If you’ve ever stepped foot in Providence, never mind lived here, you know of and have been to Julian’s on Broadway. The close attention to locally-sourced ingredients and thoughtfully prepared dishes could not be contained in a singular restaurant any longer. So, they’ve expanded into the eagerly anticipated pizza joint, Pizza J. “We wanted to add something to our neighborhood that was a little more family friendly, something folks could bring their children to after the school game or play,” says Brian Oakley, Chief Operations Manager. “Something affordable and casual yet made with all the freshest ingredients.”
Although the focus at Pizza J is, of course, pizza, they’ll also be offering sandwiches, salads, appetizers and a few entree-style plates that center around fresh pasta and Julian’s signature pulled pork. And what modern restaurant would be complete without vegan dough and a gluten-free crust option? Keep in mind that all the dough and bread is made in-house – no shortcuts here. The pizza crust is more of a thin-style that is crackery on the bottom with a bit of doughiness in the middle. Seventeen beers doesn’t hurt Pizza J’s game; neither does the secret arcade with pinball in the backroom or the esoteric movie choices on restaurant-wide screens we’ve come to love and expect from Julian’s.
However, there are big choices to be made at Pizza J, like where to start with the specialty pizzas. Brian’s favorite is the Arcimboldo, which is a red sauce pizza with marinated mushrooms and artichokes, olives, herbs and cheese. He also highly recommends the Italian Eggroll and swears that their meatballs are “killer.” They’re also playing with the idea of an Olneyville N.Y. System pizza – this writer seems to remember something very similar at the Alton Brown Edible Inevitable tour last winter after a semi-drunken night with said Food Network star that ended at Olneyville N.Y. System…. just saying.
For Brian and the Julian’s family, their biggest goal is to add to the vibrancy of PVD. “We want[ed] to build another [restaurant]. Another space ship that allows us to contribute to the city and to our immediate neighborhood [that] provides a positive path for young people’s lives,” he says. “Let’s go to the moon, or Jupiter. Or maybe just 1,000 years into the future.” Wherever they go, pizza will be there, and that’s reason enough to visit them. 967 Westminster Street. 632-0555