Gravel and tomato lead to a path for a great Hike and Slice™

Finally, our first Hike and Slice™ of the season. We wanted to accomplish one each month but weather and schedules have gotten in the way. Such is life. Alan has a list of well-known pizza places so we worked backwards and picked the pizza first and then found a hike. This time it’s De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies in Robbinsville and the hike would be at the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park in Kingston, New Jersey.

The D&R Canal in the Rocky Hill section of the towpath.

The D&R Canal State Park runs 70 miles from New Brunswick to Bulls Island. For half of the trail it spans between both New Jersey and Pennsylvania and winds through many towns including Princeton, Trenton, Lambertville, and New Hope, PA.. It also passes through historical places such as Washington Crossing State Park. According to their website it “is one of Central New Jersey’s most popular recreational corridors for canoeing, jogging, hiking, bicycling, fishing and horseback riding.”

A few years ago, during one of our first dates, we went to Lambertville and strolled along the D&R Canal, but that’s a story for another day.

We started our trek at the Rocky Hill parking area which is just north of Princeton. The gravel parking lot had a handful of cars in it. We walked over a bridge to get to the trail and decided to head south for our out and back 3.1 mile hike. Now to call it a hike might be a stretch. The path is straight and flat. For the most part it’s small gravel and there are some parts that have some larger rocks but it’s easy to navigate. 

The D&R Canal is great for walking, running, and biking.

As we walked there were a handful of other people out and enjoying the overcast day. Several people on bikes rode up and down, some walkers, a few runners, and one adorable little French Bulldog. The side of the canal we were on had the canal to the left and the Millstone River on the right. There is also a path on the other side of the canal where we also saw people enjoying the path. We saw some turtles sunbathing on the tree branches in the water and heard some creatures in the brush but that’s as far as the wildlife goes.

Turtles hanging out on the D&R Canal

It was a pretty and peaceful walk although the brown water in both the canal and the parallel river is a constant reminder that you are in New Jersey. We walked for about 1.6 miles because we wanted to see if there was a cross over to walk back on the other side of the canal but no luck. So we just turned around and headed back.

Always have to get in the 5k…made it over the 3.1 miles along the D&R Canal.

This path is ideal for families as it is flat and straight so you can see the kids when they run ahead of you. It’s also easy for strollers as it’s not too bumpy. We’ll definitely go back with our bikes before it gets too hot and too crowded. 

De Lorenzo’s in Robbinsville is about a 25-minute drive from the part of the D&R that we explored. They open at 4 p.m. so we had a half hour to kill before they opened. They are located in a shopping complex so we parked and went into Dolce & Clemente’s Gourmet Italian Market to kill some time. This place made us even more hungry than we already were. Italian delicacies, cheeses, coldcuts, salads, coffee, and desserts as far as the eye could see. I have to say I would travel the 40 minutes to shop there. Anyway, back to the pizza.

Some Italian distractions at Dolce’s and Clemente’s Gourmet Italian Market.

We still had another 10 minutes so we went to sit in the car when we saw a couple of people waiting outside the door of De Lorenzo’s. We just figured…ok…whatever they’re just hungry. Then a few more people got in line and we panicked. Was this place that popular? Was it small and filled up quickly? What’s the deal here? Well we weren’t gonna wait to find out. We got in line at 3:52 p.m. with about a dozen people in front of us and quickly thereafter was another dozen behind us when they opened the door at 4.

What’s with the line in front of De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies?

According to their website, Alexander “Chick” De Lorenzo opened De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies in Trenton in 1947. They opened the Robbinsville restaurant in 2007 while still operating the Trenton location. In 2012 the Trenton establishment was closed permanently and in 2018 opened a third location in Yardley, PA.

De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies established in Trenton in 1947.

We were greeted with a friendly acknowledgement and seated immediately. The inside of the Robbinsville restaurant is brick-walled and all of the servers are dressed in black pants and white dress shirts, like an upscale restaurant. The menu is on the table and is very straight forward – eight salads to choose from as an appetizer and only one (1) pizza…the tomato pie. (It’s not pizza…it’s tomato pie)

You can choose the small or large size pie which is described on the menu as “thin, crisp, with a slight char on the crust.” There are numerous topping options that can be added such as artichokes, homemade meatballs, and cherry peppers.

Please note, they do not serve grated cheese. Hmmmm ok.

We’re basic when doing a Hike & Slice so we just went for the small plain tomato pie.

As we sat there we noticed people coming in without a wait and being seated right away, so why was there a line? This is still puzzling.

The tomato pie came out and it looked amazing. But it was cut weird. Like in rectangles, not in pie-shaped pieces. What’s up with that? Is there a reason behind it? Is it some kind of tradition? So many questions.

De Lorenzo’s famous tomato pie cut into somewhat different shaped slices?

The crust was super thin and crispy. So crispy that Alan couldn’t cut it. Cause God forbid he gets his hands dirty. Well he had no choice this time.

It was a true tomato pie in that there wasn’t a lot of cheese and there were chunks of tomatoes on it. The sauce was sweet and it wasn’t greasy at all. It was delicious. Because the crust was thin and there wasn’t a lot of cheese, we were able to devour the entire pie with no leftovers.

The staff was courteous and attentive and the restaurant was clean and inviting. The tomato pie was excellent and I would highly recommend De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies.

We’re off to a good start with this season’s first Hike and Slice™.

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