You gotta go there…

February 18, 2008 § 2 Comments

When HM and I lived in NYC, we’d celebrate Friday nights by going to Johnnie’s for calzone. OMG I was skinny then. Wore white jeans. Slim tops. HM’s hair was out to here and he towered over me in a wonderful slouch.

Anyway, we had our regular seats. Johnnie himself would bring over the parmesan cheese, the red pepper shake, the napkins and forks. He knew, after our second visit, what we wanted. We never deviated.

Wearing a huge half burned mitt, Johnnie would bring out the hot hammered looking baking sheet with our calzone on it, and plunk it down on our table with a huge smile. He rarely talked, except to look over at us later and say, “Good, uh?” 

We sucked down huge ice waters and now and then cold beer. We never drank sodas in those days. We were as kind as we could be to ourselves. We had no choice. The body in NYC (as in anywhere obviously) needs to be in excellent shape, ready to walk for miles (no cabs around), go long blocks (usually in search of an address), run for the subway, skip out of the way of oncoming tourists, sidestep bike messengers, etc etc , you get the picture.

But on Friday nights, we stoked ourselves on Johnnie’s excellent calzones. Three-cheese. Sometimes ham, sometimes not, never during Lent.

So why tell you all this years later when we’ve long since moved out of the City to the middle of the Midwest? Because we have found, here in the Lou, at long last, some NY style pizza. No questions asked about thick or thin. It’s NY style. Period. Calzones, too. Luscious stuff. It’s at Pizzarelli’s at Clarkson and Clayton.

You can stay there and eat it, too. There are tables and aluminum legged chairs that rock a little and scrape the floor when you move them around. The window of the pizzeria gets all steamy and the TV is always on.  Mike Pizzarelli doesn’t own it anymore. He and wife, both from Brooklyn, are no longer there. But the present owner is just as  pleasant, serves us at our table, and yells across the room, just like Johnnie did, “Good, eh?”

HM gives him a thumbs up and we chow down. I recommend it. Ya’ gotta go there and if don’t see the romance in it, you will nonetheless enjoy the excellent pizza and calzone.


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