The Short Course:
To avoid wait: Visit during an off-peak time or order takeout or delivery
Noise level: Average.
Bathroom amenities: A clean unisex bathroom (no changing table)
High chairs? Yes.
Kids’ menu? Technically, no – but the whole menu offers kid-friendly options!
Anything healthy for kids? Yes.
Food allergy concerns? Gluten-free crust is available. Speak with your server about specific allergy concerns.
There is something sacred about pizza for New Yorkers—the thin crust, a proportional balance of toppings, sauce and cheese and, of course, the proper fold for eating a slice. I’ve learned all about this from my husband, a born-and-bred Italian New Yorker. While I managed to transplant him to Findlay, Jeremy’s love for New York-style pizza runs deep. So, for this assignment, I had just the man to put Joey Fratello’s to the test.
Step off Sandusky Street and into a New York City pizza parlor
Findlay resident Marty Meyer opened Joey Fratello’s 12 years ago. A huge pizza fan, he obtained the restaurant’s recipes from New York chefs. Situated in an older building downtown, Joey Fratello’s Pizzeria offers customers the classic feel of a New York Pizzeria. Lofty ceilings, gently worn décor, wood paneling and a few framed pictures of the Rat Pack make you feel as if you’ve been transported to New York City. When we visited for a late lunch, a server quickly greeted and led us to a spacious corner booth.
As the kids got settled, our very hungry five-year-old, Mae, began crying because her sister wouldn’t share her paper and markers. A classic meltdown began, only to be cut short when the server swooped in with a coloring book and pencil box filled with crayons! We were saved! With all three kids reading or coloring, Jeremy and I hunkered down to read the menu.
Joey Fratello’s serves a wide array of specialty pizzas as well as three sizes of create-your-own pizzas. They offer Italian pasta dishes, oven-toasted sandwiches and numerous salads.
Despite an enticing variety of tempting appetizers (including garlic bread, onion rings, breaded ravioli, pepperoni sticks, and spicy-white cheddar bites, we were even more tempted by the main dishes—including, to my great delight—a New York-style calzone. What is this delicacy, you ask? A standard calzone is filled with both mozzarella and ricotta. That ricotta makes ALL the difference! Along with the calzone, we ordered the Florentine specialty pizza along with a chicken Caesar salad. Leland, our nine-year-old, quickly settled on a custom 8” pizza with sliced meatballs while Mae chose an 8” bacon and pineapple pizza. Our eight-year-old, Josephine, enthusiastically ordered the spaghetti and meatballs.
The kids continued reading and coloring while we eagerly awaited our food. Despite the odd time (nearly 2pm on a Friday afternoon) there was steady traffic in and out of the restaurant. Our server doubled as a chef to catch up on orders while also stopping by tables and greeting newcomers. Just as we got antsy about our food, he stopped by with an update and, soon after, our meals arrived.
Pleasing the toughest critic
As the dishes arrived, Leland devoured his pizza in short order (literally) and reported that it was “good.” Since he’s nine, neither his speedy eating or one word review surprised me! Joey eagerly dug into the spaghetti, quickly working on one of the huge meatballs as she expertly twirled the pasta onto her fork. She reported, with a grin, that the meatballs were her second favorite in the world (second only to Jeremy’s!). Meanwhile, Mae slowly but happily ate her custom pizza and revelled in the fact that it was all hers!
Jeremy and I split the generous portion of Caesar salad. The careful arrangement of the Florentine pie, with vibrant red tomatoes, crisp white cheese and the rich green of the spinach, gave the pizza a beautiful, balanced look that complemented its delicious flavor. And then there was the calzone. Jeremy graciously let me dig into the calzone first. Filled with both mozzarella and ricotta, those flavors were enhanced by mushrooms and spicy capicola ham (as suggested by our server). The result was a delicious blend of smooth, creamy flavors accented by the sharp, slightly smoky capicola, all encased within a perfectly-browned, slightly crispy pocket of pizza dough. I was in heaven. And perhaps even more surprisingly, Jeremy was, too.
Indulge in the flavors of New York
With full bellies, multiple takeout containers and an eagerness to return, we paid our bill. Throughout the whole meal, we’d felt like we’d been magically transported to Jeremy’s home state. The only thing missing were garlic knots! Upon further reflection, I realized that Joey Fratello’s perfectly blends New York atmosphere and food with the welcoming friendliness of the Midwest—which makes it perfect for our family.
Joey Fratello’s Pizzeria
116 E. Sandusky St., Findlay
419-427-JOEY (5639) | www.joeyfratellos.com
“Joey Fratello’s Pizzeria” on Facebook
Open Sunday-Tuesday: 11am-10pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am-11pm