There is a certain amount of humor about my reviewing Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza. I’ve had Jockamos take-out pizza several times. I’ve even gone to the Washington Street location for a sit-down pizza. Somehow, and I don’t know how this happened, I didn’t realize they served sandwiches. It was during an internet search, looking menu by menu, I saw that Jockamo not only served delicious pizzas but also served an Italian beef. I had not been to the Greenwood location before. Honestly, until a week or so ago, I didn’t know they had one. But a trip to a different beef joint fell through, so a quick re-direct and I was off to the Greenwood Jockamo location.
If you haven’t been to the Greenwood location, it is much bigger than the Washington Street digs. It has a large wine bar and many objects on the wall. I was greeted by perhaps the entire staff. I’m not kidding; I think every member of the staff came out at some point to say, Hi. It was kind of amusing. One of them said I showed up at almost the perfect time. Seems the evening rush had just ended and they still had all their wait staff. This turned out to be awesome for the information gleaned.
The owner of Jockamo picks the menu. I asked if the owner was from Chicago since they served an Italian beef? To the best of everyone’s knowledge, he was not from Chicago. I asked why they would pick an Italian beef? Seems the owner just has good taste in food. This does make a certain amount of sense since their pizza is really good.
The beef was tender and juicy. It wasn’t the spiciest around, but it had a unique appeal. I’m pretty sure it was doused in their broth, but I can’t really be certain. Why? Well, Jockamo does not have what I would call a traditional broth. They use balsamic vinaigrette rather than a beef stock. If you’re trying to figure out the taste, buy a beef roast and a bottle of red wine. Pour the red wine over the roast in the pan and cook. This does make for a very tasty beef. The giardiniera was an in-house blend of green pepper, red onion, and peppadew peppers. This made a very good blend, which was, again, unique.The bread was, according to the staff, Gonnella, but it was a few days old and stale. Since they don’t dip their sandwich, it made for a very crunchy experience. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a toasted bun since toasted buns usually have a spongy quality to their insides. Why don’t they dip? The simple answer was that they don’t have the room in the kitchen for a vat of broth. They only really have some pizza ovens. Beef is not their primary menu item.
While I love Jockamos pizzas, I only like their Italian beef. If the sandwich could be dipped fully or if the bread hadn’t been stale, I’m sure they could have gotten a better review. I give them 2.5 out of 5 stars. It would be higher if they can fix those issues.
~Anthony Macabre Lillig