BEST PIZZA -- THIN CRUST - 2006
Readers' Choice: Anthony's Pizza, Famous Pizza (tie)
Mark Tarbell, owner of the Oven, has won many awards at his various restaurants. And now he's earned another with the thin-crust pie made at the Oven, his very winning restaurant in Belmar. These pizzas aren't traditional, New York-style thin crusts, but rather very rustic, very scratch-built natural pies that just happen to have thin crusts. The kitchen here makes its own everything, from dough to sauce to cheese (including mozzarella and a fantastic smoked ricotta), and infuses it all with a true love and dedication to craft that's sadly lacking in a lot of neighborhood pizza joints these days. And even though Belmar is a very upscale neighborhood, the Oven suits its needs -- and ours -- nicely, packing the place with friends and neighbors every day.