A select few of the many places I’ve visited for cheesesteaks since starting this blog in 2021 have excelled at both steaks and pizza. One was Joey’s Pizza of Thorndale, PA, which served one of the steaks I placed among the honorable mentions on my Top 10 list last year. But that was overshadowed by what may have been the best pizza I’ve ever had in the Philadelphia region.
Thorndale is in distant central Chester County, which is a bit of a hike from me – along with most people in the Philly metro area. Given that I also wanted to revisit Joey’s with a friend so I could again order both pizza and a cheesesteak, I thought getting back there may take a while.
But an unexpected opportunity arose when my oldest friend, John, who lives well north of me, phoned to say he’d be in my area Wednesday with much of the day to kill while his dog was undergoing a medical procedure. I drew up a list of potential places for us to visit for lunch that included Joey’s. The combination of experiencing a craving for good pizza late Tuesday night and John suggesting that I might want to consider going somewhere further away than usual in light of the time we’d have on our hands settled the matter.
Joey’s sits on US-30, which is also the Lincoln Highway for much of its length – including where it passes through Thorndale. America’s oldest cross-country highway occupies a special place in the country’s 20th century car culture and has some interesting historical buildings and old restaurants to check out. We took it going home but were in a hurry to get to Joey’s and opted for a faster route on the way.
The restaurant itself is about as non-descript as one can be. But they have plenty of seating and great food. What more could one ask for?
My wife and I had a pizza with toppings last year, but John and I opted to share a small plain pie and a cheesesteak with Cooper Sharp cheese and fried onions.
The pizza arrived first. It wasn’t as well done as the previous one I had there – or the one that was sitting on the counter not far from where we sat. I happen to like well-done pizza. They remind me of the ones I’ve had in and around New Haven, Connecticut, the nation’s pizza capital. Yet I certainly wouldn’t call the pie we were served underdone. It had a bit of char around much of the exterior and one nice bubble. And as expected, it tasted divine.
The pizza chef grates some kind of Italian cheese over Joey’s pizzas after they come out of the very hot oven. That adds another layer of flavor – as if it were needed.
I haven’t tried every highly regarded pizzeria in the Philly region, but Wednesday’s experience solidifies my view that Joey’s is the best among those I have been to. Everything about their pizza – crust, sauce, cheese and the overall flavor and texture – is outstanding.
The owners of Joey’s have opened a second spot called Pizza in West Chester where they only serve a very limited selection of pizzas. To get their cheesesteak, you’ll still need to go to Joey’s. But like their pizza, it’s worth the drive.
It comes on a seeded Liscio’s roll. I’ve written about the extent to which that bakery’s rolls vary from place to place. This one was fairly soft, but not excessively so, and it had just a bit of crustiness – more so than with some of the other soft Liscio’s rolls I’ve had. That elevated it to a higher level.
There was a lot of chopped ribeye on there, but the Cooper Sharp was used more sparingly than on the last couple cheesesteaks I’ve written about – and that was to the steak’s benefit. My regular readers know that I prefer the meat on my steaks to be lightly coated by the cheese rather than swimming in it. The grill chef at Joey’s did an excellent job in that regard.
The onions could have been fried a little longer, but they were at least soft, so it wasn’t a serious issue. And the beef may have benefited from just a tiny bit more seasoning. But again, that wasn’t a major problem. The overall flavor wasn’t bland in the least. In fact, I’d have to say I probably liked it a little more than the one I had there last year.
My only serious issue with Joey’s is how far they are from where I live. That and the fact that I have so many other steak shops and pizzerias to get to will make it unlikely that I’ll ever be able to eat there with anywhere near the frequency I’d like to.
My friend John Tanner has released another valuable resource on his blog, which is full of them. This time around, he highlights the best places to go for Piedmont (Western Carolina) style barbecue when in North Carolina. I highly recommend checking it out here to anyone who is in or will be visiting that part of the Tar Heel state.
7 thoughts on “Revisiting a Favorite for another Steak and Pie”
Another wonderful post — detailed and thoughtful as always. If only major newspapers could approach the news with such depth and seriousness. And thanks so much for linking my post. I do appreciate it.
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Bless you for those kind words.
I hope John’s dog is OK and the procedure was nothing serious.
My suspicion is that the after-oven cheese is somewhat hard, as it doesn’t appear to really melt into the pizza. It provides a great visual effect!
Jackson – the dog – came through with flying colors. I think the main issue with the amount of post-oven cheese that didn’t melt is that the guy who made it wasn’t particularly careful when he was grating and got a lot of it on the outer edge of the pie. Most of the grated cheese that was closer to the center melted.