Will Travel for Pizza
It is no secret that I will travel far and wide for great pizza. I’ve eaten amazing Neapolitan pizza in Italy, pizza topped with hard-boiled egg and linguiça in Brazil, pizzaladière in Provence, and many, many more pizzas in many, many more places.
And so, it’s not really that much of a stretch for me to travel to a town like Logan for good pizza. No, make that great pizza. That’s what you’ll find at Jack’s Wood-Fired Oven in Logan: great pizza, yes, but even more than just great pizza.
More Than Pizza
Jack’s is a locally-owned Logan business that opened in 2009, before the current wood-fired pizza craze had really caught on in Utah. So kudos to Jack’s for breaking new pizza ground. We’ll get to the pizza shortly, but you should know that Jack’s is more than just about pizza. Although wood-fired pizzas are the main attraction, there’s plenty on the menu to satisfy folks who might not want pizza – great salads, for example.
A couple of starters at Jack’s are particularly provocative. Fire-Roasted Snap Peas ($4.50) are Cajun-spiced snap peas roasted in olive oil and served with sliced lemon – a potentially addictive appetizer. ‘Shroom aficionados will enjoy the Stuffed Mushrooms ($5.50), a quartet of large Cremini mushrooms stuffed with a cheesy pesto-artichoke dip and sauced with marinara, Asiago cheese, and balsamic reduction. Almost everything at Jack’s is made from scratch, including the excellent homemade marinara sauce.
That rich tomato sauce bathes al dente campanelle pasta with house-made sausage, roasted garlic, red onion, mushroom, and roasted pepper in Jack’s Salsiccia Marinara pasta dish ($13). It’s finished off with Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and fresh Mozzarella and is served in a hot cast-iron skillet with a small house salad. Other pasta pleasures at Jack’s include Oven-Baked Lasagna ($14), Chicken Alfredo ($13) or a “Build Your Own” pasta selection of campanelle pasta with a choice of marinara, Alfredo, or house cheese blend.
There are four salads available at Jack’s and they are anything but a pizza parlor afterthought. My wife, in fact, skips the pizza heads straight for the salads at Jack’s, which are available in side-salad or full-size portions.
Of particular note is the Purple Goat salad ($9.50/full; $5.50/side). This super salad is composed of fresh, peppery arugula and fire-roasted red beets with pecan-crusted goat cheese medallions, avocado, sliced red onion and honey-balsamic vinaigrette.
There is another interesting arugula-based salad called the Rocket, with red peppers, roasted pecans, in-season berries and Asiago cheese, all served with a sweet-tart huckleberry-poppyseed dressing. Meanwhile, the Granny Goose salad is fresh spinach leaves with mushroom, egg, bacon, red onion, Asiago and house-made poppy seed dressing.
The Pleasure of Pizza
Before I address pizza proper at Jack’s, I need to steer you toward the most popular appetizer there: Lyon Bread ($5). It’s not really bread, per se, but rather flatbread (pizza dough) baked with olive oil, house cheese blend and sea salt. Frankly, I could eat an entire meal consisting just of Jack’s Lyon Bread, it’s so tasty. I forgot to ask about the cheese blend, but it’s slightly sharp in flavor, a melange I suspect of Parmesan, Asiago and Mozzarella cheeses.
Pizzas and other baked items like lasagna are cooked in Jack’s imported Italian Valoriani oven, which is fueled by maple wood. This is the Rolls Royce of pizza ovens and, with temperatures that can reach 1200 degrees F., pizzas cook rapidly and arrive slightly charred and smoky with a crisp texture that is hard to come by at most American pizzerias.
Pizza options are extremely varied at Jack’s, with 20 specialty pizzas on the menu and around 30 toppings to choose from if you decide to “Build Your Own.” Prices range from $12.50 for a basic (but perfect) Margherita pizza to a gourmet-style pizza such as the Birds and the Bees for $15. That pizza is fresh mozzarella with huckleberry-marinated chicken, raw Slide Ridge honey, huckleberries, thyme and Asiago cheese. You won’t find that at Little Caesar’s!
The Sunnyside ($15) is a breakfast-style pizza made with creamy Alfredo sauce and topped with bacon, smoked Cheddar cheese, potato, prosciutto, and two fried eggs with real maple syrup on the side.
For an Asian twist, try the Thaiphoon ($15) with fresh mozzarella, Sriracha chicken, sweet onion, crushed peanuts, red pepper and fresh basil. It’s finished with a tangy Thai peanut sauce – think of it as a pad Thai pizza.
Whatever pizza you might opt for, including gluten-free crust, I highly recommend trying the house-made sausage, which is sensational sausage. It’s crumbled and spicy and an excellent addition to almost any of Jack’s amazing pizzas.
At lunchtime – which extends from 11:30 AM all the way to 4:00 PM – Jack’s offers lunch specials which are a terrific bang for the buck: a 7-inch personal pizza along with a choice of a small house salad, soup or 7-inch Lyon Bread. The lunch specials run from $8.50 to $10.50, depending on which type of pizza you prefer.
In addition, there’s live music on Friday and Saturday nights and live, “smooth” jazz on Monday evenings. Outstanding wood-fired pizzas combined with a really great vibe and super-friendly service makes Jack’s Wood-Fired Oven an excursion that’s well worthwhile, no matter where you might be coming from or going to.
Culinary quote of the week:
Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.
— Anna Quindlen
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.