Restaurant Review by Leanna K. Potts
Johnny Brusco’s New York Style Pizza
700 SE Walton Blvd., Suite 10
Open 7 days a week
10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
The smell of yeast and Italian seasonings hits you as soon as you get out of your car and head for the door of Johnny Brusco’s.
There is nothing fancy about the restaurant, it’s just a large open room where you can sit at the counter if you prefer and watch the cooks hand toss the pizza dough. But, the atmosphere is cozy and inviting because of the smells and the attentiveness of the waitstaff.
Even as a first time customer, the servers made me feel like this was my hundredth time there. Despite the lunch hour rush, the staff was calm and friendly. They took the extra couple of minutes to sincerely make sure that we were enjoying our meal — not just asking in a distracted cursory manner as they rushed by. A number of repeat customers were heartily greeting Stella, their server, by name. This was interesting as the restaurant had only opened May 4.
When you go, go early so you can get a table. This is one of those restaurants where even after the new has worn off, they will continue to be inundated by repeat business because the food is outstanding.
The pizza dough is yeast raised and hand-thrown for both the pizza and the Stromboli. The crust is crisp, delicate and melt-in-your-mouth delicious from first bite to last.
The portions are large. Pizza is sold by the slice as well as the pie. A slice is almost the size of a small pizza. I tried a slice of pepperoni ($2.80) just to see how the crust tasted. The traditional Stromboli ($7.95) is out of this world, partly because of the hand tossed dough. The Lasagna is delicious and plentiful and comes with a crisp garden salad and garlic bread ($9.95). You can add a side of spaghetti for $2.25, but you would need a man-sized appetite to add it to the dinner portions they serve.
Appetizers like the Mini-Garlic Knots and Bread Stix made with that delicious dough and the wings are great starters. There is also a nice selection of salads in both regular and large sizes (nice portions) and include Greek, Chef, Caesar, Grilled Chicken and Tuna.
Besides a large selection of pizza toppings and specialty pizzas like Chicken Florentine, Pesto Pie, Veggie Deluxe with fresh spinach and tomatoes, and Mexican Border, there are Calzones and Stromboli and a variety of Subs including Johnny’s Special Oven-Baked Sub (ham, salami and cappicolla), Steak and Cheese, Tuna Melt, Veggie or Parmigiana (meatball, chicken, sausage or eggplant). Subs range from $6.25 to $6.95. Under the heading of Italian Dinners ($8.95-9.95), selections include Ravioli, Eggplant Parmigiana, Baked Ziti and Bronx Bomber for the meat lover (meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, onions and green pepper in marinara and topped with mozzarella). Save room for the Cinnamon Knots ($3.99) and Cheesecake desserts ($3.50).
There are lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. A children’s menu features Spaghetti and Ravioli dishes ($3.25 to $3.95). Draft and bottled beer and wine by the glass is also available.
Thanks, Stella, for taking such good care of me and all the rest of your customers. A special wave to the kitchen and the rest of the floor crew. Good job, guys!
Johnny Brusco’s is located in the new Fountain Plaza on Walton Blvd., just a short drive west of Interstate 540.