It's a pizzeria showdown between a beloved NYC joint that started selling pizzas in 1905 and an upstart in Trenton, NJ that started its pizza business in 1912: The Garden State's Papa Tomato's Pies says it's the oldest pizzeria in the country because Lombardi's shut its business for ten years. Oh, it's on!

Papa Tomato's owner Nick Azzaro tells the Star-Ledger, "On [the Lombardi's] website, they claim they were closed for ten years between 1977 and 1987. They're not really the oldest pizza restaurant.'' The Star-Ledger notes, "Actually, Lombardi's, which opened as a grocery store in 1897 and started selling pizza in 1905, was closed between 1984 and 1994, according to its website."

Diner's Journal weighed in, "Ed Levine wrote [in his book Pizza, a Slice of Heaven] that Papa’s was the third pizzeria in the country, after Lombardi’s and the late Joe’s Tomato Pies, also in Trenton. If you consider the present Lombardi’s as a newcomer, Papa’s is the last standing of that triumvirate, and thus the oldest pizzeria in the country. Mr. Levine, by the way, awarded it three pies on a four-pie scale."

FWIW, Lombardi's celebrated its 100th birthday with 5-cent pies in 2005... which means Papa's better be serving 12-cent pies next year!