Styles of pizza: Traditional thin-crust
Service: Carry-out, dine-in, counter, delivery
Standout Tidbit: Everything’s better with Strawberry fountain soda. Yum!
Review: Five days after reading about Pizza Junction winning “Best Pizza of the West“* at the International Pizza Expo, three faithful zealots ventured out for a try. After all, “award winning” and “pizza” are some of our favorite words.
Pizza Junction lives in a 70s-style strip mall just north of the Tech Center. The nondescript interior is plastered with train pictures, clocks, signage, and anything that shouts “CHOO CHOO!” (including a clock that, on the hour, does just that). We strolled up to the counter to place our order for the standard large cheese. We were thrilled to discover that the Junction is one of the few non-NY style places to offer an 18-inch za. The other surprise – a choice of three self-proclaimed “savory sauces” – Traditional, Spicy, and White. After inquiring about the best, we settled on their recommendation of spicy.
Being the only people in the joint we had our pick of the tables. The dining area is cozy (read: small) and contained four small patio tables covered with checkered tablecloths. We sat down and enjoyed our sodas (Pepsi products) while the smell of our pizza baking filled the tiny space. We talked briefly with the owner who told us he’d been perfecting his recipes of sauces and crusts for a few years before recently opening the PJ. The menu sports your typical pizza-joint toppings, with the addition of one unique item: cashews. We were enlightened to learn that “true” Hawaiian-style pizza is ham, pineapple, and cashews. (Cashews? Hawaii? Really?)
When our piping hot pizza was delivered it nearly covered the entire surface area of the small table. The cheese ventured nearly all the way to the edge of the crust and was bubbly and browned (almost too much so for our taste). Digging in (caution: HOT!) we munched through a traditional-style crust and discovered a slightly zesty bite to the sauce. The crust was soft and chewy, with a nice flavor. There was no crispiness to it at all. I thought the spicy sauce was fine, but I would like to return to try the traditional since I prefer a more tomato-y flavor. This had a strong “tangy” character in addition to the slight spicy heat. The cheese had a good, not-too-salty taste, but was about four minutes too brown and seemed to get lost among the odd spicy sauce and pillowy crust.
As we finished up our meal, the tiny restaurant started to jam with local high school students. The remaining tables filled up quickly with prepubescent teens and was more than enough incentive for us to refill our sodas and hit the road.
I hope to return to Pizza Junction to give another pizza a try (especially if they add sauerkraut as a topping as I suggested. Luckily, along with the colossal 18-incher, they also offer personal size pizzas that I wouldn’t have to share.) In addition, their Cinna-Pie and Caramel Apple Pizzas sound like delicious ways to finish off a meal.
Hit the tracks to the Pizza Junction and let us know what you think!
*editor’s note: We should let you know that Pizza Juction won their award for the Train Wreck pie, with 3 cheeses, sausage, bacon, onion green peppers, and pineapple. – G