Once upon a time in Brooklyn, Sicilian immigrants began opening Italian restaurants and pizzerias showcasing family recipes from their homeland. While the origins of pizza specifically, are hotly debated, the history behind Papa Joe’s is certain. When Papa Joe relocated from Brooklyn, New York to quiet Altamonte Springs suburbia, he arrived filling an untapped niche for an authentic New York style Italian cuisine. The quest for providing fellow Italians and New York snowbirds turned residents a true hero sandwich or a simple slice of pie was born.
In no small order, this Sunday afternoon friends and family buffet boasted bounties of our favorites. The spread led with a notably well dressed Mediterranean salad, warm sesame baguettes, and Papa Joe’s legendary garlic knots. Let us pause briefly to spotlight these unassuming little fellows.
Not every garlic knot is created equal. The wrong ration of flour, water, salt and fat, and you’ll end up with something that resembles an aged ball of Play-Do. Far from the case at Papa Joe’s, where the knots bake until golden and bathe in a tantalizing veil of garlic infused olive oil. But that’s not the end of it… They consistently, and I mean every single time, hit nose first as the fragrant minced garlic releases through the heat of it’s ladled coat. Prepare for greasy fingers grasping delicately by thumb and forefinger and take the first bite. Now you are ready for the real treat; sopping up. The poised dough interior is the ideal agent for soaking up just enough oil to allow an indulgent serving of melt-in-you-mouth garlic! Are you salivating yet? Good. Let’s move on.
On previous visits to Papa Joe’s, I passed over this menu item to indulge in a filling slice or Stromboli, but never again as you’ll see from my loaded plate below.
Sausage & Peppers – Italian sausage & bell peppers together with light pan sauce
Chicken Wings – Naked and baked in the wood-fired oven
Pesce Oreganata Speciale – Tilapia poached in white wine and lemon sauce served with assorted vegetables (regretfully not pictured) This was undoubtedly one of the best prepared homemade fish dishes I’ve tasted in an Italian restaurant.
One of my tasting plates – sesame crusted bread, fried calamari, seafood marinara, and rigatoni. Yum!
The 25th anniversary celebration was loaded with friends, family, and plenty of wine to go ’round. On your next (or first) visit to Papa Joe’s in Altamonte, be sure to inquire about dessert. As a self-proclaimed tiramisu connoisseur, I can say they make a killer tiramisu. We also sampled a variety of cookies, which he regularly orders directly from Bakery Boys of NY. Doubleplusgood!
Below are a few additional photos from the event and contact information for the Altamonte Springs location. Thanks Papa Joe and crew for a most enjoyable presentation and here’s to another 25 years – Cin cin!
Papa Joe’s is located at 1090 Montgomery Road, Altamonte Springs, FL. The phone number for this location is 407.774.4300. They also have two locations include Lake Mary. You can also like them on Facebook. Papa Joe’s serves each local area with dine-in, take-out, and delivery services.