I'm always a little leery of the results of people polls that tout restaurants. I've found that many of the winners are of a direct result of ballot box stuffing by the businesses that win. When I found a place called Ed n' Joe's Restaurant and Pizzeria being named the best pizza place in the Chicagoland area by Citysearch readers in 2007, I thought it may be one of those restaurants where the ballot box was stuffed in their favor. Recently, I just happened to be on the south side of Chicago one evening and I decided to check out Ed n' Joe's.
(As an aside, the 2008 Citysearch winners for best pizza in Chicago have been named and this year Home Run Pizza was voted as the best by readers. While Home Run Pizza is good, it's no where close to some of the great pizzas I've found on the south and west side of Chicago over the past couple of years. Home Run Pizza is on par with Godfather's Pizza here in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest. Godfather's is good pizza, too. Not great, but good.)
Ed n' Joe's has been in existence since 1961 in suburban Tinley Park. The current owner, Michael Clark, is the son of one of the original owners of Ed n' Joe's. He got his start in the restaurant when he was 13 years old, washing dishes, busing tables, doing whatever needed to be done to make a go of the place. Over the years, Ed n' Joe's became a full service restaurant serving sandwiches, salads and entrees including fish, meat and pasta dishes.
I pulled into the parking lot behind Ed n' Joe's (see map) around 7:30 and went in the back side door. That took me directly into the bar area. I thought about sitting at the bar, but there was a guy and two women sitting there who were extraordinarily loud. I stood at the hostess stand near the entrance of the dining room and waited for a table. The hostess seated me at a booth near a table of four couples who also were very loud. One of the guys had a piercing laugh that literally scared me a couple times because it was so loud.
Oh well, so much for a relaxing evening having dinner. I got a menu from the hostess and ordered up a beer while I looked to see what I wanted. Well, I knew what I wanted - Citysearch voters said they had the best pizza in the suburbs, so I needed to try one.
The waitress came back and I ordered my standard thin crust, sausage, pepperoni, and mushroom pizza. She asked if I wanted any bread sticks or "scmods". I said, "What's a scmod?" She explained they were an appetizer of bread dipped in Italian beef broth, then baked in an oven with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. I said, "Man, that sounds sinful and great, but I want to try the pizza tonight."
It wasn't long where the loud couples were leaving, and then another large family left the dining area, so it quieted down considerably. I sat reading my Chicago Tribune and enjoying a cold beer, relaxing after a long day of appointments.
About 20 minutes after I ordered, my pizza showed up. The pizza pictured on the left was not my pizza, but it has a very close resemblance to the pizza I was served. The crust was thin, flaky and flavorful. The toppings were excellent - the sausage chunks were huge and very tasty, the pepperoni was great and the mushrooms fresh. The sauce was sweet and tangy - very, very good. The pizza as a whole was very, very good. I was pleasantly surprised.
(Man, I have go to stop writing these blog entries on an empty stomach! The above picture of an Ed n' Joe's pizza makes me want to crawl to Tinley Park right now to get one.)
This time the readers of Citysearch didn't steer me wrong. I was very impressed with Ed n' Joe's Pizza. The restaurant was very nice, the service was good, the pizza was great. I look at this as another very good south side pizza restaurant - one of many I'm beginning to find in the Chicagoland area. While it may not be the best I've had, it was still damn good.