I was feeling a little homesick this week so I wanted my all-time favorite food: pizza.
Before I moved to Nashville, I had lost a ton of weight. I went from 265 lbs down to 217 all while working at a pizzeria. That, my friends, is what I call discipline and drive, or masochism… Either one works. I loved working at a pizza shop. It’s laid back yet fast paced at times, and the people are great. You have your pain-in-the-ass customers every now and then; but at the end of the day, it’s pizza.
So when I first moved to Nashville, I looked at pizza places for a job. The funniest interaction I think was at “Pizza Perfect” on 21st. I walk in with my resumé and start talking to the girl behind the counter. She looks at me with this smug look on her face and asks me… ME… in a deep southern draw, “Do you know anything about New York style pizza?” That sentence took about 2 minutes to come out of her mouth by the way…
“Lady, do you know anything about New York style pizza?! First off, it’s just called pizza. Did you even look at my resume? Do you see where I’m from? Have you bothered to notice that I’ve worked at a pizzeria the last however long? In fact, no, gimme that back. I’m going somewhere else” and I walked out. Kind of a dick move but it felt great.
In my searches I found a place that seemed like a great fit. “Joey’s House of Pizza“. I stepped inside, and the smell brought me back to Crosby Pizza in the Bronx. It had to be the sauce. It was like I stepped through a portal to NYC.
There’s a decent line, but the girl behind the counter is slinging slices like a pro. Her brother was throwing dough in the air making pies like a master, while their father, Joey, handled the salad bar and other food, like chicken and meatball parm, desserts and what not.
I step into the bathroom to wash my hands, and there’s a massive Ninja Turtles poster, framed, on the wall… Hell Yes!!
I get on line and the three of them are yelling at each there in Itanglish with heavy New York accents… I’m home! I see that they’re from Brooklyn and I get all excited. My turn came up and I tell the girl I’ll have a pepperoni and a regular. She turns and does a double take, as if no one has ordered like that in a while. The gentleman next to me, wearing overalls and no shirt like a country bumpkin asks me, “Sir, might I ask you what is a regular?”
“Plain,” I replied.
Still, a wide eyed look of confusion drapes this man’s face.
“A cheese slice,” I say to him.
And that finally triggered his understanding. “Oooooh ok! You ain’t from ‘round here, are ya?”
“What gave it away?” And we both laughed.
Joey’s has a signature slice called the Gladiator and it’s exactly as intimidating as it sounds.
It’s basically a slice of cake, but it’s pizza. They take a pizza dough, spread it out like normal, but stack about an inch high’s worth of pepperoni on it, add cheese & sauce, and then cover it with ANOTHER LAYER OF DOUGH. Sprinkle some more cheese on, add a little sausage and a couple more slices of pepperoni and boom, you got yourself a Gladiator. It’s filling, coma inducing, and most of all – delicious.
It’s a challenge to finish but as the great Louis C.K. says, “The meal isn’t over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” I’ll never hate myself after a Gladiator. It gave me everything I wanted, especially the taste of home. I love coming here.
They’re only open from 11am – 3pm during Monday – Friday, and that’s all they need because the line is out the door.
If you’re in Nashville and want to know what New Yorker’s do best, head to Joey’s.
Now time for more fasted cardio in the mornings…
I’m Joey, a New York drummer living in Nashville, playing with the band, Arc & Stones.
I LOVE FOOD! Right after college, I gained a lot of weight and hit a whopping 267 lbs. Terrified that I could hit 300 lbs before I hit 30 years, I decided to take control of the foods I was eating and started taking the fitness thing more seriously. I keep a very strict diet, making sure I hit my macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbs) each day. I hit the gym six days a week.
But once a week I cheat and treat myself. Food is one of my favorite things in life. This regime allows me to have my cheese-stuffed, deep-fried cake and eat it too. My column will focus on these indulgent treats.