Home Food + Drink Rosario’s: A Longstanding Pizza Haven in Hoboken

Rosario’s: A Longstanding Pizza Haven in Hoboken

by Stephanie Vermillion
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When John Karacica brought his signature pizza recipe to the corner of 12th and Willow, he didn’t expect it to take off so wildly. It was 1996, and while he had experience in the restaurant business, this was his first time entering the “big leagues.” He wanted to bring Rosario’s to the Mile Square City so he could serve up his pies among the best of the food industry.

Rosarios at Willow outside

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Fast forward more than 20 years and Karacica’s pizza dream hasn’t just taken off — it has evolved into a Hoboken staple.

“Hoboken was always the ‘it’ place for food, and I wanted to be surrounded by the best,” he said. “As Frank Sinatra said, ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’ Sure, he was talking about New York City, but for me it was always Hoboken.”

Since opening its doors in 1996, this quaint, family-owned shop has expanded its array of menu offerings, all while staying true to its classic roots. According to Karacica, traditional cheese pizza remains the most popular dish, while the buffalo slice runs a close second. Additional menu items include the Capri Pizza with roasted peppers, artichokes, and mozzarella, as well as the Alie Casa Pizza with chicken cutlet, sautéed onions, and tomatoes.

But cheese pizza, as any Rosario’s regular will tell you, is where it’s at.

As the menu illustrates, creativity is one of Rosario’s key differentiators. Karacica is an artist at heart; he brings an imaginative approach to each and every recipe.

“Outside of Rosario’s I’m also a musician, so art has always been part of my life,” he said. “To me, food is just another art form. I like to innovate with local ingredients to perfect our pizza recipe.”

Rosarios at Willow pizza

{Photo courtesy of @justlayuh}

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While Karacica lives in Fort Lee, he spends the majority of time in Hoboken. He can still be found serving up his famous slices, even after 20 years.

“I just love Hoboken,” he said. “I love the feel of this town.”

Over the past 20 years, Rosario’s has withstood Hoboken’s challenging test of time. Many restaurants close after months or years, but this delicious staple? It’s been in the same 1132 Willow Avenue location since day one.

“Time flies so quickly,” Karacica said. “I was just a kid when I started in ‘96. Now I have a wonderful base of return customers I’ve gotten to know over the past 20 years. Some who’ve moved from Hoboken say they even drive back 20 miles for our pies!”

Have you been to Rosario’s?

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