Monday, October 12, 2009
Award Winning Pizzeria Helps Out the Community and Has Great Food
Guiseppe “Joe” Ionfrida knows his way around a pizza kitchen, and he should, since he’s been around one for over 20 years.
“We [my father and I] used to run a place in Denville for 17 years,” Joe says, “And I’ve been here [in Chester] for three.”
For only being in Chester for three years though, the restaurant sure has a lot to show for itself, as plaques, thank you letters, and pictures of Joe shaking hands with famous people like Mayor Mike Bloomberg, layer the walls.
“I work with the football, soccer teams,” Joe says, “I do the concession stands. I run events, have Spaghetti meatball nights for Boy scouts, I do a lot of stuff for the church…”
The list goes on and on for what Joe has done for the community, as do the certificates that say thank you for all the sponsorship and support.
“Giving back is what it’s all about,” Joe says.
With all of the walls covered from head to toe with awards and the simple, but accessible layout of the place, with tables that sprinkle the foreground by the entrance and large ovens cooking pizzas in the background, it’s easy to forget that most of the food at GianAngelo’s isn’t even eaten on the premises.
“We’re mostly delivery,” Joe says of his three time, Reader’s Choice for best pizza in Morris County award winning shop, “pizza is 90% of what we sell.”
But that’s not all that GianAngelo’s offers. In fact, it’s almost excessive what GianAngelo’s has in store for you, from pizza, to sandwiches, to…limo service?
“We have Chester Limo, which can take people to the airport, local shops, [or] anywhere they want to go,” Joe says.
Along with the limo service, Joe’s menu is also accessible and affordable, with a large, gourmet pizza like the Con Carciofi Pizza with artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes, or the pizza with eggplant (A favorite here) going for $17.05.
Also on the menu are hot sandwiches like the Veal Cutlet Parmigiana, salads like the Antipasto, and soups like the Pasta Fagioli, all for under eight dollars.
“We pretty much have the same menu that I used to have with my father,” Joe says.
Not only that, though, but Joe also has chips and drinks that even have his name on the bags and bottles, showcasing that he’s ventured into advertising both himself and his operation in the process.
“Now, I gotta give you the bad news,” Joe says after he puts the bottles and bag of “Joe Chips” on the counter, “On December 31st, I’m going to retire.”
Could this be the end of what is quickly becoming an institution in this town?
“My boys will take care of it,” Joe says in regards to the employees working in the back by the ovens, fixing up pizzas as usual.
Even if he retires though, this area will always have a special place in his heart.
“Chester is a great place to live and work,” Joe says.
WHERE: 324 Route 24, Chester
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday
PAYMENT: Cash, credit, check
PRICE RANGE: Appetizers/sides $3.00 to $12.25; soup/salad, $4.75 to $8.95; wraps/sandwiches/Panini, $6-$7.50; pizza rolls, $7 to $7.75; pizza, $7.70 to $13.20; toppings, $1.75 to $1.90; gourmet pizza, $11 to $17.05; entrees, $13.25 to $15.95
CATERING: Yes, limited and on request
ATMOSPHERE: There are small tables to sit at and the walls are filled with awards, articles, and thanks from a variety of local organizations, but GianAngelo’s is really geared towards delivery and take-out
PARKING: There are a few spaces out front and more at the end of the strip
OWNERS: Guiseppe “Joe” Ionfrida