Before I start my review, I need to get something off my chest.
I consider myself capable of delivering a fair review. I’m not looking to dump on any place in town, especially local favorites and landmarks. I’m not looking to make a name for myself doing this, as I do this for fun and it’s just a hobby of mine. I started this blog because I dine out constantly, and I was tired of reading reviews that were fifteen paragraphs dedicated to the history of the establishment or cuisine of a particular region, accompanied by seven pictures of the food, then two sentence on the food itself. I never go to a place less than three times before I make up my mind, and none of these reviews are done immediately after visiting a place, so I can go home and collect my thoughts before putting anything online.
We’re going to disagree, and that’s fine. No two people love exactly the same thing and I can respect your opinion. However, if the only reason you love a place and defend it is because “it’s been around forever”, well then that’s unfortunate. Many places, including restaurants – ESPECIALLY restaurants – need to either improve or maintain a certain quality standard to their goods otherwise customers will move onto another choice. It’s that’s simple; I’m not going to keep going to a place where the quality has suffered and the price stays the same. There comes a time when even having brand recognition isn’t enough to save a suffering establishment.
That being said, if you hated my review of Ramsey’s, don’t read this.
I’m sure there was a time where Joe B’s was the best place in town. Heck, it still may be the favorite pizzeria in town for hundreds, even thousands of Lexingtonians. To each his own. However I consider myself a pizza snob, and Joe B’s is not the best pizza Lexington has to offer.
It’s a shame. I know how many of you love Joe Bologna’s. It reminds me of when I was younger, when a seafood restaurant back in Mastic which I loved just didn’t keep up with it’s reputation. After a few horrendous meals and a case of food poisoning, I won’t even step close enough to the building to board the windows. You never want to see a childhood memory die, but you can’t put off the obvious forever: Joe B’s just isn’t that good.
The garlic breadsticks are an embarrassment. While a healthy portion, with an even more unhealthy portion of butter accompanying it, it’s just bland. It’s inexpensive, however if I’m ordering a garlic breadstick, can I maybe get some GARLIC with it please? A pinch of garlic powder isn’t enough, especially when you cook it before you place it in the oven, burning the powder on top.
People flock to Joe B’s for one reason: the pizza. It’s not bad, but it’s not worthy of it’s reputation. My latest visit included ordering one of their “Specialty” pizzas: a four cheese Sicilian pizza consisting of mozzerella, provolone, cheddar and fontinella. After my initial tasting, I knew EXACTLY what it resembled: Stouffers french bread pizza. I’m talking a carbon copy, flavor wise. The difference is two of Stouffer’s french bread pizzas cost $5 at a grocery store, while here a 8×10 pizza costs $10. Now you can obviously put more toppings on your pizza, and I would recommend doing such. In the past I’ve ordered garlic, pepperoni and sausage on a small pizza, and it wasn’t bad. Kat ordered the broccoli and garlic pizza, which comes with white sauce:
She loved the pizza, as it was crisp and not too garlicky. Like I said earlier in the post (and in my profile), I’m a pizza snob who grew up on NYC and Long Island pizza, so while I may not enjoy it that doesn’t mean you won’t.
Here’s my real issue with Joe B’s: Stick to the pizza, subs and salads, because the meals are awful. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. I ordered the lasagna on one of my more recent trips to Joe B’s, and I left less than impressed.
This couldn’t have been a more half-assed, more hastily put together meal. From what I can gather, this must have been put together a few days in advance, maybe the day before I came in. I can picture this sitting in a walk-in freezer, being defrosted in a microwave, cooked in an oven with some sauce and then topped off with some cheese, then cooked some more. The sauce was watery, so it was either cooked with the now defrosted lasagna (most likely) or it is just naturally like that, which I don’t particularly care for either. It was soggy, tasteless, and a complete waste of my money. I’m not even sure it had meat in it. I hate being so critical, but what I hate even more is throwing money away on bad food.
I realize that some places prepare their food in advance. Yes, it takes a long time to prepare lasagna. Yes, it takes even longer to cook the lasagna. Yet you have to remember that people are going to your establishment looking to enjoy a tasty, hot meal and they’re willing to pay. I would be ashamed to have served this at my house to guests, and I’ve never even made lasagna before. Unbelievable.
Service at Joe B’s is like any other place: You need to go in a certain time. We’ve been there when they’re busy and when they’re dead, and the service has always been adequate. When it comes time to bring you your food, it comes out with minimal wait. When you’re done and waiting for your check and need some boxes, then I hope you have good company since you’re going to be sitting for a while. It’s not that big of a deal, since I’d rather wait for the check than wait for my food. I’ve never had an unfriendly waitress at Joe B’s, so there’s that.
Yes, “everyone” loves Joe Bologna’s. Sadly, I can’t join the party.