Zinburger: Clifton, NJ
BUCU Burger Bar & Bakery: Paramus, NJ [CLOSED]

Homemade Pizza Company: Ridgewood, NJ - [CLOSED]


Homemade Pizza Company in Ridgewood has closed.

UPDATE:  Please find an update below in red.

New Jersey is overrun with mediocre pizza. --Look at my sad life.  One sentence in and I'm already annoyed-- You know the pizza I'm talking about:  the popular stuff. Just this morning we passed Puzo's in Ridgewood and the missus asked "how can that place still be in business."  The answer, which I grumpily mumbled (it was early and pre-coffee, which means I was even more grumpy than usual) is simple:  it's a crappy pizza place, and people flock to mediocrity.  They demand it.  Why be challenged when it's easier and more comforting to be spoon fed familiarity?   

I skip just about all pizza in this area, expect for A Mano, Ah'Pizz, Nellie's, and Pizza Town. These are exceptional in their class.  Other than those handful of places and a few other notables, I make pizza at home.  Lots pizza.  Almost every week. Have been for several years.  Dats a lot of pie, and a lot of mistakes.  Successes, occasionally. 

Along side of those crappy places comes a pizza place that is hoping to stand out.

Homemade Pizza Company, a small chain which opened an outpost in the old Cheese Shop spot on Ridgewood Ave in Ridgewood, seems to be fitting into a niche that it may very well be creating:  quality ingredients on a pizza that you bake at home.  I suspect this approach will appeal to some folks who find it a novetly, or appreciate the convenience of buying a raw pizza and baking it at home, but who don't want to be bothered to doing it all themselves. Especially if the perception (or reality) of "quality" speaks to them.  

Since we had a filling and incredible dim sum and offal extrvaganza at Chengdu 23 in the afternoon, one which could carry us through the evening if necessary, we figured it was a good day to take Homemade Pizza Company for a test drive.  So to the website I went!

I'm not sure if you can call to order, but who would want to when you can just go to their website.  The mandatory registration is a bit annoying, but it's 2011, <mini-rant, right in the middle of sentence>and if you don't have a few disposable email addresses that you use for such things then you probably shouldn't be on the internet to begin with.  I'd say the same thing if it was 1997, when you were still using AOL.</mini-rant, right in the middle of sentence>

I ordered a large pizza, with thyme, basil, sausage, sauce, and mozz.  Nothing too crazy. The website calculates the total (17 dollars and change) and tells you when to pick it up.  30 minutes later I picked up the pizza at the store (they also deliver).

The store is bright and clean, with a couple of young workers looking professional enough.  Very pleasant.  But I do miss the Cheese Shop.


The pizza comes fully assembled, loosly wrapped in plastic wrap, on parchment paper and on a piece of cardboard for stability.  This cardboard also, cleverly, acts as a peel to load and unload the pizza.


Now the fun part.  The instructions are pretty clear, and they say to put the pizza in a preheated 425 degree oven (not on convection), for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the cheese is bubbling. You're supposed to cook the pizza on the parchment paper that it comes on, right on the rack.  This is of course counter-intuative to anyone who spends much time thinking about cooking pizza (which generally demands high heat, hot pizza stone, quick cooking times).  But, in the interest of conducting a proper test, duplicating what the average home cook would do, I followed the instructions, blindly. 

To my dismay. 

EDITED TO ADD:  I had a discussion with the founder of Homemade Pizza Co, to try to troubleshoot the obvious issue with my attempt. He reached out to me after seeing this post.  

Although I thought I followed the directions exactly, I failed to put the pizza toward the bottom of the oven, which the directions specify.  On bake mode, heat will radiate from the bottom of the oven, which will cause the pizza's crust to cook at the same rate as the top when the pie is closer to the bottom than the top.  The founder assured me that with the pizza a few inches from the floor of the oven, rather than in the middle where I had put it, the crust would be perfect.  I'm going to give this another shot and amend this post with the results (assuming I'm able to follow the directions!).  So for now, take the below results for what they are:  the result of someone not paying close enough attention.


The pizza looked done after 15 minutes.  The edges of the crust were getting crispy and dry, the toppings were hot and bubbling.  It was go time...or so I thought.


Unfortunately, cooking pizza on parchment paper on a rack isn't a very good idea.  I can't imagine how you'd ever get a crispy crust with this method, unless it's on a hot pizza stone, rather than on the rack.  The directions don't mention a stone, but I suspect they should.  The bottom of this pizza was essentially raw.  No color at all. Like a white pillow. Any more time in the oven and the edges would have been burned and dry.  



While the crust was undercooked, the toppings were actually pretty good.  This isn't the oily, greasy cheese and sausage you'll find at the corner place. Definitely a step or two up. Since the crust was inedible, I scooped the toppings off and had a snack of those.  Not bad at all.

I have to think that this raw crust was some sort of anomaly.  There's no way that people would eat this. But before you start blaming the cook, and I realize that's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, I should note that my oven functions very well, and I know a thing or two about cooking and pizza making (but nearly as much as I'd like). So I really have no idea how someone else would get a better result following those instructions, other than cooking it longer than the recommended 15 minutes (at which point I would think the edges would be very dry).


The cornicion is somehow thinner than the rest of the crust

The next time I try Homemade Pizza Co., if there is a next time, I'll put the pizza on a hot stone.  I can't help but wonder what would have been had I done that this time.  I'm going to say something a bit out of character here, but: I think it'll be pretty damned tasty.  

But ultimately if you really want to make homemade pizza, just do it:











Homemade Pizza Company : 134 East Ridgewood Ave : Ridgewood, NJ : and other locations