Thin Crust, Thick Positives at Jules

Lauren Fleming, Assistant Editor

I’m the kind of person who is always looking for a healthier and fresher option. I’m not one to be content with low-quality and unhealthy substitutes of any variety. I revel in what is organic and wholesome, and in what spends the shortest time traveling from source to plate. This is why Jules is the pizza place for me.

Whenever I think about pizza, I envision a dusty display case housing rows of saturated, greasy circular dough, kept lukewarm under fluorescent lights that have needed replacement since the year 2000. Behind the glass, I picture large, sweaty men carrying the pizza out from the oven, wiping their dirty hands on grimy aprons before greeting you and asking for your order.

But from the moment I first walked into Jules, I knew immediately that their entire approach to pizza was both nuanced and innovative. Their atmosphere is both clean and modern while at the same time cozy and comfortable. Held on a spotless counter, tantalizing thin crust dough absent of unhealthy grease provided a base for savory toppings, colored by nearly every vegetable known to man.

The restaurant is a small Pennsylvania chain, with six locations in the state as well as a location in Cherry Hill, NJ and with two new locations opening in Danville and Oakland, California by a high school friend of the owners. The Pennsylvania founders, John and Jan Ordway, opened the first Jules in Doylestown in 2004.

They had found a scarcity of restaurants to take their young daughters to and believed that they could provide a better alternative. Since then, they have provided families and individuals with food they feel good about, and also food that they want to keep coming back for. The Ordways certainty reinvented the idea of the fast casual eatery.

Along with the full pizza menu, there are also delicious and locally grown salads as well as desserts from local bakeries and a variety of fruit soda alternatives and other drinks. And if you have any dietary restrictions, Jules is incredibly accommodating.

My two younger brothers both have severe nut allergies and, unlike many pizza places who wouldn’t want to be bothered and would just warn that things might cross-contaminate, Jules stepped up to the plate. They guaranteed that everything would be made safe, and that they would use a fresh cutter and a separate oven to be completely cautious.

Also, my aunt, uncle, and cousins are gluten free, which, combined with the nut allergies, makes it hard to find a quick place for us to all eat. Once again, Jules delivered on their promise in meeting everyone’s needs.

They have almost a full range of gluten free pies available and will make a fresh pie of any variety gluten free if you don’t already see it out on display. Their friendly staff also is very accommodating to vegans, vegetarians, and anyone with any allergy or dietary restriction.

Since my family is one to frequent Jules, it has come to the point where we always have certain slices that we typically order. For me, that means the pulled pork pizza, a unique and tasty spin on traditional meat pizza.

All natural, locally smoked, pulled BBQ pork, both flaky and drenched in a sweet but hearty BBQ sauce, is combined with red onions and scallions atop organic whole grain white crust with gooey mozzarella. It truly redefines wholesome eating.

Another of my favorites is an all-vegetable pizza that is commonly served in the spring and summer. It’s a thin crust topped with mouthwatering and colorful crispy kale, a light lemon vinaigrette, crunchy red onions, sweet organic apples, mandarin oranges, and silky mozzarella cheese. Both of these pies are delicious and satisfying but without all of the processed and unhealthy ingredients its competitors use.

Another fear of many coming into the restaurant is that the prices of organic foods they see elsewhere in markets and restaurants are the same high prices they would find at Jules. However, they will find almost the opposite.

Medium pies range from $12.50 to $14 dollars and large pies range from $16 to $18, which, considering the comparable price to many other pizza places, they are getting a much higher quality. However, the most popular option is to just stop in and buy a slice or two to either take out or eat in. And for only $2.50-$3.25 for a long rectangular slice of heaven, who could blame them?

My only hope is that more restaurants begin to take the Jules approach, understanding that fresh, organic quality and cost effective food aren’t mutually exclusive. Hopefully like their motto, “food for thought,” many restaurant owners will continue to think differently and forever change the way we eat.