J&S Pizza 8

Putting a personal spin on the pie.

In the United States, it’s hard to swing a stick without hitting a pizza place. In the Northland that’s even more true with old favorites like Kelso’s, Northern Lights and Ikey’s around. But there’s a new kid in town and they are putting the fun back in the pizza place.

J & S Pizza in Liberty is the dream of Josh and Sheri Crawford. The couple met while working at a pizza parlour and their dream of owning their own place has finally been realized. While they may not have reinvented the form, they are certainly proving that it can be fun to go out for pizza again after years of delivery mediocrity.

The restaurant offers more than just pizza. Their appetizer menu includes cheese bread, stuffed breadsticks and even pizza dip–a warm bowl of marinara sauce blanketed in bubbling mozzarella cheese. Salads round out the starters and if one is feeling virtuous, they could build a dinner salad using the same ingredients that one can find on the pies.

The pizza menu itself has the standards–combo, meat lovers, etc. and Crawford says that they are still the best sellers. But for the more adventurous diners, the J & S favorites beckon. They specialize in chicken pizzas, partially, says Crawford because chicken pairs so well with alternative sauces like BBQ and alfredo.

When I visited with family, that’s what we chose. The CBR or chicken, bacon, and ranch was the marriage between a pizza and a deli sandwich. The ranch dressing is made in house and was just a creamy and fattening as you wanted it to be. The crust is firm and not too greasy. No flimsy, falling apart slices here. And prices are good–$9.99 for a small house specialty was perfect so that we could try more than one.

For our second choice, we chose the Buffalo chicken pizza. If you like wings but you don’t want to try to fight with your food, this is the perfect choice. The tang of wing sauce as the base was definitely noticeable and not for the faint of palate. It was cooled down with creamy blue cheese or ranch upon request.

Possibly my favorite, and surprisingly so, was the cheezeburger pizza. Ground beef, pickles, and mustard topped a regular pizza base of marinara and mozzarella. Add a bit of cheddar on top and it really was the perfect blend. While it’s not what I want every time, for a change of pace, it was great.

For those that don’t like to share or aren’t in the pizza mood, there is pasta and sandwiches available as well. Choose from spaghetti and meatballs, chicken fettucini or lasagna or a slew of turkey, ham, roast beef sandies and even a meatball sub sandwich.

A full bar is available as well with reasonably priced beer. It was never more affordable to grab a pitcher and a pie.

And that’s exactly what adults will want to do as the kiddos entertain themselves with one of the vintage games on one side of the restaurant. Kids (or adults) can choose from three claw games, pinball, and a side by side racing game. Dinner and a show? Hard to beat that.

Josh and Sheri are certainly filling a void in the Liberty area. Since the demise of The Dish, local pizza was hard to find and you could tell that people were excited as we watched large groups stream through the doors on a Saturday night. Grab a table now and order up—J & S is happy to have you.