Tucked away on the side street of 9th between Park Avenue and Willow Avenue stands a warm and welcoming pizzeria, where the food will make your taste buds sing in Italian and you’re guaranteed to make a new friend. Torna’s Pizzeria, located at 254 9th Street in Hoboken, has been serving pizza to both new and loyal customers for almost 60 years. Best known for its Sicilian pie (also available by the slice), meatball parm sub, and eggplant, the menu spans all the classic appetizers, calzones, and pasta dinners of the same quality. Read on to find out more about Torna’s, a legendary Hoboken spot.
All About Torna’s
The current owner, Nicola Percantino aka Nico, is proudly connected to the long-standing history of this Hoboken institution that opened in 1960 as the third-generation owner. “I’m very happy to own Torna’s, it’s what I’ve always wanted because I always wanted to make my grandmother proud,” Nico told Hoboken Girl. “I’m also the best at making pizza,” he added – and Mike agrees.
Mike Castella, aka Cousin Mike, is the manager of Torna’s and was born and raised in Hoboken just around the block from the pizzeria where he still lives today. He’s also Nico’s godfather. “Growing up, it was school, soccer, and Torna’s pizzeria,” Mike explained.
Even though new generations have taken over the shop today, there is still an impressive cross-generational presence with an “all hands on deck” mentality going strong throughout Torna’s. Nico, Mike, and even their younger cousins and children work together at the pizzeria, keeping it a true family-owned and operated establishment.
^ Nicola and Angelina’s photo hangs in the pizzeria as a constant reminder of the deep history and work ethic of past and current family generations
Two families by the names of Lisa and Cammarano immigrated from Monte San Giacomo, Italy, and opened a charming pizzeria together. Torna’s literally translates to “return.” By means of hard work and quality products, customers did just that.
Eight years after opening its doors, Antonio Cammarano and Pasquale Lisa sold the business to Nicola Percontino. Nicola and his wife, Angelina, immigrated from Italy to Hoboken with their five children – the children who would eventually inherit the same unbelievable work ethic of their parents to continue the family legacy.
Their son, Antonio Percantino, took the business over for a time, followed by his son, Nico, who currently owns Torna’s.
What to Expect at the Pizzeria
^ Sicilian slice of heaven, topped with pepperoni and a generous portion of crushed red pepper
This quaint pizzeria is great for dining in or taking out. Everyone who walks in the door is treated like they’re part of the family. There isn’t an “old Hoboken verses New Hoboken here. We’re just Hoboken,” says Mike.
“Everyone associates Torna’s with our corner Sicilian slice with pepperoni. I like to say we put the square in Mile Square,” Mike shared.
The secret? Well, it’s in the sauce. “Only a handful of people to this day, know the recipe to the sauce,” Mike explained. It’s their best-kept secret.
The mom-and-pop shop feel throughout Torna’s remains alive as everyone in the family still has a hand in doing their part, including the children of the family who are learning the tricks of the trade.
Growing With Hoboken
^ Classic round cheese pie, a staple that never disappoints
As time went on and the neighborhood became increasingly gentrified, Torna’s held onto the values that made the neighborhood diverse and hospitable from the beginning, while making smart changes to keep up with the ever-evolving shopping habits of local customers.
Knowing that people rarely carry cash on them, Torna’s transformed the business from being cash only to accepting credit and debit cards and started accepting online orders on apps such as Seamless, Grubhub, Slice, and App2Food.
Even more notoriously, the pizzeria is open until 3AM on Friday and Saturday, which is clutch for late-night workers and even more popular among the crowd spilling over after the last call at 10th and Willow.
See More: The Best Pizzerias in Montclair
Of the various family members across the Lisa, Percontino, and Castella families pulling 16-18 hours days to make this business such a success, it has all paid off to keep the legacy of the shop going strong.
And most importantly, it represents spending time together as a family. With the simple phrase, “We’re gonna meet at Torna’s,” this pizzeria has been at the center of their families and the Hoboken community ever since it first opened.
Torna’s is open Monday-Thursday and Sunday from 11AM-9:30PM, and Friday-Saturday from 11AM-3AM – great for a morning, midday, or late-night bite.
See what Torna’s is all about for yourself and follow them on Instagram @tornaspizzahoboken for updates too.
Check out our video interview with the family behind Torna’s here.