What’s different about Joe & Ernie’s Pizzeria pizza? Co-founder Ernie Carrillo calls it straight out of the Midwest. And he’s not talking about Chicago deep-dish style.
“The pizza served in the Midwest, and we’re talking about places like Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, isn’t loaded with a lot of cheese and it’s made on thin crust,” said Carrillo, a 2000 graduate of Hilltop High School.
But what makes it totally different is that it is cut in rectangular strips — with scissors.
Chula Vista’s east side diners can now check out the pizzeria’s tasty offerings after the original west side eatery, located at 730 Broadway, has expanded to include a second Eastlake location. Located at 2295 Otay Lakes Road, the new restaurant opened Aug. 13 between Miguel’s Cocina and Bento & Noodles.
Students from nearby Eastlake High School quickly made the discovery.
“On Fridays when they get out early, this place is packed with kids,” Carrillo said, smiling.
Mall foot-traffic, especially during lunchtime, is something new for the growing establishment, which opened at the original west side location in December 2005.
Carrillo said the ultimate goal is to franchise the pizzeria, slowly branching northward. “I’ve always wanted to do two stores in Chula Vista — one on the west side and one on the east side,” he said.
Carrillo admitted the new mall location is a “big step,” in his words.
“It’s more of a corporate setting,” he said. “We’re busy all the time.”
Carrillo admitted there are subtle differences between west side and east side pizza lovers, but the most popular pizza remains “the works” — tomato sauce, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, pepperoni, black olives, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
The 12-inch serving size sells for $13.99; the 16-inch version goes for $19.99.
Joe & Ernie’s also sells pizza by the slice, and eight-inch personal pizzas are also available.
The restaurant does not use trans fat in its dough but does spike it with garlic butter, which gives the crust a slightly brown appearance. It’s also cooked to a crispy-chewy texture.
Besides traditional — and non-traditional — pizzas, the restaurant also serves calzones, salads and sandwiches. The pizzas are surprisingly good, especially the overall lack of oils that tend to pool on pizzas overloaded with cheese and meats.
While the pizza may be served up Midwestern style, the variety of toppings reflect the California locale. Five of the 14 pizzas on the menu were vegetarian-friendly.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information, call 240-7980 or visit the Web site at www.jandepizzeria.com.