While on my Snob Christmas holiday in Texas, my two sons, and I, along with the Tay-ster, planned our annual trip to pick through used CDs and books at several Half Price Books stores’ annual 20% off sale. Last year’s jaunt presented a Joe’s Pizza something-or–other that wasn’t too bad. In planning this year’s eats, I was shocked to find listings for 15 different pizza joints in the area with some variation of “Joe’s” in their name. I found no common thread among them other than one guy (actually named Joe) whose family operates four of them. So as “Ray’s” is to New York City, I guess “Joe’s” is to Fort Worth.
(FYI–For the last two years, Fort Worth Star Telegram readers voted Mama’s Pizza, founded in 1968, to be Cowtown’s best with chain Mellow Mushroom runner-up. Readers of alternative rag Fort Worth Weekly chose the same top pick while their critics picked Fireside Pies.)
Unexpectedly, the Snob got started a day early when a stop at a Starbucks in a strip center on South Hulen led to a quick slice at Joe’s Pizza & Pasta next door. Turns out, this one is owned by the “Joe” I previously mentioned. A typical pizza joint with a walk-up counter and a few rows of booths, slices of cheese, pepperoni and sausage lay waiting under glass. I also noticed that the floor plan was similar to the joint on Bryant-Irvin that we visited last year. Joe had once owned but had since sold that one.
It was a few hours after lunch time, and the slice I ordered looked to have been sitting awhile. The slice looked classic after a re-heat but had that waxy-cheese look like you see on a Sbarro slice. Likewise, it had much more cheese visible than it did sauce. While made thin and cooked crisply, it didn’t have much flair winding up rather flat and unsatisfying to the taste. The slice also suffered from having its cheese and crust split apart. Overall, a disappointing slice but perhaps this Joe’s deserves a fresh-pie try at a different hour.
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** Better Than Dominos
Joe’s Pizza & Pasta
3000 Hulen Street
Fort Worth, TX 76109
We started our book and pizza tour the next morning at a Starbucks within a Target store where the Tay-ster wandered off to the indoor Pizza Hut to get a mini-pizza for his breakfast. After lecturing him about what this did to his reputation as a Snob apprentice, we did our gig at Half Price Books and then were surprised to find our planned lunch time pizza destination was in a strip center just across the highway. There we found NY Joe’s Pasta and Pizza, a full service joint with table seating and waitpersons.
We ordered the $10.99, 18-inch cheese pie. While working on my yummy starter Chicken Caesar Salad, I asked our waitress why all the Fort Worth pizza joints are named Joe’s. She mentioned that the original “Joe” didn’t franchise the name and that others just started to spring up, many of them owned by Albanian families.
The pie came out looking good but we jumped the gun eating it too soon, misplacing some of its cheese. The Tay-ster admired the thin crust and I agreed, adding that it was also not over-cheesed. Taste-wise, its sauce was flavorfully sprinkled with some oregano, but The Kid thought it a bit too salty. I found the crust slightly undercooked and not crisp enough for my liking. The real problem, however, was it was too oily. And for whatever reason, it didn’t age well and we wound up leaving a slice or two behind on the table.
It wasn’t a bad experience. However, despite this joint’s convenience, next time around we will probably pursue one of the other 13 Joe’s that we still have left to visit!
PIZZA SNOB RATING *** ½ Working on a Good Thing
NY Joe’s Pasta and Pizza
750 Alta Mere Dr. Suite 200
Fort Worth, TX 76116