My father-in-law grew up around Jacksonville. Whenever the topic of pizza comes up he raves about Joseph’s Pizza on North Main Street. From the crust to the toppings to the atmosphere the restaurant was his go to place for pie in the River City.
Joseph’s is located in the Northside of Jacksonville in a depressed area strewn with the skeletons of homes and business that probably glittered when the pizzeria opened in 1956. Homeless people shuffled along the sidewalks and a police siren wailed in the distance. While I was not concerned for my safety during the daytime, I am not sure I would venture to the area with my wife and children after dark .
Two red, green, and white signs atop the building on the corner of North Main Street and W. 64th Street. Ample parking was provided around back as well as on the side street. Entering through a side door we were greeted by a warm modern interior that looked like it had been recently renovated. The walls and floors were tiled and colorful Tiffany style lights hung from the ceiling. A menu board was displayed about the front counter. Next to it a cooler chock full of delicious desserts beckoned.
A waitress greeted me and told me to sit wherever I wanted. I picked a small square table near the front window. As I sat down she appeared and handed me a menu and gave me a moment to look things over. Joseph’s offers all things Italian including various appetizers, pasta dishes, and calzones. The seafood scampi and chicken parmigiana caught my eye, but I was here for pizza. I ordered an appetizer of fried calamari and a large sausage and pepperoni pizza.
The plate of calamari arrived first accompanied by a foam cup of red sauce. The waitress said they picked their squid up fresh from Mayport and the sauce was the chef’s own creation. As she slid the plate onto our table she quipped some people liked the sauce, while others did not care for it. The calamari consisted of the bodies of the squid sliced, battered, and fried. They were crispy and the red sauce, Joseph’s version of cocktail sauce, was pretty good. The only thing I wished that had been included were some bunches of tentacles (I know I am in the minority, but they are my favorite part of fried calamari!)
After devouring the fried calamari the pizza arrived. Sliced sausage covered half of the pie while the other was occupied by large pieces of pepperoni. I slid a slice of the latter onto my plate and took a bite. The crust was crisp on the edges and firm enough to support the ample amounts of cheese and toppings. The sausage was just as good and I alternated between the two until the emptiness in my stomach was no more. The pizza was very good and reminded me of pizza from a place back north called Chris’ Famous Pizza. I was happy I finally got to visit Joseph’s and will definitely be back.
Joseph’s can be found online at josephspizza.com, on Facebook and on Twitter @JosephsPizzaJax. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Joseph’s can be contacted by telephone at (904) 765-0335.
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