Pizza in Des Moines is either cracker crisp or Chicago deep. The medium ground of East Coast pies popular in New York and New Jersey is not well represented in the city.
But recently opened Jersey Guys Pizza in Beaverdale gives those craving a foldable slice a place to call home.
Nick Bavas, 24, grew up working in pizzerias and missed the feeling when his family moved to Iowa two years ago. Bavas is one of six kids, and it’s not unusual to see his brothers, Ryan and Justin, or their mom helping out around the shop.
As you might expect from the name, pizza is the shop’s focus, with cheese slices going for $2 each, $2.50 with a topping. During lunch you can get two slices (with a topping) and a can of soda for $4.25.
A whole pizza is $9.99 for a medium and $11.99 for a large.
In addition to pizza, the shop has a number of chicken cutlet hoagies, cold lunch meat hoagies and a hot sandwich menu where the cheesesteak is the star. The Bavas lived just 15 minutes outside Philadelphia, and know what goes into a Philly (yes, it comes with Cheese Whiz).
I went with the lunch special, getting a slice of pepperoni and a slice of sausage. The slices were big and filling, but I also felt like I could have eaten two or three more. Very tasty, and perfect with a dash of Parmesan and a sprinkle of garlic salt.
My co-worker tried the cheesesteak, which she described — in a word — as “awesome.” It was a solid serving of meat and onions, topped with provolone, Whiz and fried onions on a 12-inch hoagie roll. It’s normally $6.99, but it was the lunch special that day (a Monday), meaning it came with a free soda.
It’s not a big space, but a row of booths offers plenty of seating inside the Beaverdale shop.
The beverage menu is currently limited to sodas and water, but Bavas said the restaurant is exploring the possibility of adding beer to the menu.
Jersey Guys Pizza is no frills, but that’s what a good East Coast pizzeria should be. It’s family-run, quality pizza with friendly service.
I can forgive the wealth of horrible reality TV that New Jersey has spawned as long as their pizza stays this tasty.
Jersey Guys Pizza
Find it: 2713 Beaver Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday