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Andy’s Pizza in Hammonton is buzzing with breakfast brilliance
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What’s in a name?

Andy’s Pizza in Hammonton is buzzing with breakfast brilliance

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When you think of Hammonton – a great foodie town – you probably think of Bruni’s pizza, Bagliani’s sandwiches, Tacos Al Carbon food truck, Royale Crown Homemade Ice Cream and the legendary Joe Italiano’s Maplewood.

But if you’re from Hammonton, you might know the best-kept secret in town — particularly for breakfast — is located inside a little strip mall right off Exit 28 of the Atlantic City Expressway: Andy’s Pizza & Ristorante.

I was tipped off by my neighbor and one of my best friends, who invited me to check it out for myself. We had an awesome breakfast, and the huge, diner-like menu has had me craving to go back for a later meal sooner than later.

The quaint establishment, which now occupies two storefronts because of Andy’s success, is owned by Marco Carranza, of Egg Harbor Township, and German Lucas of Somers Point, who used their past experiences and a friendship that bonded working together for 20 years at Romanelli’s in Linwood to make their dream of opening their own place come true.

“When I came here from Mexico in 1994, I was a little kid, and I am very lucky because I have never missed a day of work,” Lucas says. “We both started like everyone else. We worked hard every day until we could have our own place. We saved our money and talked about it and talked about it until we could make it a reality.”

The dynamic duo bought the existing Andy’s about eight years ago, deciding to keep the name that was already established for about three years.

“The truth is, we were going to change it,” Lucas says. “But then we found out it would cost $5,000 to change the sign, and since I have a son named Andy, we just decided to keep the name in honor of my son and save the money.”

Aside from Romanelli’s, where the owners of Andy’s learned how to make American breakfast and lunch food and large catering orders, Lucas learned how to cook Italian food in some of the most revered Italian joins in Atlantic City: Girasole, Café 2825 and Angelonis.

“The customers say all of the time: ‘How do two Mexicans get into this Italian town making Italian-American dishes?’ Then they try our food and they leave with a smile out the door. That’s what makes us happy.”

Best breakfast

in Hammonton?Go to Andy’s website and they advertise they have the best breakfast in Hammonton. I haven’t eaten at enough places in town to verify that, but I can tell you that Andy’s breakfast would be very tough to beat.

“We have a great menu that people love, but I really encourage people to check out our specials, which change every other day,” Lucas says. “We create new things all of the time. We use local farmers when the Jersey produce is coming in. It’s all about using the freshest ingredients we can get our hands on.”

For starters, their supersized, three-egg omelets ($6.99 to $12.99) rock! Accompanied with toast and their signature home fries – more about those later – go traditional or choose from Andy’s specialties like the Italian with sweet Italian sausage, peppers, onions and provolone; the Philly cheesesteak with fried onions and American cheese; broccoli rabe with spinach, Italian sausage and sharp provolone; or the meat lovers with pork roll, sausage, bacon and American cheese.

There are four types of eggs Benedict ($12.99 to $15.99), but it’s hard to pass on the Frank Woelfel Eggs Benedict featuring sausage, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce on grilled biscuits with a side of home fries.

Other standouts include shredded coconut-coated Texas french toast ($10.99) topped with strawberries and bananas; bacon french toast ($11.99) topped with strawberries and bananas; Lori’s Breakfast Sandwich ($11.99) with bacon, lettuce, tomato, fried egg and chipotle mayo on multigrain toast with home fries; the Mike Wuillermin Breakfast Sandwich ($9.99) with sweet Italian sausage, green peppers, fried onions, banana peppers, white potato, sweet potato, scrambled eggs and American cheese on a long roll; or three hungry man platters ($10.99 to $20.99) including an 8-ounce steak with eggs, home fries and toast.

And back to those home fries. If they don’t come with your meal, make sure you order a side because they are the best home fries in South Jersey featuring green peppers, onions, white potato — and here’s the catch — sweet potato! Savory, sweet and delicious!!

“Andy’s never did breakfast before us buying it,” Lucas says. “We really liked our location, and we had plenty of parking, and we went around to other breakfast places in town and realized they didn’t have the parking we had. So we made it easier for people to park right in front of our door and go right into the dining room. It turned out that breakfast is the main part of our business right now. We want to be open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner so we can spend time with our family, with our kids. That’s what’s important.”

Lunch and dinnerCompared to the one-page breakfast menu, the four-page lunch and dinner menu is not for those who have difficulty making decisions.

But you should absolutely try Andy’s pizza ($11.50 to $23), whether a traditional round or large Sicilian, it’s one of the most underrated pizzas in South Jersey.

“Marco and I work great together,” Lucas says. “But he is definitely more of our pizza man and the front of the house guy while I cook more in the kitchen,” Lucas says. “So he had a lot of experiences with pizza before working here, so he changed the pizza recipes and everything from what it used to be at Andy’s before we bought it. He had ideas, and the pizza is great.”

Different styles include Supreme with sausage, onion, peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni and black olives; buffalo chicken with blue cheese; meat lovers with sausage, ham, pepperoni and bacon; or Mexican with grilled chicken, refried beans, avocado, jalapeno and mozzarella.

There’s also a wide array of stromboli and calzones ($8.99 to $15.50) and an appetizer menu ($4.99 to $10.50) that you would expect from a pizzeria (fried calamari, fried mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, etc.)

If it can be put on a bun, in a wrap or layered in a quesadilla, Andy’s has you covered from cheesesteaks to burgers to reubens.

Standouts include a Cuban sandwich ($13.99) with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone, sliced pickles and chipotle mayo served with fries; an Italian cheesesteak ($13.99) with roasted peppers, fried onions, long hots, lettuce, tomato and provolone served with fries; a hickory burger ($12.50) with bacon, fried onions, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce with sweet potato fries; and either a shrimp or steak quesadilla ($13.99, $11.50).

Still undecided? Then check out their page featuring pasta and Italian dishes. Word on the street is the homemade eggplant rollatini ($17.50) with ricotta, spinach and provolone is something special, but other highlights include homemade lasagna ($14.99), chicken parm, Francese or marsala ($21.99), shrimp and broccoli alfredo ($22.99) over linguini and mussels Fra Diavolo ($20.99) over your choice of pasta.

“Everything is fresh,” Lucas says. “We make our own homemade meatballs, all of our sauces. The chicken cutlets are hand breaded. And, in season, we even use fresh seafood in some of the specials we offer. And when we run out, it’s gone.”

The future of Andy’sSince buying Andy’s eight years ago, Lucas and Carranza took on double its original space in the strip mall about five years ago after the adjacent business closed.

“That extra space has changed our business so much,” Lucas says. “We got too crowded on just the one side, so when we had the opportunity to get another space, we took it, and it really worked. We used to have a line at the door every weekend because we didn’t have enough room. Now, we can fit so many more people comfortably.”

But that doesn’t mean the business partners are done.

“Our dream is to have our own building one day,” Lucas says. “My personal dream is to open a bar one day. But one step at a time.”


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