TOMS RIVER, NJ – With dining indoors banned in New Jersey but allowed in neighboring Pennsylvania, we’re going to take a look at some great dining spots on the other side of the Delaware River in a new series, “Outlaw Dining”.
Outlaw dining is the act of crossing the state line to engage in activity that is deemed illegal by order of the Governor of New Jersey. In the past, New Jerseyeans would cross the border for fireworks. Now, they are crossing the border for something for more nefarious…dinner.
We happened to pass Acqua e Farina last weekend and they caught our attention with their “wood fired” pizza sign. We found out this place opened in 2017 and the name literally means “Water and Flour” in Italian. Owners Pasquale and Anna Palino opened the pizzeria after operating the very successful Vecchia Osteria nearby and they serve a Neapolitan Pizza menu that is outrageously delicious and fresh.
Pizza here is sold by the pie, made in their 700-degree wood-fired oven, that was also built in Italy.
After being locked out of restaurants for nearly five months, being able to sit down in a nice clean establishment, under the state’s strict COVID-19 guidelines was a very satisfying and refreshing experience. To be served without the heat, humidity, bugs, wind and the elements and to be served by a great waitress is just something we’re not accustomed to anymore. Sure, outdoor dining serves its purpose to allow New Jersey restaurants to survive, but c’mon, who really wants to eat in the middle of a parking lot on folding chairs and a folding table?
The staff was well masked and courteous and very friendly to outside visitors. It was a very nice and comfortable experience. The Neopolitan pizzas were great. We went with the Margherita and a white sausage and mushroom pie. Both were fantastic, fresh and tasty. They also served us a fried calzone made with salami, not ham which is traditionally used here in Jersey.
There’s only two indoor tables at Acqua e Farina, in accordance with state guidelines, but if you happen to be in the area, we’d definitely recommend it as an outlaw dining destination.