Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
Jersey Joe's Pizza
Jersey Joe's is on that less popular stretch of University Ave east of Park Boulevard, where the vibe is a little seedy just before the cool parts of North Park. Joe's promises that "East Coast taste meets West Coast style" at the restaurant and, for the most part, delivers on that offer.
Slices ($2.25-$4) is the name of the game at Jersey Joe's. The glassed-off display of pizza by the slice is enormous and an ambitious number of the menu's pies are available as slices at any given time.
They have thin crust pizza; thick crust pizza; square, Sicilian-style pizza; plain pizza; and wildly, over-the-top pizza like the "baked ziti," which is (seriously!) an entire pizza with a baked ziti casserole on top of it.
Maybe the most standout slice was the "crispino." Roasted zucchini and peppers with fresh mozzarella on a thick crust was hearty but not overkill. The standard, Sicilian slice was excellent was well. The sauce was thick and rich and the crust was baked to a dark, golden brown.
More on the wild side of things, the chicken/bacon/ranch slice uses a thinner crust, but includes the same toppings as that beloved, old-school appetizer the potato skin. It's rich and greasy, but incredibly satisfying.
If the last slice didn't sound heroic enough, consider the "chicken alla vodka" slice: thick crust pizza slathered in diced chicken and a heavy, tomato and cheese sauce, all of which is covered in still more cheese and browned in the oven.
All of these can be had as whole pies as well. Costs range from $16.25 to $25 for the most exuberant creations.
It might be calling attention to the obvious, but Jersey Joe's isn't the healthiest pizza choice there is. It's easy to wolf down 1200 calories without a second thought. But, hey, whatever, that's a really East Coast attitude and it's a known fact that North Park and surrounding neighborhoods are filled with people on the run from the icy wastelands of the Northeast who will take solace in diving into a ludicrously satiating slice of 'za.
If pizza's not your thing, Joe's menu is huge and has has sandwiches and subs for $6.75-$9, salads are $4.75-$12.25, and complete dinners like veal picatta and chicken cacciatore complete with salad, bread, and pasta for about $13-$18 dollars.
Oh yeah, there's fried dough for dessert. Three for a dollar!
2310 University Ave
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