Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just up the road: PJ's Pizza & Pasta

Well we were in Mason City to watch a little hoops, (Illini Central vs. Pleasant Plains) and also to watch the halftime show. Our good friend's twin 4 year old daughters were dancing in the halftime show so I figured I'd snag a few pics of them. After the game/halftime show we rolled down the street to have dinner at PJ's.

Where they're located:
124 E. Chestnut St.
Mason City, IL

Call 'Em:
217-482-3616

The Pizza: Cajun

The Crust: Hand-tossed

The Dish: PJ's is a different kind of restaurant. It is a small town eating establishment that offers meals that are more likely found in a big city specialty joint. There are two dining areas here and really two different restaurants. On one side you have PJ's and the other is considered Jack & Jo's. You can order off either menu regardless of what dining room you are seated in.
PJ's is in downtown Mason City right next to Mason City Limits comedy club. The atmosphere is friendly and local and the restaurant's owner, John Means can usually be found seating people or visiting with the diners.

How'd it eat? My pizza arrived after about 15 minutes and a couple of cold Budweisers. The smell of fresh garlic, marinara and sizzling steak was filling up the dining area as the server brought everyone's food. The cajun pizza sitting front of me was loaded with toppings of chicken, chorizo and shrimp. The flavor on this pie was well balanced and rested comfortably on the zesty creme based cajun pizza sauce mixed up by the chef at PJ's. As wonderful as the meat toppings were it was the sauce that really made this pie. The sauce had the consitency of a nice alfredo and had distinct seasoning from cayenne or red pepper and a little paprika among other flavors. It's not too strong or spicy. Even those who are easily overpowered by spice will not have any issues with this pie.
The cheese appeared to be a mixture of mozzarella and jack and it fused well with the spicy chorizo and mild shrimp. This mixture allowed the flavors of the meat toppings and the robust sauce to carry the pie.
Crustwise this pizza got it done. The crust was a slim hand-tossed that tasted like it was maybe brushed with olive oil or had some bit of seasoning added. It had a smart crunch all the way to the center, with a firm top and it was not overdone. I sprinkled on a little crushed red pepper to add some spice to this pie. I likey some spicy.

The 30 minute drive up to Mason City from Springfield is definitely worth the trip. You're gonna get a tasty pizza with a little small town charm...and if you plan it right an evening of laughter at Mason City Limits. Try PJ's out, you won't be sorry.
SPP Ranking: 8.6

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