Hitting a new pizza spot when traveling is a must. With daddy duties and work, I’ve been pretty stationary lately, so when I do travel I’ve got to make my slices count.
I’m fortunate Tess always plays along nicely, just last weekend obliging my pizza escapades on her birthday weekender to Door County’s annual Fall Fest in Sister Bay.
While a Door County trip is always filled with epic sunsets, sightseeing, apple cider donuts, and supper clubs it doesn’t have that much pizza.
Actually, when most think of Door County and pizza, I’d bet they either draw a blank or imagine the winding lines and lengthy waits that come with the infamous Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza. While Wild Tomato is delicious and the obvious choice for most pizza craving tourists, I had to wonder what else is out there…
Maybe, something a little thinner, a little crispier and cut a little more rectangular?
For the last three years, Joe Jo’s Pizza in Sister Bay has been on my to-do list with their super-thin tavern-style pizza, but with only so many mealtimes in a day and vacation itineraries to max capacity, they’ve always taken a back seat to Wild Tomato.
This year though I opted to follow the road less traveled to the pizza less eaten and finally made it Joe Jo’s (despite their insanely early closing hours, 8:30pm!)
Toppings under the cheese, yes, please.
Joe Jo’ had a delicate and almost brittle outer crust that was speckled with spices—that dusting across the cheese gave the pizza a unique oregano forward flavor, which I quite enjoyed.
In common tavern-style fashion, they tuck their housemade hand-pinched sausage and pepperonis underneath the cheese and let that mozzarella toast up to a golden brown on top. It’s finished off with a party-cut.
Joe Jo’s was a welcome change of pace from Wild Tomato.
There’s no doubt that Wild Tomato is the Door County staple for pizza, but Joe Jo’s had many perks of its own, for starters, you can skip the 1-2 hour long wait times that can accompany Wild Tomato during dinner time and you get a unique spin on a tavern-style pie (plus there’s gelato).
Joe Jo’s made me realize that to continuously expand my pizza prowess, I’ve got to break the norm and look beyond the most popular places, even though their reputations may make them the obvious places to hit.
The hippest and trendiest restaurants, with the rave reviews and lines around the block, will always have a place, but there’s beauty in discovering those mom and pop joints off the beaten path.
What pizza taught me:
Perhaps in the shadows of the things we put on pedestals, there’s something that suits us even better.
What I’m eating: Joe Jo’s half pepperoni and sausage
What I’m reading: Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance –Alex Hutchinson