From time-to-time I find myself going to, or through, Pittsburg. Either on the way to float the day away on the Delta, take in some incredible golf and even on occasion, to visit my sister-in-law. I am often stricken with the thought on the way home, “damn I’m hungry.”
Finally, I have found a spot that not only welcomes, but offers a culinary experience—a spotless and warm, lamp-lit, wooden environment, with a price point that is far lower than the product.
This is one of those rare instances where I had a pre-existing relationship with the owner, and he knew I was there to (hopefully) write about his restaurant. He is Chef Jourdan of Chef J’s Pizza Shack, and I am as bowled over by his food as I am by his story.
Jourdan deSanctis is a baker by trade. He went as far as planting a small vineyard in his front yard to harvest the yeast from the grapes in which to create a “starter” that can not be duplicated or matched. After some time renting space in various kitchens, he and his long time friend from culinary school, Chef Dennis O’Shia, knew they needed to bring this bread to the next level. Oddly enough it was the Irish sounding heritage that suggested pizza to the Italian, and the idea of Chef J’s was born.
In February of this year a corner spot on Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg opened up, and Jourdan leapt at the opportunity. While the restaurant is still an infant, they have made great strides in making their visions a reality. There is a large menu painted on the wall like a chalkboard, advertising the six different pies they have by the slice, ½, ¾ , or (largest in town) 20” pie! Currently there is a “secret” menu that houses available veggie options and other goodies (and by “secret,” I mean painted on a different wall above the expo kitchen). But these are just the modest beginnings.
Both chefs are already expanding the menu to include Farmers Salads, Grillin’ It Food, Munchies (apps) and expanded pizza choices. As long as they don’t mess with the dessert options that are already there, I will be fine.
Not only are the food options growing, but also their space. Soon they will take over a small store-front in the same shopping center to have as a full functioning kitchen for their ridiculous bread and catering. Oh yeah, they cater too! Everything from small backyard get togethers to whole roasted pigs! The day I was there, they were prepping for the Chamber of Commerce Mixer and asked if I would mind trying the six-cheese mac-n-cheese with toasted panko…MIND? A little of me feels like I cheated on my wife, it was that good!
The pizza is East Coast style, and that suits me well, but their dough is so out-of-this-world light and airy that the toppings seem to be cooked on top of a cloud.
As always, I look for service. I was treated like family despite my pre-existing relationship, because so was everybody else. Veronica Flores was working the counter and the floor, and I swear to you, this girl was smiling when she cleaned the computer screen. I am sorry that I didn’t get a chance to meet the rest of their/my family!
The Chefs are joined in this venture by Jon Fink, ex Head Chef of Piattis and Hilarie Hsu who heads up the catering and sales, and when I asked Jourdan what the big picture plans were, I nearly jumped out of my seat when he said they were tying to expand to our side of the hill. This is a power team that can make that happen, but until then, I’ll be stopping there every time I’m in Pittsburg!
2227 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg, Ca. 94565