Pizzeria Offers Plenty Of Garlic For Not A Lot Of Dough

Friday, March 07, 2008

THE CUISINE: Pizza, including by-the-slice, casual Italian THE CONCEPT: Johnny Brusco's is a chain pizzeria serving New York-style pizza, subs, calzones and pasta dishes. The chain grew out of a restaurant that opened in the early '70s near Syracuse, N.Y. The owners expanded a few years later to locations in Georgia, and in 1994, they began franchising the business. The Johnny Brusco's in Arlington is the first in Tarrant County and the third in Texas. Interestingly, the Arlington location was previously a Nizza Pizza, which had a similar ambience and served similar food.

THE FOOD: Johnny Brusco's advertises its pizza as New York-style, and the thickness of the crust is about right, but it's a little crisper than the typical soft, foldable New York-style. The menu lists more than 30 topping choices -- all the expected toppings plus unusual options such as feta cheese, steak, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini and eggplant. We ordered a slice of eggplant pizza ($2.95) and an extra-large slice of Buffalo chicken pizza ($4.10). We'd expected attractive circles of sliced, broiled eggplant, but were disappointed to find small rectangles of breaded and fried eggplant atop the pizza.

We'll definitely return for more Buffalo chicken pizza, which was tarted up with a mixture of barbecue and Buffalo chicken sauces, red onions, bacon and, of course, chicken strips. The combination was surprisingly good, with just the right amount of heat. The Johnny's Special sub ($6.25) was another success. Toasted bread is splayed open and layered with ham, salami, capicolla, lettuce, onions, provolone and tomatoes, and served open face with a garlicky pickle. Speaking of garlic, it was the mini garlic knots ($3.99) that were really memorable, a basket of 18 or so small rolls swimming in melted butter and minced garlic.

THE SETTING: A cavernous, casual space. Red-and-white checkered oilcloth on the tables and a mural of Hollywood icons give it a smattering of style, but the carpeting is shabby and a half-dozen hanging college flags can't disguise a drop ceiling.

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Johnny Brusco's delivers orders over $10 within a roughly 4-mile radius of the store. There's a $1.50 delivery fee.

THE DETAILS: Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Wine, beer, frozen margaritas served. Major credit cards accepted, smoke-free, wheelchair-accessible.

Johnny Brusco's 4201 W. Green Oaks Blvd., Suite 340 Arlington 817-563-6222

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Brusco's Pizza Franchise Systems, LLC
189 Chappell Rd.
Fayetteville, GA

Phone: 404-455-0444
Fax: 770.719.9401

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