Our History

Our dad’s pizza making journey started more than 45 years ago with a simple idea… To make a pizza at home that was just as good—if not better—than any pizzeria in the area.

Dad didn’t have a whole lot to start with. He had a gas oven in his apartment but he was lacking other conventional tools, like a ceramic stone or a wooden peel. Regardless, he was determined to make a pizza that was airy, crispy, and tasty.

Our Aunt and Uncle lived in the apartment opposite of Dad’s. He knew that with tasters and critics so close by, he would be tested on his pizza making abilities.

Luckily, Dad also had some knowledge of what to do and what not to do. For instance, he knew he needed 450-500 degrees to get the best results. And he knew that simply baking pizza on a pan would produce a crust that was hard and dense, so he set out to find a waffled metal screen that would allow air to pass through during the baking process. This would prevent the bottom of the crust from glazing.

Since this was the 70s, pizza screens weren’t commercially available. Dad found a 14-inch waffled screen that was typically used for exhaust fans, and he placed that in the bottom of his oven.

Using recipes he had found on bags of flour, Dad learned how to make pizza dough. At least twice a week, he would prepare his dough when he got home from work, leave to go bowling with his brother, and allow the dough to rise until he returned home. That is when Dad, Mom, Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Joe would taste his creations.

Dad had a thin, smooth piece of plywood that he used in lieu of a pizza peel. He would shape the dough as round as he could get it, which was often difficult because it was too fresh to stretch easily. But eventually, he would get it to the right shape, apply store-bought or homemade pizza sauce, and top it with mozzarella cheese. He used his makeshift pizza peel to slide the pizza onto the waffle screen that was sitting in the bottom of the oven, and to his surprise, he had made a good tasting pizza pie!

Dad’s homemade pizzas were a big hit and the news was spreading. One day, when he was visiting one of his favorite pizza joints—Tony’s Pizzeria in Rahway, NJ—the owner jokingly asked him, “What are you trying to do? Put me out of business?” Dad explained that he considered his pizzas good for home pies, but still not as good as a pizzeria pie.

Following this exchange, the owner asked my father about his dough recipe and complimented him on it. Then, he provided Dad with some tips, including using a covered Tupperware container to hold the dough, and more importantly, taught him a lesson about fermentation.

Dad’s pizza dough making process was becoming more and more refined. He stored his dough in a plastic container and allowed it to rise overnight, which resulted in the dough doubling in size. Eventually, he moved away from cooking on metal screens… But not before burning a hole in the bottom of his first oven.

Pizza-making became a regular thing for Dad. Any time he would get together with friends or family, they would ask if he was making pizza. As his skills improved, he began experimenting with other preparation methods, such as Sicilian pizza, grilled pizza, dessert pizzas, and pizzas with various toppings.

Now that Dad’s six children are older and living in homes of their own, he has shared his pizza wisdom and traditions with us. Across the Just Like Dad’s Pizza website and social profiles, you’ll be able to discover the different styles and influences used by each sibling.

This site and all of our online efforts are dedicated to our father, John, who is not only a master pizza maker, but the world’s greatest Dad. Our family would not be as tightly knit, warm hearted, and generous without his guidance and persistence.