FOOD: Jo's Famous Pizza

Written by Laura Beam in the July 2013 Issue

JoFew foods bring people together in such an instant, carefree fashion as the just-opened box of piping-hot pizza. Kids flock to the dinner table, office workers instinctively migrate from their computers and party guests come to life when this one-dish wonder casts its aromatic spell on a hungry crowd. By its very design, pizza is meant to be shared.

Like other Italian foods we’ve adopted as American classics, the once-humble pie easily evolved into a stateside sensation. Though the first pizzeria opened in New York in 1905, it wasn’t until after World War II that pizza grew into a widespread attraction. American GIs stationed in Italy returned home with a taste for the hearty pies they had discovered overseas— yet another reason to thank our countrymen during this patriotic month!

 Popping up in cities and neighborhoods throughout the country, pizza shops offered exactly what the world was craving—fast, fun, inexpensive food and a casual spot to meet friends. Even the smaller communities enjoyed a piece of the pie. In 1962, Cha’Ray’s Pizza needed a manager for its Purcell, Oklahoma, location and found an unsuspecting treasure in its new-hire, Jo Ellen Powers. Never even having eaten a pizza, let alone made one, Jo was shown only one time how to make a pizza before she was on her own.

 With consistency and excellence, Jo rose to the challenge with great success. She eventually bought the business in the small concrete building in Purcell and Jo’s Famous Pizza was officially born. With the new restaurant’s winning fare, late-night hours, pinball machine and juke box, the small-town hot spot lived up to its famous name, especially among teens.

 The ever-expanding family business found its way to Edmond five years ago, where Jo’s nephew, Dar Powers, now carries on the delicious traditions of Jo’s Famous Pizza. Each custom-crafted pie is handmade from scratch with dough and sauce made in-house. Yet as many pizza-enthusiasts agree, it’s all about the toppings—and Jo’s doesn’t disappoint. Pepperoni in every bite, fresh veggies and exceptional combos appeal to pizza purists and flavor-seekers alike. The Luau, The Taco, The Cowboy and The Bacon, Jalapeno and Cheddar Burger pizzas are choice crowd-pleasers. With a hometown touch, Jo’s goes the extra mile, dividing pizza toppings into halves, thirds and fourths to accommodate a variety of tastes in a single order.

 Edmond owner, Powers, comes by his love of the business naturally. Recalling summers as a boy in Purcell with his grandma and Aunt Jo, he remembers, “As kids, we hung out at the restaurant. We got pizza dough to play with and had a great time.” Powers keeps that personal tradition alive today, delighting young diners with their own ball of dough to shape while their pizza is prepared.

 Sandwiches, salads and appetizers round out the plentiful menu at Jo’s, along with an exciting line-up of three new Signature Salads for summer. The Café, The Greek and The Italian salads feature fresh combos and perfectly-paired dressings.

 Jo’s spacious dining room graciously accommodates large parties, business gatherings or cozy get-togethers. With its log cabin-style architecture, soaring ceilings and rustic chandeliers, even the setting has made Jo’s famous among locals.

Visit Jo’s Famous Pizza at 900 S. Kelly Ave. in Edmond or josfamouspizza.com. Call 340-7070 for catering, take-and-bake, curb-side pick-up, birthday parties and corporate or team events.

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