SoDo seems to be becoming Orlando’s pizza district. It was already home to Brick & Fire and Cornerstone on the eastern edge of the district. In the last year or so we’ve seen the opening of Buttercrust, Frenchy’s Wood-Fired and SoDough Square, which opened just a few months ago.
If you stood in front of SoDough you could throw a ball of mozzarella down Michigan Street and hit the newest pie maker, John & John’s.
The Johns of the name are Markaj and Cavallini (only they know which is the first John and which is the second). They are also the owners of Cavo’s Bar & Kitchen in Thornton Park. John & John’s – subtitled A Pizza Shop – took over the space that was formerly Mediterranean Blue.
And in a nice homage to that Greek restaurant, J&J’s offers a pizza called the Mediterranean Blue, which is a little like a gyro sandwich smeared onto a pie crust instead of wrapped in pita. It had the recognizable spicy gyro meat with red onions, tomatoes and crumbles of feta cheese (mozzarella, not usually found in a gyro sandwich, was part of the base). There was also a drizzle of tzatziki sauce, a crucial component of a gyro sandwich (in my opinion, anyway). Unfortunately, the tzatziki had curdled a bit. I assume it was from the heat of the finished pie; I hope it wasn’t added before baking. But I liked the overall flavor of the MedBlue, I’d just request the tzatziki on the side next time.
The Mostly Meat pizza was true to its name, loaded with pepperoni (thin and crisped from the oven), ham, bacon, sweet sausage and meatballs on a base of mozzarella cheese over red sauce. All of it was well spiced. I ordered the Mostly Meat in the 16-inch size (14 is the other option) and it was bigger than I imagined it would be.
The crusts of both pizzas were very good, though I thought they could have been just a bit more elastic – the edge of the crust cracked when folded, but that’s more of a niggle than a complaint.
The restaurant does not seem to have a website, and its Facebook page, which has photos of opening menus, does not list a phone number. A Google search gave a phone number, which I used to place an order from the menus I found on Facebook. The call was answered cheerfully and conducted with more professionalism than I’ve encountered with some fine dining restaurants. And when I arrived to pick up my order, which was ready and waiting, I was greeted just as cheerily and thanked for my business when I left. There are a few tables inside and out if you prefer to eat your pizza there.
John & John’s is at 435 Michigan St., Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The phone number is 407-422-2583.