by The Great Foodini

So, this is a shot out of the blue. I was driving along Klondyke Road a while back in Long Beach and I saw a sign that simply said, Joe’s.

I kept driving because I had places to be. Then I started seeing bumper stickers of military members with the catch phrase “Eat at Joes”.

For you readers who follow me, know that I stick with family-owned places 90 percent of the time, corporations do not entice me in large part.

That’s why the Eat at Joe’s bumper sticker made me laugh and ultimately try it out.  For those of you who do not know the origin of the phrase, it simply is a marketing genius’ idea to remind people to shop locally. The phrase, which was made main-stream popular in the Looney Tunes cartoons decades ago, is a fun reminder that there are guys named (FILL IN THE BLANK) all over the country and they have a fine little eating establishment and they need your support.

Now, on to the food at Joe’s Italian Ristorante. I usually don’t do this, but I am going to write about a dish that I am a fanatic about first. I am going to front load you with my favorite and I want you to put this paper down or turn your device off and drive to Joe’s and eat this. The EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA at Joe’s is the best I have ever had. I started my food writing career focusing on Italian cuisine nearly 20 years ago, so what I am saying should have some gravity here. Also, I am tickled because I feel like this is a hidden gem. This dish begins with generous helping of hand-breaded and pan-oiled fried eggplant topped with their signature marinara sauce and multi cheeses. I definitely can tell that mozzarella and parmesan cheese adorn this dish.

Although the night crowd is pretty significant and the staff seemed to be firing on all cylinders, the large-selection lunch menu is the way to go for slightly smaller portions that comes with a very palatable price of less than $10.

The menu is filled with classical favorites like lasagna, manicotti, ravioli done several ways, chicken fettucinie alfredo, chicken cacciatore and more.

I am also a big fan of the crispy chicken salad for lunch. The salad of pepperoncini peppers, black olives, tomatoes and red onions revolves around the hand-breaded and baked chicken that is placed on top. It is a light dish that won’t leave you falling asleep at that dreaded after lunch meeting at work, but is filling to keep you satisfied until dinner….when you can go back and get the eggplant.

Joe’s Italian Ristorante is located on 229 Klondyke Road in Long Beach.  They are open from 11am to 9pm every night and the phone number is (228)206-5444.  Thank you for reading.