We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton
There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Jo's Famous Pizza
900 S. Kelly
What works: big flavors and lots of toppings
What needs work: Prices are a bit steep for specialty pizzas.
Tips: Get the half-and-half so you can try out a few intriguing combos.
It’s a well-known fact that the David Bowie song “Fame” and the 1980s TV show of the same name were, at their respective hearts, about pizza.
And why not? Pizza contains all the major food groups: bread, vegetables, cheese, spicy meats, red pepper flakes and more cheese. It’s a famously good combination. Which might be where Jo’s Famous Pizza got its name.
(It’s not. It came from a lady named Jo. It’s actually pretty obvious if you think about it.)
While pizza is clearly its main focus, the first thing that stands out to me about Jo’s is its salad.
First of all, it is real salad. There are lots of green, leafy things and none of the white, crunchy stuff I usually associate with pizza place salads. Fresh lettuce. What a concept.
But don’t worry that it’s too healthy — although I’m sure you could get it that way — because Jo’s goes a few steps further. There are diced tomatoes. There are olives. There are strings of mozzarella and a lot of shredded Canadian bacon.
A medium salad costs $8.99, but it comes in a pizza box and, if my math is right, it feeds roughly everybody you know. Get the Pa’s Garlic Dressing if you know what’s good for you.
Despite being a complete meal unto itself, pizzas often come with appetizers. Jo’s offers a few options, but none are quite so lovely as the Boomers ($5). Halved jalapeños, mostly seeded, filled with mozzarella cheese and topped with crisp bacon — good lawd. Despite the seeding, these still have plenty of bite and even more flavor.
The Rollers ($5) are kind of like mini calzones. Jo’s dough, rolled up with shredded mozzarella and Canadian bacon, baked and brushed with olive oil and garlic. These are tasty. I’m less wild about the accompanying red sauce, which is fine on pizza, but a little too sweet here for some reason.
But let’s be honest with each other, just this once, Mandy. (Your name is Mandy now. Are you cool with that? I don’t really care.)
Mandy, we’re here to talk about pizza. And Jo’s has lots of pizza. So many options are available that Jo’s is totally cool with you doing half-and-halfs on the specialty pies, letting you try several varieties. Let me recommend a few.
For a vegetarian pizza with big flavor, the Veggie ($17.99 for a medium) does not disappoint. Spinach, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives — this thing is threatening to be healthy.
The Thunder is a buffalo chicken pizza with bleu cheese crumbles ($17.99 for a medium) and comes with a side of bleu cheese dressing. This is not for the meek, unless they’re planning to use their breath as a weapon against the strong in a bid to inherit the earth.
The Cowboy ($17.99 for a medium) is basically a barbecue cheeseburger on a pie crust instead of a bun. The BLT starts off normally — red sauce, mozzarella, bacon — then goes nuts with chopped lettuce and tomato added after cooking. I like them both.
Look, Mandy, Jo’s isn’t the cheapest pizza in town, but it’s not giving you the same kind of fast-food pizza that bores you to tears. There are some real standout flavors and a lot of quality packed into those boxes.
If you’re willing to spend a little more to get your taste buds tingling, then Jo’s is well worth a visit.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.