Born and raised in Columbus, Mike Gallicchio is first and foremost an entrepreneur. You might be familiar with some of his work. He’s owner of the Columbus Food Truck Festival, Columbus Wine Festival, and Columbus Fiery Foods Festival, as well as a food truck fabrication company, Titan Trucks. His father (Pops) is the real pizza connoisseur of Columbus—He owned several Domino’s Pizza franchises. Once he was old enough, though, Gallicchio spent many a night makin’ pies and traveling from store to store proofing dough and slapping sauce. While he’s since eked out a living in a different part of Columbus’ cuisine scene, Gallicchio’s love for all things pizza has remained, and searching out perfect pies is something he’s passionate about. Every month, you can count on Gallicchio to share one of his favorite pizza places. Will it be one of your own favorites, or a new place to try?
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Pizza for Breakfast rating: 2
If you glance at the dictionary entry for “Hidden gem”, one of the examples you might find is Joe’s Pizza in Bexley, Ohio.
With so many mom and pop pizza joints in Columbus, it’s hard for me to hit all of them, but Joe’s was on my must-try list due to its reputation and the endorsements I’ve received. Joe’s Pizza is a staple and go-to for many east-siders, including a large number of my old neighborhood friends, who swear by it.
According to the pizzeria’s website, owner Joe Gillilan has been in the business for twenty-eight years. Joe’s Pizza is tucked away in the back corner of a small strip mall located on Broad Street in Bexley (3020 E. Broad St., to be exact). It’s somewhat tucked-away and difficult to find even though it’s on a very busy thoroughfare, but hard to find pizza joints tend to be the best!
The front windows are plastered with signs advertising homemade sausage and pepperoni, and the first thing customers notice when walking through their doors is the big, old, slate-bottomed oven, burnt dark brown and crusty black from its many years of quality usage.
I decided to order a large pepperoni pizza, being that this was my first time trying Joe’s: I went with the gold standard of Columbus-style pizza. On the drive home I had to reach for that scrumptious-looking cut corner piece (Pizza pro-tip number one, always try the corner piece first, it’s easier to eat while driving and fits into your mouth in one bite).
In fact, one can tell a lot about the quality of a pizza by the corner piece. Joe’s Pizza’s crust is very thin and crispy, but still a bit thicker than some of the cracker-style crusts that exist.
I could tell Joe’s makes their own dough, the sauce is flavorful, and the pepperoni had that spicy bite that all great pepperoni pizzas should have. I hear the homemade sausage is fantastic, and I will definitely try that on my next trip.
The pie was a little greasy due the plethora of pepperoni, and greasy pizza makes it a not so good breakfast item. So while I can’t rate this pizza highly on my breakfast scale, it’s still a solid Columbus pie overall.
Give it a shot, if you can find it.
If you like this, read: Gallicchio’s perfect pies, a monthly review: Little Sicily’s Pizza