MARINO’S PIZZA, 100 N. Black Horse, Pike, Runnemeade

This is a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint on a nondescript street corner in Runnemeade. Easy to miss. But it’s been around since 1972, so obviously it’s worth finding.

Owner Dan Marino (yep, that’s his name) took over from his dad and uncle and still works with recipes created by his grandmother, Carmella.

The meatballs are each 2.5 ounces of Angus beef, seasoned with onion salt, parsley and fresh garlic. They’re tender and tasty and made better by a succulent homemade marinara. What they lack is the complexity of taste of some of the others we’ve tried that combine various meats and more cheeses and seasonings. Not memorable. Still, a good meatball.

Marino’s serves them as an appetizer, or on pizza (just $2 for a generous slice) or in a Stromboli ($14.25 for a 12-inch meatball parm). And the Stromboli is the real reason to put this place into your GPS. It’s gooey and cheesy with a great crust.

Can this anything-but-fancy pizza parlor compete with the meatball heavyweights in our contest? No. But I’m still glad I found it.

Score: 73/100

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