Words & Deeds

New restaurant opens with NY-style pizza. And homemade ice cream sandwiches? Uh-oh

Pizza by the slice is hot and “lightning fast” at Johnny Bronx. If you want to buy a whole, 20-inch pizza, order in advance unless you want to wait 12 to 15 minutes.
Pizza by the slice is hot and “lightning fast” at Johnny Bronx. If you want to buy a whole, 20-inch pizza, order in advance unless you want to wait 12 to 15 minutes. Johnny Bronx Pizza

When Judah DeVilbiss and Matt Brown decided to open a pizzeria, they wanted a name that conveyed the Big Apple.

Johnny Bronx Pizza is having that effect.

“Everybody’s like, ‘Oh, this is an East Coast franchise that they brought out here,’ ” DeVilbiss says with a chuckle. “We’re like, ‘No. We’re locally owned. We came up with the idea.’ ”

You’ll want to loosen your belt and your seatbelt when you roll into the new restaurant, which opened today at 4970 N. Linder Road in Meridian. Johnny Bronx is drive-thru and walk-up only — selling big, New York-style slices. There’s no indoor dining area, but outdoor patio seating is coming.

The no-frills menu includes four standards. Start simple with a slice of cheese ($2.85) or pepperoni ($3.25). Or try white sauce, roasted tomatoes and artichokes ($3.50), or sausage, pepperoni and mushroom ($3.75). There’s also a rotating slice ($3.75) that changes every two weeks. “The special we have right now is a Southern barbecue sauce with spicy Italian sausage, bacon and sweet, hot honey over the top,” DeVilbiss says.

Combo meals are available any time — a slice and a soda for $4.75, or two slices and a soda for $7.50.

Whole 20-inch pizzas also are available ($16.50 to $22.50), and include additional topping options such as chicken, jalapenos, onions and green peppers.

Not in the mood for pizza? Johnny Bronx also sells pasta bowls ($5.50), sub sandwiches ($8.75), Bronx meatballs ($6.95), mac and cheese ($6.50) and garlic bread ($2.95).

Calorie-counting is inadvisable. There’s just no way to escape without a Bronx Boy ($3.95) for dessert. The house-made ice cream sandwich comes in two cookie varieties — triple chocolate and chocolate chip. “Those are done fresh every day,” DeVilbiss says. “I’m actually working on a batch right now.”

There’s no dining area inside Johnny Bronx Pizza in Meridian, but outdoor seating is on the way. Judah DeVilbiss Johnny Bronx Pizza

Johnny Bronx’s branding includes fun nods to New York. A pizza-eating subway rat rides a skateboard. King Kong climbs a skyscraper while holding a slice.

DeVilbiss takes that East Coast vibe even further in the kitchen. He makes the pizza dough using purified water that’s been specially filtered to mimic New York’s unique ingredient 2,500 miles away.

“The minerals help with the consistency of your dough,” DeVilbiss says. “They add to the flavor or the dough, the rise, stuff like that.

“If I was just going to get tap water from Meridian, yes, you could still make pies that way. But if you’re trying to stay close to that New York style, you’ve got to go to that extreme.”

Johnny Bronx Pizza is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Online: facebook.com/johnnybronxpizza.

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