthly’s pizza category for nearly 20 years, or why it’s been covered by the likes of Bon Appetit and The New York Times.
One of the best things about thin-crust pizza is that you can eat twice as many slices as normal before getting full, which makes way for trying different types of pies. The Regular with marina and cheese is of course a must-try, alongside other house favorites like White Clam, Pesto, Buffalo Chicken, Eggplant (— and might we suggest spending the extra $2 for the ricotta), and White Spinach. Go with a group and order some variation of these (or all of them!) for a nice combination of flavors.
Since the sauce, cheese, and toppings are cooked all the way to the edges of the pie, it’s unlikely that there will be anything left on your plate when you’re done. The pizzas, especially the ones loaded with toppings, are best cooked well done to ensure a solid slice.
Other menu items include appetizers, salads, and some entrees and house specialties. If you’re looking for something to kick your meal off with, don’t sleep on the buffalo wings. The menu has a Scampi variation that’s top-notch. MG pro tip: save whatever Scampi sauce is leftover on the plate to use as a pizza dipper. Star Tavern also has a full-service bar – don’t be surprised if you get the urge to order a few pitchers of beer to pair with your pizza. For dessert, try the Apple Pie pizza with thin-sliced apples, walnuts, butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
Star Tavern is open Sunday and Monday from 11AM to 9PM, and Tuesday through Saturday from 11AM to 10PM. They don’t accept reservations, so just show up, get in line (it moves quickly even on the weekends), and grab yourself a table or booth.