The other night we had pizza for dinner. Now Lakewood Ohio is a great town for food and drink, and they have wonderful pizza joints, but I still miss my favorite place in the valley.
After dinner as I sat in my chair bopping in and out of consciousness, I started to think about Joe Peeps on Magnolia Blvd. in Valley Village. Joe Peeps is near the corner of Whitsett and Magnolia. It is in the strip of shops on the south side of the street. You probably have seen the castle like US Post Office next door. Joe Peeps is usually at or near the top of the list for any poll of favorite pizza joints. And Joe Peeps is a joint bordering on a dive. But a great dive.
You have to walk in the back door because there is no public front door. There is only a window where one of their employees prepares their fresh pizza crusts and gives them an occasional toss up in the air. As you walk through the back door you walk down a short hall filled with graffiti notes from what seems to be everyone who ever visited the place. Don't forget to bring your sharpie. However once you are in your nose draws you up to the counter which is right in front of the open kitchen.
We usually ordered their "Blue Collar" pizza. This is a thin style New York pizza. They also have thicker crust and a variety of toppings. They also make the best steak sandwich I have ever had. One sandwich is usually enough for two meals. They also have a hearty garlic bread made from their pizza dough. If you are lucky you might see a round loaf of bread on the counter which is also made from their dough. Buy it, it is not always available and it goes fast when it is.
If you go do not be tempted by the Pizza Hunt across the street. I admit we went their once or twice, and we felt so guilty we walked home on the other side of the street until we were out of view from Joe. Don't rob yourself of the wonderful local flavor. After your pizza you might want to walk west across Whitsett to the Firefox Room. It is a small neighborhood bar opposite Rite Aid. We were there once and it was okay. It's distinction is being a filming site for a scene from the movie "Magnolia". If you see Sam, the unofficial Mayor of Valley Village walking down the street say hello, because he will.
While I am at it I feel the need mention we also miss Western Bagel's On Sepulveda Blvd., Dr. Hogly Wogly's Texas BBQ, the Cigar Warehouse on Ventura, with their walk in humidor and finally we miss the best video store in the valley and maybe L.A., Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee. Happy Trails.