A Slice Worth the Sacrifice

. October 31, 2019.

A real slice of New York, adjacent to the U of M campus

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Yes, kid-friendly-ish?
To avoid wait: It’s counter service.
Noise level: Depends on the crowd.
Bathroom amenities: Yes, but no changing tables.
High chairs? No.
Kids’ menu? No, but it’s pizza!
Anything healthy for kids? Salad or try their fresher caprese pizza.
Food allergy concerns? Call ahead or discuss your specific needs when placing an order.


If you’re looking for classic, thin crust New York pizza, visit Joe’s Pizza on South University. You won’t find pizzas with BBQ sauce or pineapple toppings, instead their deceptively simple menu boasts authentic New York pizza and a fresh salad option.
Where are the seats?

The lack of convenient seating was no surprise for this New Yorker mom but presented a challenge when eating out with two toddlers, ages four and two. The restaurant space is small, a struggle for young families, but that difficulty is overcome by the reward of delicious pizza, ready to eat by the slice in minutes. Inside the restaurant there are a few high-top tables and stools, while outside a long bench presented the easiest space for our family to sit.

We arrived at Joe’s newest location, next to Espresso Royale on South University, just before they opened at noon on a Tuesday and found that there was already a line. Once the doors opened the line moved very fast. Despite the seating challenges and the short wait, we completed the entire visit in under 30 minutes which, in retrospect, seems a feat for parenting olympics.

A classic New York pizza menu

Joe’s pizza options priced by the slice or by the pie, are posted on the wall behind the counter. We settled on four slices, one per person, which turned out to be more than enough, since their slices are generous. I ordered a slice of white ($3), a sauce-less slice covered with cheese and islands of fresh, salty ricotta cheese in generous dollops. My husband selected a slice of supreme ($4.75) which came with thinly sliced sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and red onion. The toddlers split a slice of pepperoni ($3.75) and enjoyed every greasy bite. We also decided to try a slice of sicilian ($3.75) a square cut of bready, focaccia-like crust with a great crunch, topped with mozzarella and Joe’s incredible sauce. Joe’s Pizza’s sauce deserves special mention. Fresh and sweet, but without a sugary note, the sauce has incredible texture.

I also ordered their salad ($7) to sample the one non-pizza offering on the menu. The small salad is large enough for two to share as a side with a slice of pizza, and much like their pizza crust, packs crunch power. The salad, surprisingly fresh, is built on a base of iceberg lettuce, covered with black olives, cucumbers, marinated artichoke hearts, tomatoes, green peppers and red onion, with a side of house-made olive oil and vinegar dressing.


Battle of the cheese pizzas

While we were eating, we struck up a conversation with a University of Michigan student who had recently moved from New York City. He informed us that we needed to try a slice of Joe’s cheese pizza ($3), which, he explained, “they had perfected,” and kindly picked us up a slice. I folded the slice, in true New Yorker fashion, and took a bite. Perfection, indeed.

Pizza vibes

Joe’s Pizza was founded in 1975 by Joe Pozzuoli Sr., a native of Naples, Italy, who passed the business on to his son, Joe Jr. The company was first established in New York’s Greenwich Village before expanding to five locations in New York City. You can definitely taste that history and pizza passion in the menu of their first non-New York location. Joe’s Pizza has embraced Ann Arbor with their fresh mozz pizza ($4 for a slice). And, if you have any Spiderman fans in your family be sure to watch for Joe’s Pizza’s appearance in the 2004 film Spider Man 2.

Joe’s Pizza
1107 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 | 734-213-5625
Thursday-Saturday 12pm-3am
Sunday 12pm-10:30pm
Monday closed
Tuesday 12pm-2am
Wednesday 12pm-12am

  • John Shore

    I liked Joe’s pizza. I ended up there on an off chance. What I liked best was that you had a large choice of slices. I love Chicago style pizza and they had slices there! Pizza House in Ann Arbor used to be a go to restaurant for me. The prices drove me away. I cant spend $40-50 just have some pizza.

    Joe’s will heat up your slices back in the oven. It was very enjoyable. I would recommend Joe’s pizza as a tasty, affordable place to get a slice of good pizza.

  • ABME

    I tried Faz’s way up Liberty recently and OMG — so good. It seems like they’ve been around forever and it was one of the best slices I’ve ever had. Can’t wait to compare it to Joe’s.