October is National Pizza Month, and Berks County Eats is celebrating by visiting some of our area’s best pizzerias all month long.
Most weeks on Berks County Eats, I take you — my readers — with me as a visit a new place and try something different.
Discovering new places and foods is one of my favorite parts about doing this blog.
But I would be doing a disservice to everyone if I didn’t also throw in some old favorites, places that I have enjoyed since childhood. Places that I frequented before the blog began. Places like P&J’s Pizza.
Opening on High St. in Womelsdorf in 1989, Pete and John (the P and J in P&J’s) have been serving western Berks County for more than 25 years.
Growing up in nearby Robesonia in the 90s, I can’t remember a time without P&J’s. They were always there in the store, and their pizza was at every party and every post-game meal throughout my childhood.
Through the years, the restaurant has remained much the same. The seven booths are surrounded by wood paneled walls. If not for the brand new TV in the corner, you would never know it wasn’t still 1989.
I have had more meals than I can count at P&J’s, trying much of the menu. Their subs are incredible, served in rolls that are more like hollowed-out loaves of Italian bread. The strombolis are also very good.
But what I love more than anything else on the menu is the Sicilian pizza.
Sicilian pizza, for those who have never tried it, is a little bit different from your traditional pie. The most obvious difference is that it’s square. Sicilians fit much more snugly into the carry-out boxes.
It’s also a thicker crust, more like a Chicago-style pizza that rises in the oven instead of remaining flat.
P&J’s does Sicilians as well as anyone. It’s baked until the edges are crispy and the cheese is perfectly melted. The sauce is sweet and the pepperoni is just a little spicier than other restaurants.
The slices are hearty, but I still managed to put down three of them before my stomach threw up the white flag.
In addition, Sicilian pies are a great value if you have a lot of mouths to feed. The large pie, which measures 16-inches square, is sliced in 12 pieces for $12.50 (toppings are $2.25 each so ours was $15.00).
Julie and I shared our pie with my parents, and between the four of us we still had three slices left at the end of the meal. If you do the math, it comes to about $3 per meal, a value no matter how you look at it.
Every small town has a place like P&J’s — a little pizza shop that locals come back to over and over again.
For me, as much as I love new and different, I will always keep going back to P&J’s as long as they keep putting out the same great pizzas I remember from my childhood.