And yes, they’re independently owned.

New Jersey is home to roughly 50 pizzerias named Tony, including Papa Tony’s Pizzeria, Tony’s Pizza & Stromboli, Tony Boloney’s Pizza, and several businesses, all named “Tony Soprano’s Pizza,” at least 3 of which are independent from the others—I called.

Thankfully for NJ residents, more than 60 percent of us can earn a slice at one of these fine establishments, usually less than a 15 minute drive away.

Using NJ.com’s businessfinder engine to find the addresses of all “Tony” pizzerias and using a programming package to map the addresses to a latitude and longitude, we can then use 2010 Census data to estimate the number of people nearby.

Pizza delivery radii vary from three to seven miles, so for each business, I created a radius of five miles. The Missouri Census Data Center (MCDC) has a great tool to calculate the population within a given radius, removing area covered by water and narrowing population by state (e.g. no one from New York or Pennsylvania is included).

The circles overlap, so I used this tool to first map the points, and then estimate the area with non-overlapping circles. I subtracted the population in the red circles from the population in the green circles. Inputting multiple points and radii can be automated (image on left), but adding the green and red circles and using the MCDC tool was done by hand. (Suggestions for more accurate and easier methods are welcome).

Left: All “Tony” pizzerias. Center: Generous estimate in green non-overlapping circles. Right: Subtracting red circles to correct for over-estimate. Links to maps: Left, Center, Right.

Some other interesting findings:

  • A large majority of these are independent businesses. Going by unique name alone, there are at least 32 single-address businesses in the list of 48 “Tony” pizzerias.
  • Tony seems to be the most popular name for pizzerias. Rudimentary estimates have Tony beating out Luigi and Vinnie with 40 and 30 pizzerias respectively.

NJ.com’s businessfinder included closed pizzerias and duplicates. Thankfully, since there were less than 100 businesses, it didn’t take long to clean the dataset manually. Tony & Vinnie’s Italian Bakery & Deli—despite being twice as Italian—doesn’t seem to sell pizza and was removed from consideration.


Questions? Mistakes? Bruce Springsteen? Cannoli recipes? Feel free to contact me. Data and calculations are available by request. See more projects on my website.

Kevin McElwee 🏳️‍🌈

Written by

Machine learning engineer and data journalist in DC. Learn about me and my projects at kevinrmcelwee.ml

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