Sunday, January 8, 2012
Joey’s House of Pizza
897 Elm Hill Pike
Anyone worried about the new Joey’s House of Pizza location pulling in customers can rest easy. Joey has brought his regulars up from Brentwood and is garnering a new fan base for the lunch spot just off Fesslers Lane and I-40. While some have worried that it isn’t near any real neighborhoods, it is just a quick hop from downtown. Errands necessitate an early lunch one day, so I arrive at 10:50 a.m. and there are already three other cars waiting. When I leave at 11:26 a.m. every parking spot is filled and the dining room is packed. Don’t let that deter you. Joey and his crack staff keep things moving quickly.
We never made it to the Brentwood location, so we can’t compare. The new layout is a long serving line with trays full of traditional American-Italian favorites, such as chicken parmigiana, baked ziti, lasagna and spaghetti. They have several salad options, including giardineria and antipasta. Then you hit the pizza rolls, laid out for inspection and ready to be popped in the oven. Joey’s has several pizzas ready to go by the slice, or you can put in a custom order. They do a big take-out business and if you want an entire pie it would be best to call it in. That said, the dining room is a fine place to eat your lunch. It’s a sleek, modern black and grey decor and the bottle cap bar stools add just the right touch of fun.
The double crust slices are an entire meal in one. The Gladiator is a thick combo of pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella. It’s layered once, topped with another thin crust and then layered again. Somehow they manage to keep that crust super-crispy, even with the mammoth topping spread. The massive slice is a greasy treat. The crust for the pizzas is some of the better in the Nashville area with just the right balance of floppy and crispy. The pizza rolls are baked super-crispy as well. The spinach version features fresh spinach, which still has life. A little sweet ricotta and stringy mozzarella bring it all together. The light and tangy marinara on the side is perfect for dipping. The calzone may seem similar to the pizza roll, but it’s puffier, enclosed and filled with more of that sweet ricotta than its cousin. The Joey’s Specialty version combines herby meatballs, savory sausage, chicken and spinach.
Even the salads get respect at Joey’s. The house is nicely dressed with a generous dousing of smooth balsamic. Fresh greens, black olives, green olives and a sprinkling of oregano make it a good starter. The pasta salad hits the spot as well with big pieces of sundried tomato.
Veggie Eater: As with most Italian pizza joints, if you are an ovo-lacto vegetarian, you have plenty of choices. There’s pasta, eggplant parm, salads, calzones, pizza rolls, and yes, of course, pizza. Granted, the same ingredients show up in different configurations, but those staple ingredients make for infinite combinations. I opted for the standard cheese slice and found the pizza a tad bit thicker than the NJ/NY styles I’m accustomed to. The crust is more crispy than floppy. The tomato sauce is a sprightly affair which balances well with the mixed cheeses on top. I’ll happily dash in here for a meal to sample the other goods when I am in this neck of the woods. It’s especially enjoyable to watch the entire family working the line, the interactions between customers and owners, and the even handed way they deal with lunch time stressors (to go order—man is handed two slices of whatever type of pizza he had ordered via phone; problem is he ordered two pizzas, not two pieces…not to worry, they still got him out the door in quick order).
Meat Eater: The finale at one meal is a flaky, crumbly and utterly decadent calzone. It’s so completely fresh that the memory lingers far after it is gone. Here’s wishing Joey the best of luck in the new location. It looks like he’s going to stay busy.
We paid $22 with tax and tip on one visit and I paid $14 on a solo trip.