Pizza restaurants have been around for decades, but there’s little doubt about this "first." Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint brought authentic New York style pizza to Mississippi in 2007 in a unique way. Boasting a Little-Italy themed menu packed with New York pizzas and the cherry on top, an ice cream shop conveniently located within the restaurant, Sal & Mookie’s created quite a stir when it debuted in Jackson’s Fondren area. The Gulf Coast needed its open version, so a Sal & Mookie’s opened in Biloxi a few years ago. But it’s the Jackson location that calls my name most often, so it’s the one I’ll feature.
Back to those New York-style pizzas. Before opening Sal & Mookie’s, Jackson restaurateurs Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal conducted enviable research for their new restaurant. They sampled pizza from one side of New York City to another in a pizza marathon to end all marathons. As a result, they combined the best ideas and flavors from New York-style pizza dough, sauce and toppings. So, it’s no surprise Sal & Mookie’s pizzas are authentic, made-from-scratch, oh-so-tasty, and, yes, named after New York landmarks and neighborhoods.
It would be impossible to list every single way pizza can be ordered at Sal & Mookie’s. Suffice to say, however you like your pizza –favorite size, crust, sauce and toppings - they can prepare it for you.
And speaking of New York names, you won’t go wrong with selecting any of these creative pizza pies.
A few favorites are Freedom Tower ($18.95-$23.95) filled with béchamel sauce, Swiss and mozzarella cheeses, ham, grilled chicken, red onion, and roasted garlic; Empire State ($19.50-$24.50), Gambino ($19.50-$24.50) featuring cheeses, Italian sausage, caramelized onions, and sautéed spinach; Penn Station ($26.95-$32.95) spread with dill-caper cream cheese spread, cheeses, tomatoes, capers, red onions, and smoked salmon, and the hearty Meat Packing District ($21.25-$27.25) packed with Italian plum tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, prosciutto, and Genoa salami.
And, believe me, that’s just the tip of the pizza iceberg. There are many more varieties topped with everything from artichoke and spinach spread, grilled eggplant, chipotle barbecue sauce crawfish tails and andouille sausage and roasted pork loin and chicken.
A personal favorite is Central Park ($18.95-$23.95). It’s a tangy combination of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, grilled chicken, smoked bacon and red onions finished with a drizzle of green goddess dressing. If that’s not old-school New York, I don’t know what is.
Your favorite pizza can be presented Stromboli-style for more compact eating or prepared to meet gluten-sensitive needs.
If none of the menu selections quite meet your pizza preferences, simply build your own unique creation with any combination of favorite toppings, including a dizzying choice of sauces, cheeses, meats, seafood, and vegetables.
However, I don’t want to give the false impression that Sal & Mookie’s only knows pizza. They also offer a wide variety of paninis, subs, burgers, salads, soups, and appetizers.
In the panini section, choose from the Brownstone ($9.95), filled with grilled chicken creamed spinach and artichoke spread, roasted red bell peppers, prosciutto and Swiss; Hebrew National ($12.50) filled with smoked salmon, red onion, sliced tomatoes, and dill-caper cream cheese spread; West Bank Muffaletta ($10.25) with ham, genoa salami, provolone and Italian olive salad and The 'Donald' ($11.25) filled with sautéed shrimp, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, fontina cheese, and basil pesto mayonnaise.
Subs include chicken parmigiana (9.95) with ricotta cheese, provolone and marinara; meatball with marinara ($8.95), Philly cheese steak ($12.95) and chicken cheese Philly ($9.95).
If you’re in the mood for a juicy burger, try the Bobby Flay ($12.25) with chipotle barbecue sauce and honey-pepper bacon, Upstate ($10.75) fried chicken breast tossed in spicy Buffalo sauce and Statue of Liberty ($9.95) featuring all-American ingredients, to list a few.
And, appetizers like garlic bread sticks ($5.95), sautéed shrimp ($9.50), portabella fries ($8.95), and cheese-filled fried ravioli ($7.50) are the perfect start to or accompaniment to any meal.
Weekday lunch deals offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday include $11 specials like beef tips and rice, baked ziti, smoked bacon-encrusted meatloaf, and fried chicken wings. Each entrée comes with one side dish.
Also, weekday lunch “pizza by the slice" ($9.50) offers three types of Sal & Mookie’s popular pizzas. Each slice comes with a side and a drink.
Lunch pastas come with a side salad or soup and include chicken parmigiana ($12.25), chicken cacciatore ($12.95), beef tournedos cacciatore ($13.95), cannelloni ($10.95), spaghetti and meatballs ($10.95), and shrimp scampi ($13.50).
No visit to Sal & Mookie’s is complete without a perusal of the lineup of ice cream that can be enjoyed by the scoop or topped with any number of delicious ingredients. There's also milkshakes, malts, sundaes, floats, and much more on the menu. So, save room while enjoying your meal because Sal & Mookie’s ice cream parlor contains delicacies you won’t want to miss.
Sal & Mookie’s is located at 565 Taylor St. in Jackson. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday; until 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and closed on Monday.