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joe's NY pizza in santa monica = hyped & awful

I tried and must report..Sorry but this pizza is terrible. Horribly bland sauce, Costco tasting toppings (especially the sausage which tastes like that swift premium junk you had as a kid.) Yeah it has a NY style crust (thin and foldable) but that also means it tastes like cardboard.

They do not take credit or debit cards. That's a big mistake in a tourist area like Santa Monica. The block of Broadway where they are located is a bit sketchy and over run with homeless people panhandling strangers. Next door is a liquor store if you need an ATM and next door to that is a "water pipe" store -- a place selling pipes and paraphernalia for "tobacco." It’s not the best block to be on when carrying cash only.

It’s been over hyped for its arrival. If you want a chewy crust I still recommend Abbott Kinney Pizza also in Santa Monica and in Venice. I’ve posted here in the past that Abbott’s pizza was good. Even Dagwood’s on Wilshire has a much better sauce than joes. This joes place is not the answer to your pizza dreams.

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  1. There are obviously many different pizza camps, and I'm afraid you and I won't ever be sharing a tent.

    1. I tried Joe's with my NJ SO and it met with his approval. It is a bit over-hyped though, I'll agree. And we both still much preferred Vito's over Joe's. As a complete side note, one of the guys behind the counter (he seemed like the manager, but I'm not certain) was loudly chewing out one of his employees. Of course I don't know the details, but the guy seemed like a jerk. I'm so not a fan of public humiliation.

      1. Well HG...to each his/her own..for many transplanted NY's ..Joes is a bit of home...its hard to explain ... it is one of those..."you had to be there.."...when the guys in my office go to NY they order Dominoes because they don't like NY Pizza...go figure

        1. awful is awfully exaggerated b/c joe's is a typical ny slice, for those that want that.

          4 Replies
          1. re: epop

            it's true, I wouldn't necessarily expect someone who didn't grow up on NY pizza to be wowed by a Joe's slice. but for those who did, it's a little slice of heaven.

            1. re: epop

              I tried Joe's last night for the first time. A slice of cheese and a slice of sausage. It was good but far from great.
              I will go again and order a fresh pie or at least wait for a fresh pie to come out of the oven to taste the real pizza. My cheese only slice was tired, like a slice that you kept overnight in your refrigerator and then threw in the toaster oven. The cheese was hardened on and had lost its melty quality. The crust also tasted like a day old Bay Cities roll that you heat up again--it's lost its pop.
              The sausage slice (probably my fault because I went there wanting sausage and got it without considering what they had available) just had slices of sausage strewn about loosely on top. The cheese and crust were the same as above.
              My Vito's slice, maybe because it was fresher, was much better.

              I'm not a New Yorker; I was born in Santa Monica. I've only been to NY once, so my comments don't come from an authenticity point of view.
              My conclusion based on 2 slices: their ovens are not hot enough. To get the crust to their desired doneness (which is also how I like it and except for here and Vito's and Mozza, I always order pizza well done) they have to overcook the rest of the pie. It's like trying to get a good char on steak on an inferior grill. By the time you get the crust you want, the rest of the steak is overdone. If their ovens were hot enough to blister the crust just as the cheese bubbled, they have a great pie.

              1. re: Wolfgang

                And this is why you need a wood burning oven, which puts out an interior temp of 700 degrees on the deck, and hotter at the dome. With rare exceptions, a Baker's Pride or similar oven just won't do the job. They do have high tech gas fired ovens, and I have tried the pizza in two of them in LA - Pitfire and CPK, and found them both wanting. Still either Mozza or Antica for me, depending on what kind of a pie I want.

                1. re: Wolfgang

                  Ideally, the crust of a NY-style pie should be crisp without cracking. Joe's tends to err on the side of too crisp but I *much* prefer that to most places where the pizza sags and droops.

              2. That Joe's only accepts cash is a big thumbs up, in my opinion! Standing in a line of ten people all trying to negotiate a $5 credit card transaction for a couple slices of pie is not my idea of fastfood... You like Abbott's in Venice, and think Venice is generally safer than 2nd St./Broadway in Santa Monica? Haven't heard of any recent wildings around the Promenade. Sounds like Joes is not the answer to *your* pizza dreams...

                3 Replies
                1. re: silence9

                  I haven't tried the pizza but I agree with you - shouldn't denigrate a fast food place for not taking cards, and also for not being in the most pristine area. Heck, then we should all bash Harold and Belle's if that is the case (regarding location). Or Philips BBQ, etc.

                  1. re: monkuboy

                    Or Langer's.
                    Or Bulgarini Gelato.
                    Or anywhere in KTown.

                  2. re: silence9

                    There is a branch of Abbotts located in Santa Monica on Pico Blvd directly across from SM College. They even have parking there. I was referring to that location.