They had me when I walked in the front door and saw the brick and tile wood-fired oven. The flames glowed a bright orange surely delivering some of the best pizza at the shore.

We were at Al Ponte in Neptune City. And yes, the pizza did not disappoint.

Jodi and I were there as a part of our common-sense local tour hitting restaurants, retailers, and manufacturers all struggling to make ends meet in the Garden State.

We were greeted by Kathryn Florentine who is the aunt of owner Joe, and Joe's mom Dianne. Some of the nicest people we've met along the trail.

The restaurant is lively, with a great bar, high-top tables, and a super friendly staff. We are now planning a follow-up event to honor teachers in Monmouth County, so stay tuned.

Yes, we'll be serving the pizza.

Joe sent us home with a delicious Soppressata pizza, complete with the char from the wood stove. Wow. It did not disappoint. Of course, I had to put it in the trunk because we were headed to a restaurant in Wayne for the second event of the night and I was going to start eating the pizza on the drive.

Check out the video of my conversation with Joe in front of the pizza oven!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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