up until last tuesday pizza johns had been merely a folk legend. a place that people talk about in undescriptive absolutes like, 'its amazing' or 'i love that place' and my favorite 'you have to go there.' dont get me wrong its all great publicity, but lacking in description or a seriously convincing or compelling reason (does this have to do with its location? i kid, i kid) to travel from the pizza rich environment that is baltimore city and venture all the way out to essex for a pie. so after being on my urbanspoon wishlist for nearly a year, i finally hopped in the mazda with a reoccurring culinary adventurist companion, dj g:/ (read: gee prompt), and struck out for this essex pizza institution of legend.
essex is amazing. eastern ave goes on forever, there are no turns. main street is an actual main street. there is water, boats, and docks everywhere. crabs arent $200 a bushel. and we even saw a green dodge challenger, like for real! drunk with our newly discovered affinity for all things essex (full disclosure: after opening up our zillow app, there have been a couple of inquiries into the essex waterfront real estate market) we were only thrown into a deeper stage of giddy inebriation when we pulled onto back river neck road and were quickly greeted by a larger than life 'pizza john' who stood out front of an italian-american chic villa/restaurant mega complex.
|'italian-american essex villa chic'|
before we could make ourselves too comfortable in our over sized booth that could a fit a family of 6 our first number was called. the chicken parm was first at bat. the parm was one large chicken cutlet fried, drenched in sauce, covered with cheese, and slapped on a white roll. the chicken had a crunch and was still a bit juicy, the sauce was fantastic (foreshadowing of the pizza perhaps?). the cheese was a mozzarella and there was a lot of it and it had been melted to allow for it to reach optimal stringy-ness. and finally the sub roll had been toasted to perfection; golden brown. this allowed for the sub to pack a little more crunch, absorb some of the sensational sauce, and not compromise with over the top sogginess. solid 1st at bat for pizza john.
|now batting clean up ... pizza john!|
pizza johns was a total success. worth the trip down eastern ave and it truely deserves to be considered a baltimore pizza institution. from now on, anyone who asks me how i feel about pizza john's im going to simply tell them something like ....... 'its amazing', 'i love that place', or 'you have to go there.'