Johnny Pepperoni Reviewed
A real Hoboken neighborhood Italian Restaurant – Johnny Pepperoni
After sitting in Johnny Pepperoni’s at 11th & Park during a busy dinner service, it became immediately clear: this restaurant is here to stay for a very long time.
Great food, BYOB, and a healthy mix of customers ranging from chatty groups of friends to happy families & kids, Johnny Pepperoni is one of the most ideal restaurants to open up in Hoboken in a very long time.
You have to also consider that it’s a risky proposition to open up a new dining establishment when economic times look unsteady. But “JP’s” (my nickname for editorial purposes), fits the bill. While they feature delicious pizza pies, JP’s is a full-service Italian restaurant that focuses on much more than God’s food-gift to mankind. You’ll have to try it to truly understand.
Enough with the accolades – let’s now briefly review what dishes were sampled, as well as other first-time observations:
So was Johnny Pepperoni any good?
- Appetizers: Bruschetta. We tried them all, from the traditional tomato, basil & ricotta cheese (my favorite), to the broccoli rabe and eggplant. $3 for a large piece (two servings). Bread was light, crispy and easy to eat. Simple, yet far from unfulfilling. A great appetizer to whet your appetite for what’s to come.
- Pizza: Square pie. We opted for the thicker, Sicilian-style pie for whatever reason, and got 1/2 pepperoni (why not? it’s in the name!) A very good choice. Not many pizza places can pull off Sicilian well, and JP’s knocked it out of the park. Excellent dough, extraordinary pepperoni (only a handful of places have “real” pepperoni that crisps like bacon in the oven), and perfectly seasoned sauce with enough oomph and tang to push you over the edge for that extra slice. A+++
- Entree: Chicken Diablo. One word, three letters: WOW. Owner Gina said this dish was the chef’s creation, and while it’s just a simple sliced piece of chicken on the bone, with caramelized onions, peppers, and balsamic vinaigrette – it may very well have been the highlight of the meal. Tender meat, exemplary kick, and flavor-bursting veggies and seasonings. Even a day later my mouth still waters. Also highly recommended.
- Bonus: We were treated for a little dessert, despite being stuffed to the gills. Some zeppoles (like Pennsylvania Dutch treats in Venice), and a Nutella Pizza. While I’m not a fan of Nutella personally, others at the table gave that “roll your eyes back and nod of approval” look. ‘Nuff said.
Johnny Pepperoni Verdict: #Winning!
Going out to eat these days is somewhat of a luxury for this reviewer – due to the time constraints I’ve voluntarily imposed on my life. But if and when I’m in need of a sit-down meal at a Hoboken restaurant, Johnny Pepperoni will certainly be at the top of the list. Excellent across the board.
The BYOB factor also helps, as everyone knows that it lessens the damage in the pocket book if alcohol consumption is involved.
Johnny Pepperoni takes their last table at 10pm, seven days a week (for now), and will begin delivery sometime in September. I also suggested that they consider opening up early at least a few days a week, so that customers can have a nice cafe to enjoy a cup of espresso and read the paper in a friendly atmosphere. Perhaps some nice pastries too? You never know, it could be the social hot spot that re-invents how restaurants can extend their sustainability!
Overall, it’s thrilling to have a great place like this in Hoboken. Kudos!