An Innovative Take on a Classic Tradition at Jack’s Wood Fired Pizza
Pizza options in a small, out of the way western community tend to be mediocre. This is especially true in a small, out of the way western community that houses a large state university, where on any given day a sampling of students will yield such responses as “Little Caesar’s” and “Domino’s” when confronted with the best place to grab a pie in town. And while a scattering of independent and respectable take-out pizza places have popped up, the market for classically inspired thin crust pizza baked in a brick oven hasn’t exactly been tried in Cache Valley, Utah.
That was until last year, when Jack’s Wood Fired Oven opened up in Logan. Situated on historic main street in a small building in the shadow of Utah State University’s iconic Old Main, Jack’s Wood Fired has become my favorite place to grab pizza in not just my own college community, but maybe even the entire country.
Jack’s has just the right “feel” and ambiance. It’s small and homey, with maybe eight or nine casual wooden tables to sit in. An imported brick oven burns hot for all the patrons to see, and owner Jack Carlisle personally mans the cooking as well as the slicing of the ‘hot out of the flame’ pizzas. On my most recent trip I had the“Chuckwagon” – a Jack’s original. While I’m usually not one to order something more off-the-wall when confronted with ingredient choices like prosciutto and fresh basil, I thought going for a pizza which speaks volumes to Jack’s philosophy would better serve my inquisitive taste buds. Jack, for his part, is incredibly passionate about pizza, but in a completely unpretentious way. He’s a guy who has every reason to gloat about the superiority of his pizza compared to the local competition, but instead he remains humble and friendly, the consummate neighborhood guy who’ll take the time to talk to any guest. He also insists on creativity and individuality when it comes to pizzas, and encourages his guests to customize from a plethora of toppings.
Usually I go with something classic when confronted with a brick oven, but even I could do no wrong with the Chuckwagon, which consists of smoked and pulled pork shoulder, Jack’s signature blend of cheeses (Mozzarella, Provolone, and Parmesan Cheese), jalapeno peppers, and pineapple slices set amidst a sweet BBQ sauce over a delicate, organic flour thin crust. Like all of Jack’s pizzas, the crust is cooked perfectly in the oven, creating a wonderful balance of smokey flavor and charred aroma that tastes so good you could eat it by itself. It’s overwhelmed by the toppings and eventually sogs, but don’t let that discourage you from picking a slice up or at least attempting to.
The toppings are all fresh and taken from the highest quality domestic supplies. The first thing that hits you is the sweetness of the BBQ sauce and melty, salty and fatty cheese. It’s just what you want in a pizza cheese, and its assertive flavor and liberal application make for a savory end result. Tender bits of pork shoulder (smoked in Salt Lake City) have great flavor and texture. The fatty strings of the interior meat are still in tact, and the moist, succulent meat pairs terrific with the al dente pineapple, which adds a fruity tang to the sauce and a great foil for the intensity of the still-seeded jalapenos.
The whole thing is messy and defies every conception of pizza I have, degenerating into a agglomeration of cheesy goodness with sweet, fruity and smokey notes mixed in. I eagerly consume several slices before I realize that I may need to rethink my traditional pizza ordering strategy, giving options like this and others a second chance when in the hands of a master craftsman like Jack Carlisle.
Despite its small size, Jack’s offers a fairly large menu. A house made soup of the day is always hot, and a line of sandwiches and salads is offered as well. Dessert pizzas are also offered, as are “mini-pizzas” that are served each day for lunch (with choice of a salad or soup) for just $6.50. Pizzas range between 8-14 dollars, and depending on if you brought your college appetite or not, will feed 2-3 people. I can’t say enough about this place, which not only offers amazing food in a community sorely in need for something other than a Taco Time, but for providing a friendly and relaxed atmosphere that’s even developed a cult status on Facebook. Chances are that you may never make it out to Logan, but should you ever decide to visit the home of one of the country’s best mid-major basketball programs, make sure you stop for a little pre-game carboloading at Jack’s Wood Fired Oven.
Check them Out:
265 North Main St
Logan, UT 84321