Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memories of Henry J's

One of the best restaurants to open downtown in the 1980's was a St. Louis style pizza place called Henry J's. Located on 9th St. near the MU campus, this wonderful restaurant served thin crust pizzas and a zesty Italian salad that were both extremely tasty. One year it was voted to having the best tasting pizza in Columbia by a columnist in the Tribune, which was interesting because the restaurant was partly owned by Hank Waters who happened to own the Trib.

My friend Ted Z. and I tried out Henry J's when it first opened and ordered a large pizza with everything, including anchovies. The pizza tasted so good that we ordered another large one after only eating two pieces, my goodness it was great! They had a tossed Italian salad with almost everything in it mixed with a dressing that tasted like heaven, not too heavy or light but just right. Add a couple of beers to the meal and once again Pizza Nirvana was reached.

Another great memory was a classmate whose father managed the restaurant. Michelle had an evening class with me at Columbia College and was a joy to know. She had a wonderful smile and a bubbling personality who brought joy to everyone around her. My fellow classmates and I were jealous of her boyfriend because she was such a nice person to be around. I was surprised to see her at Henry J's one evening where I was told she was helping out her dad and she seemed so happy to see us. We heard her laugh all evening while we ate and she came over whenever she could to visit us. When the semester was over we lost track of everyone and I heard that Michelle had got married. For some reason we did not go to Henry J's much after that and then I read that it had closed. It could possibly be the best pizza I ever ate and boy do I miss it and the good times we had there.

1 comment:

phlogdo said...

While Shakespeare's got most of my business "back in the day", I always liked Henry J's a great deal. In a way it's a shame their pizza was so good.... it kept me from eating enough of the wonderful pastas and other Italian dishes they had...

The thing that made the pizza soooo good was not ONLY the GREAT thin crust, but also the cheeses!!!! In a day where "cheese" for most pizza places meant a mound of rubbery stuff they called "mozzarella"..(which by the way bears NO resemblance to TRUE mozzarella), Henry J's pizza had four or five cheeses in perfect blend... I think they were Romano, Asiago, Mozzarella, Mizithra and Parmesan. I can still remember the taste of that cheese..... Wish I had Henry J's pizza right now. For breakfast.