Monday, May 2, 2011


     For a foodie, just the mere mention of the word PIZZA brings on a plethora of thoughts and memories –maybe it’s a flashback to your favorite school lunch – PIZZA DAY, or reminisces of gatherings after high school football games.  Leftover pizza was a main breakfast food on the way to class for my college roommates and I.  Pizza is a comfort food and one cannot discuss types of pizza without thinking New York Style pizza.  (or Chicago style which is another blog for another day! )
     This our first trip to the Big Apple, where should we go to eat New York Style (NYS) Pizza in New York?  This is a topic that my bride and I discussed at length and researched long before embarking on our trip.  We even talked with Yamn Dankee’s about the best place to get NYS- Pizza.  (Yamn Dankee’s are those that come to the south for a visit, discover our wonderful way of life – and move here.  For the record, I’m the product of a Yamn Dankee that married a Southern Belle.)  The overwhelming choice was JOHN’s Pizzeria.  (I’m sure John had children, but do not confuse this food in any way, shape, or form with Papa John’s pizza!)

     John’s Pizzeria first opened the doors of their first location in the 1920’s.  Each pie is hand tossed and cooked in a brick oven heated by anthracite coal.  (The mining of anthracite coal was my grandfather’s profession.  It was the profession of his father, and his father’s father.   It goes back further as well, but at some point it crosses the Atlantic to the shores of Ireland where coal mining was done as well.  Some of these ancestors were on both sides of the Molly Maguire’s.  My father broke the black lung chain and joined the Air Force in the 1950’s.)  Sorry for that history lesson…

     The interesting thing about brick ovens using anthracite coal is that these ovens have no thermostat by which to monitor the heat.  The oven-master must constantly eyeball the pie, and remove it at just the right time.  This gives the pie its own special “fingerprint” of burn marks on the bottom and edges of the crust. 
     The establishment that we visited was in the Theater District of Manhattan on 44th Street.  This site is special as it boasts to be the largest pizzeria in the world with over 400 seats.  It is located in the remodeled former Gospel Tabernacle Church that was erected in the 1880’s.  Some of the stained glass is still in place.

    Our pie was a large half & half - Italian sausage and pepperoni.  It’s is still undetermined as to which half was the best.  More testing is required.  The pies are made after they are ordered and then cooked to deliver a fresh product to the table.  The pie was absolutely wonderful, and the service at John’s was extraordinary.  The waiter was very helpful in explaining the choices, the menu, and even with entertaining Natalie while we decided.

     For those of us that do not get to travel to New York very often, (twice in 48 years counts as not very often right?) John’s is a must have!


  1. So what do you call someone from Chicago who moves to the south and stays here? :) John's sounds wonderful. If I ever get to New York, I'll give it a go. Thanks for the review.

  2. Christiane - Illinois was considered Yankee Territory in the "War of Northern Aggression". :)


If you do not have an account use annonymous, but please leave your name. I love comments!