However you slice it... October is National Pizza Month

Phillip Brents

Mon September 30, 2013 2:29pm

October is National Pizza Month in the United States. However, any day really is a good day to head over to one’s favorite pizzeria and take a bite out of a classic favorite.
Thin crust, deep dish or regular? 
There are hundreds of different pizza types and toppings today, though the basic plan goes back to the sixth century BCE when Persian soldiers ate a form of pizza. 
Three billion pizzas are sold in the United States each year; it has been reported that 94 percent of Americans eat pizza on a regular basis.
The most popular pizza toppings are pepperoni (36 percent, first), sausage  (second) and mushroom  (third).
Dine in or take out? That’s your choice.
“September through February is the busiest time for the pizza industry,” explained Ernie Carrillo, owner of Joe & Ernie’s Pizzeria in Eastlake Village Marketplace. “You have college football on Saturday, the NFL on Sunday, Monday and Thursday.”
Besides football games on TV, holidays and special events also steer customers to local pizzerias.
“Halloween is one of the busiest days in the pizza industry,” Carrillo said. “The reason for this is all the parents are out with their kids trick-or-treating and nobody cooks at home.”
The day before Thanksgiving (everyone is preparing to cook for the big meal the following day) and the Super Bowl are also big hitters in the pizza industry, Carrillo noted.
Joe & Ernie’s Pizzeria recently celebrated its second anniversary at the mall; Carrillo said things couldn’t be going better.
“I’m happy being here,” he said. “Every month, every year, we’re getting more business. Our brand continues to grow.”
The menu also continues to expand. Joe & Ernie’s has recently added three penne pasta dishes to its diverse selection of nearly 20 specialty pizzas.
Among the newest additions to the list is the Italian pizza, one of Carrillo’s own creations. This pizza is different from others in that the tomato sauce is sprinkled on top of a cheese base. Mini meatballs, basil and garlic round out the savory ingredients.
“The meatballs give it a different flavor,” Carrillo said. “The basil and garlic are powerful enough; the meatballs balance it.” Joe & Ernie’s has found a niche market with its specialty pizzas in the Eastlake and  surrounding area. Ever tried a pepperoni and feta pizza or a spinach and bacon pizza?
The eatery’s $5 student special — two slices and a drink — has become very popular with the after-school crowd.
In order to accommodate fans following high school football games, the restaurant is currently open until 11 p.m. Friday.
Joe & Ernie’s Pizzeria is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.