Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Broadway Eats: John's Pizzeria

We haven't had pizza in New York in years, but during our last trip, the craving for it hit. With tickets for Jagged Little Pill in hand, we set out for the only place we'd consider in that area, John's Pizzeria, right across the street! Normally, it is usually jammed with people waiting to get in, but that Friday night, we walked right in. By the time we left, the place was packed and a line was forming. But it really isn't a tourist trap - the food is really terrific.

RATING: πŸ₯„πŸ₯„πŸ₯„πŸ₯„ 1/2 (out of 5)

LOCATIONTheater District/Times Square: 260 West 44th Street (Reviewed) Other location in Jersey City Phone: 212-391-7560
CLOSEST THEATERSSt. James, Helen Hayes, Majestic, Broadhurst, Shubert
HOURS11:30am - 11:30pm, 7 days a week
MEALS SERVEDLunch and Dinner
BARFull bar, Specialty drinks


As you might expect, the main feature of the menu is their brick oven pizza, which comes in a couple of sizes and gluten free, if you so choose. Their slogan is "No slices," so don't expect to grad a slice and a soda. All pizzas come whole, and toppings cast the same whether you get them on half the pie or on the whole thing. I guess you could say it is pricey, but they are big and easily shareable. For families and groups (and even couples) it isn't really that bad. We, however, had a slightly higher bill than might be expected for a regular couple. More on that in a minute.

The view from upstairs. Check out that mural!

Part of what makes this an awesome place to visit is the place itself.  It used to be a church! The space starts out as a narrow area with a small dining area near the front window and a small (but lively) bar. All of that opens into a huge open space with wooden floors, the massive brick oven area, and a two-story city mural on the back wall. Look up when you get in there, though, because there is a stunning stained glass window in the ceiling, left over from its church days. We sat upstairs, in the thin balcony (choir loft) area that is near the window and overlooks the bustling restaurant below. The whole place is interesting but not overwhelming and some how completely works as a pizza restaurant.

On other occasions, we've opted for their Italian dinners, which are huge and very tasty - a really good chicken parm is always a welcome alternative if pizza isn't what you want. I can verify that it is quite good. But pizza was our goal that night, and pizza is what we got! Before I start, let me set the scene. Mike doesn't eat cheese, so that makes this kind of place tricky; it was his suggestion, actually, so let that be testament to how good it is.

I wanted an appetizer, and got their mozzarella wedges (high end sticks) that are really amazing. As I said, Mike doesn't eat cheese, so they were all mine. I left a few - it is clearly designed to be a shared thing, but I'd get them again. They are among the best I've ever had. ($15) We also shared a pitcher of their red sangria, which was a big pitcher - the kind waiters usually carry around to refill multiple sodas at a time. It was good, though more of a bitter than sweet sangria. It was topped with a generous amount of diced fruits and cherries. ($45) It was a great deal - we got 4 iced tea glassfuls out of it.

For obvious reasons, we couldn't share a pizza so we each ordered a small one. He got pepperoni, no cheese, ($18.75 + $3.75) and I got sausage ($18.75 + $4.75). The crust was perfection, thin and crispy with a nicely crispy/chewy edge, and the homemade sauce is tangy and not over seasoned. Mike loved his pepperoni - they were very generous, and my sausage was just as tasty. Needless to say, we left a lot on the table. Had we had time to go back to the hotel, we might have gotten it boxed up and eaten it later. Next time, we'll take that into consideration. When you realize that we had the equivalent of two full meals, the price isn't really that out of line The pizzas, handcrafted, are cheaper than our local pizza place.

That ceiling is even better in person!

We were sat right away by a very pleasant hostess, and our waiter came very quickly. The food also came very quickly, tight from the oven. While attentive, and never ignoring our needs, our waiter was not the kind that hovers. He checked back, and always gave us a once over when he passed by. In other words, he wasn't a constant interruption, ad was never too far away if we needed him. That's my favorite kind of waiter.

This wasn't our first time there. As I said, before, there was always a huge line. But I wouldn't let that deter you from trying for a table if you see one. The longest we ever waited was about 20 minutes. Either way, you can't beat the quality of the food or the location!


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