Hot House Pizza: A Southwest Hoboken Gem

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There is just something about pizza that is simply mouth-watering. And Hoboken has no shortage of pizza places to satisfy any craving. Hot House Pizza has been serving delicious slices since 2014 and offers a unique dining experience through their indoor and outdoor seating, specifically the backyard garden oasis. You’ll find yourself fighting over the last slice while sipping on the drink of your choice at this BYOB spot. The thin-crust pie of your dreams awaits you, tucked away at 606 Second Street in between Jackson and Monroe in Hoboken. 

hot house pizza

{Photo credit: @hothousepizza}

Hot House’s Origins

Owner Ralph Gallo’s passion for pizza began long before he made the decision to open Hot House Pizza in 2014. At age 13, he was taken under the wing of Hoboken pizza legend Toni Percontino of Torna’s Pizzeria on 9th Street. Working there through high school, college, and into adulthood, he learned first hand the in’s and out’s of what it took to successfully run a restaurant in the Mile Square. As a third-generation Hobokenite, Ralph was born and raised in Hoboken and grew up on Monroe Street, just a few blocks away from his current establishment. His father is a retired Hoboken Fire Marshall and his mother works as a nurse. When asked what he aspired to be when he grew up, his answer was always a firefighter but fate happened to lead him in the direction of the restaurant industry. 

“When the opportunity arose it was a no-brainer,” Ralph said. “I was confident in my knowledge from Torna’s and knew exactly how I wanted to incorporate my ideas and spin on everything.”

See More: Bread and Salt in Jersey City: Pizza Dough for the Soul    

Inspiration for Hot House

“The story behind the garage is that there used to be a local bicycle club for neighborhood guys and they would host little salsa performances with singers like Frankie Ruiz, at least that’s what they said around town,” Ralph told HG.

Later, it became a furniture store and Ralph went into business with the owner to create what is now known as Hot House. With his own construction company, Ralph renovated the property and designed the layout himself. If you ever wondered what the story was behind the cozy, farmhouse-style decor, he simply decided to keep the old pieces of furniture and knickknacks leftover from the store and repurpose them into his countertops and shelves. 

“The previous owner had the Hot House sign hanging in front of her store already and so I thought, why not just keep the sign and add Pizzeria to the end of it?’

In 2016, Hot House won first place for the “Best Pizza in Hoboken” at the Saint Ann’s Italian Feast; and in late 2017, Ralph stepped away from the pizzeria and came back the following year under full ownership.

 “Coming back after stepping away for a year was a little nerve-wracking because I essentially had to start all over again,” Ralph explained. “I needed to figure out how to regain the interest of the previous customers, and not only rebuild what I had but further it, all while opening up Cafe Sophia at the same time.”

Cafe Sophia, on the corner at 200 Monroe Street, was named after his daughter who was born just a few months prior to opening. He and his wife Melissa took what used to be a candy store and created a different vibe from the pizzeria by going for a more modern, homey Italian bistro style. 

You could argue that the best part about Hot House is its spacious, beautifully decorated backyard area that will instantly make you feel as if you were transported to the Italian countryside. And yes, you could host your private party there. They have been the chosen venue of several reception dinners, bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, and more.

“It’s because of the good people that work here that made this successful comeback happen,” Ralph said.

The Menu

hot house pizza pie

{Photo credit: @hothousepizza}

Hot House is serving up classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. With a whopping 35 items on the menu, you can choose anything from generously sized calzones to sandwiches, pasta dishes, and artisan-style salads. With nine specialty pies to choose from, and everything costing $24 or less, you can’t go wrong. Some of the staples on the menu consist of house-baked wings, 16in -18in sandwiches made with fresh bread from Dom’s bakery, Sicilian square pie, and made-to-order calzones.  

“I think we’re a hidden gem, sort of a lost pizzeria in the sense that if you aren’t from this side of town, the other half doesn’t really know about us and the completely different dining experience we have to offer with our backyard seating. We have a true Hoboken feel, with a true Hoboken crowd,” Ralph said. 

When asked about his favorite part of doing business in Hoboken, Ralph said that it’s being from the Mile Square itself.

“Being able to say that I’m from Hoboken and that I can bring the experience I learned from working within the town, and love for the town and incorporate it in my food. Even the names of the pies reflect Hoboken street names: ‘The Monroe’ and ‘2nd Street.’ I love that I can share that with my customers.

Every business has a story. The story behind Hot House is told through the love of pizza and community — and a beautifully-crafted thin crust by true Hoboken locals.  Highly recommend this one-of-a-kind hidden gem.

Read More: The Best Hoboken Pizza Spots {According to Your Cravings}

Hours

Hot House is open Monday through Sunday from 11:00AM-10:00PM. 

Have you been to his local pizza shop yet? Let us know in the comments! 

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Victoria is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square and part-time in Jersey City. Through playing softball for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, Hoboken Fire Museum/Hoboken Historical Museum, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.


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