Johnny G’s Famous Pizza
7315 Oxford Avenue
Next up on the “slowly killing ourselves by consuming ridiculous amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol” agenda is a little establishment who has been serving the Burholme/Fox Chase/Elkins Park residents with some of the area’s finest pizza for over 3 years. Johnny G’s looks like your average, run of mill neighborhood pizza shop from the outside, but inside tells a completely different story. From the moment we walked in, it seemed like the dinner rush just hit on a Saturday night. However, it was only Wednesday. The staff was unbelievably busy yet they all maintained their cool, each helping the other out. They looked like a bunch of foot soldiers stacking up sandwiches, dressing up dozens of orders of wings and saucing up pizzas as far as the eye can see. Under their command was Johnny G himself. His confidence almost melted my face as I walked in. He reminded me of a general about to lead his troops into combat. He was vicious and ruthless, but at the same time he knew exactly what he was doing. 40+ years in the biz will do that to you. He had the 1,000 yard pizza stare. He was definitely an OG in the pizza game. Boss status.
We decided to keep it simple like Kevin McCallister. A lovely plain pizza just for us. Nothing fancy pants…well, except for the shirt and ties. After we ordered, we were informed about their famous white pizzas that they’re locally known for. We’ll get to that a little later. We sat by ourselves, out of sight so the staff wouldn’t see us making stupid faces with pizza dangling from our mouths. As the plain made its way to our table, we high fived and dug in. There was no method to the madness of the distribution of cheese and sauce. Some bites had more cheese than sauce and vice versa. That’s what I ❤ about it. The body was super crispy and the crust was the just the right size. It wasn’t too thin but it wasn’t thick like all that Frankford avenue slop. I wouldn’t recommend eating it right out of the oven because you’ll definitely burn your mouth. I did it 4 times in a row because I’m a total idiot.
Now, we mutually agreed that if the white pizza was Johnny G’s specialty, then white pizza we must have. So 20 hours after consuming the plain pizza, we went back for more. Plic picked it up and brought the beast to my house and we went to town. As we lifted the lid, it was like the contents of Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase was shining us in the face. It was perfection to say the least. A white pizza topped with fresh tomatoes, spinach and…wait for it…BACON. This pizza was so fucking delicious. I’m so happy we ended up with this pie. It far exceeded my expectations when I seen it on the menu. The small patches of crispy bacon mixed with the juicy tomatoes and fresh garlic were a combination to be reckoned with. No wonder this is the pizza that all the locals swear by. I dare you to order this exact pizza and not personally thank us for this review. On a side note, leftovers are twice as delicious in your toaster oven the next morning.
Since I’m well out of delivery range, Johnny G’s may very well end up being my new pick up joint. I’ll make the 10 minute drive for one of these tasty pies any day of the week.
There’re few establishments out there that can provide both friendly service and a quality product. If an arrogant pizzeria knows how good they are, they tend to take for granted the value of the customer. After all, they most likely have a solid clientele and don’t care about losing a customer here and there. On the other hand, a below average pizzeria will tend to be extra friendly to overcompensate for how shitty their pizza actually is. These are the kind of places where they immediately smile at you when you walk in, just to show how grateful they are for having a customer. But somewhere in between the friendliness and quality is where you can find Johnny G’s Famous Pizza. Located at 7315 Oxford Ave in Northeast Philly, Johnny G’s is the type of place where the cast of Cheers would probably get pizza, since many of the employees know their customers by name. After visiting the amount of establishments we have since the inception of Doughboys, it was nice to be able to go to a pizzeria, have a candid and laidback conversation with the owner, and enjoy some truly delicious pizza.
I think it’s safe to say that of all the comfort foods out there, pizza is the best. (Duh.) So what better way to prepare for a viewing than stopping for a quick slice of pizza?! I had heard nothing but good things about the plain pizza at Johnny G’s from friends and coworkers, so we kept it simple with that. Being a busy night at the shop, it took a good 30 minutes for our pie. But it was certainly worth the wait. The sauce to cheese ratio was about 60/40, which ruled cause I tend to enjoy a little more sauce on my pie. Also, it stretched to the edge of the crust (or “handle” as I’ve heard it called by some), allowing for more pizza than crust. Their sauce is just a bit sweeter than your average pizzeria, which is always a welcomed change of pace. That, along with their signature pan crust, made the experience more than worth the trip. But it wasn’t until we finished our pie and talked to Johnny that we realized there was another menu item we had to try (albeit some 20 hours later).
Before Johnny G’s, Vince’s white tomato and spinach was my end all-be all of white pizzas. After Johnny G’s, a new king has been crowned. Johnny himself had told me they do some pretty spectacular things with white pizzas, and he certainly backed up his word. Their Specialty Pizza #4 is a white pie with diced tomato, spinach, basil, and BACON. Topped off with grated Parmesan cheese, and this bad boy was ready for a test taste. My mouth seriously salivated as I drove the pizza over to Castro’s house, with the aroma of garlic and olive oil flooding my nostrils and car. Once there, I practically kicked his disgusting neighbors out of the way to get inside and get a look. Oh what a glorious sight it was! For having so many toppings, the crust wasn’t weighed down. The pan shaped crust at Johnny G’s combines the thinness of Italian crust with a hint of Greek crust, allowing for a thin, yet sturdy canvas to work with. When I first read the menu and saw the toppings, I knew that the bacon was gonna steal the show and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Every bite led to a bacon aftertaste. I really don’t think I have to say much more. It was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten.
As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been to a lot of pizzerias lately. But of all the ones I’ve visited, I think Johnny G’s is the one that I won’t mind going out of my way to get to again. If you have the option for delivery or pickup, I say you stop in and meet Johnny himself.