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Joe's Italian Pizza, Pasta & Caffe

21 Weatherly Club Dr., Alabaster
This restaurant, near the entrance to Weatherly in the Pelham/Alabaster area, has been getting a lot of good buzz on the local Internet boards for authentic Italian food, with good pizza and pasta, in a nice casual atmosphere. Reports are the parking lot is packed practically every night and Friday nights are SRO. Joe's traces its origins to Joe's Italian Restaurant, which was established in 1981 in Gilroy, Calif., by Giuseppe and Elvira Bertolone, who emigrated from Italy in 1977. Joe's quickly became a beloved local icon. In 2007, they sold the restaurant and retired in Alabama, where the family opened a new restaurant. A July 2009 City Scene review gave high marks to tomato-basil soup, lasagna bianca (Italian sausage and turnips between tender layers of fresh pasta covered in a silky white sauce), papardelle al Gamberi (with shrimp and pesto-cream sauce), pizza, lobster ravioli. "Great food at a reasonable price in a sometimes boisterous, always kid-friendly, definitely fun atmosphere."

Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 10:17AM by Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge in | Comments17 Comments

Reader Comments (17)

OHHHHH MY GOSH! can not clearly convey my enthusiasm for this cafe.
Most everything ( not sure about the bread) is in house made.

The atmosphere was warm and friendly.Some tables have 4 chairs. Some tables have 2 chairs and 2 benches

For dinner last night I had the eggplant parmigiana .. OH MY HEAVENS .. The eggplant is grilled not fried. The sauce is a pomodoro sauce and the mozzarella is there but not overwhelmingly so. The sauce was thick but loose enough to be soaked up by the bread.

I had a choice of salad or soup. I got the salad. Forget iceberg lettuce, this was rich and very green with a light homemade italian dressing ladled over it. could have had a little more dressing in my opinion. It was great though.

One friend ordered the lasagna but they ran out so she had the spaghetti after seeing it served at another table. The meatballs are about the size of tennis balls.

My other friend had the manicotti tre Colori. It was beautiful to look at. The pasta is made in house. The inside of the manicotti was a ricotta and spinach blend. What I loved about the apperance of this dish was that it was not overwhelmed in sauce. I did garner a taste of my friends dinner and it was wonderful. A little too rich for me, but really well done.

The only negative thing I can say is that our waitress needed a little bit more practice...

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHoni

Wonderful we ate their for lunch and we will definitely be back. Don't skip dessert..one look at the dessert case and you wont be able to resist. I had the meatball sub, my mom had the soup and she raved about it. My kids split the spaghetti and meatballs. Everyone left happy and full.

December 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJ Davis

Love it, pass it on way home, have trouble resisting turning in there. Wine menu is coming soon, for now (until alabama approves license) you can bring a bottle and glasses of your choice. It's not the same without a glass of red.

January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMattB

I want to let everyone know that joe's italian has some of the best food i have ever tasted. Everything except for 2 or 3 things is homeade and it is all delicious. Save room for the dessert people because it is simply amazing it doesnt matter what you get for dessert. If you do skip dessert dont look at them because you may have to sit back down and eat some. It is great to come any night but friday nights are usually busiest. They have gotten a liquor license and will now be serving beer and wine starting monday feb. 9. TAke a visit to joe's because you will love it

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertnicholas

Me and my wife have come into Joes Italian many times and we love the expirience every time. the service is exceptional. We loved our waiter Matt. We ordered the spaghetti with the oil garlic sauce. It was bursting with flavor. We finished with some of Mammas homemade desserts. We will definatly be back!

March 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbhmsfinest

My family loves Joe's and they are not die hard Italian food fans. The prices are good. The servings are huge. The Basil Tomato soup is the best I have ever eaten but they don't have it all the time. Wonderful comfort food! The people there make you feel like family.

March 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNKala

We love this restaurant! The focaccia and dipping oil are amazing. We can't get enough and have become Joe's addicts. Try going on a weeknight because the wait is an hour or more during the weekends! Leave room for dessert. Fantastic fresh Italian! No pretense! Great food. Great portions! Great prices . Great service.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLove2eat

My family and I eat at Joe's at least once a week.
We love the food,service and ambiance.
Try going during the week as weekends are standing room only ! Try the Lobster ravioli and Mamma's strawberry cake... DELIZIOSO !

April 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlabasterGirl

We'd heard so many rave reviews about Joe's Italian, and finally got to eat there tonight. Being Saturday, we knew to go early, but at 4:30 the place was already 1/2 full! I'm always uneasy eating out with two kids under two, but the staff made us feel right at home and constanty checked to make sure we had everything we needed. I haven't had such friendly and efficient service in this area for quite a while. Our waiter Jeff was great, and of course we met Joe and Mamma too. The food was FABULOUS! The tomato basil soup was so good, one could almost lick the bowl. One order of the kids' lasagna was more than enough for two, but hey, more to take home. My husband had the salad and chicken parmesan, and reported it was delicious also. We will defintely go back!

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHelenaSpunk

the pizza is great, and the olive oil mixture to mix your bread in is really good...other than that, the rest of the food is horrible! the ravioli is sickening, i had to send that back. the lasagna had gooey noodles, had to send that back, the spaghetti was gooey, had to send that back...everytime we sent something back and wanted a pizza they said it would be at least 45 minutes...so there have been multiple times where we go in to try something new and wind up not eating at all because of the horrible taste. stick to the pizza, you can't go wrong there. restaurant as a whole is 2 out of 10 stars, pizza is 9 out of 10 stars.

December 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermrhonest

I've been a Joe's "regular" since it opened last year. NEVER in the 100 Plus times that I have eaten there have I had anything gooey. MR. HONEST whom commented on Dec 22, 2009 might want to check his level of HONESTY. There are not many negative reviews of this restaurant for a reason. Joe's has HANDS DOWN the BEST italian FOOD in the SOUTH.
Sounds,like this person is a HATER or an EVIOUS competior. Joe's is BIGGER, BETTER and STRONGER than ever, their expasion is complete, and the FOOD, service and AMBIANCE is, as always, STELLAR.

December 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergigilaurence

I think Joe's has hands down the best Italian food in Birmingham! Everything I have ordered has been outstanding.

January 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberlee

We ate at Joe's last night. I've heard all the buzz and I wanted to check it out. I hate to say that I was disappointed. The entrees were average. The desserts were really good though. We had the peach cake and it was very good. I don't know what all the buzz is about, but it wasn't worth the drive for us.

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie

Went to Joe's last night for the first time... waited almost 90 minutes for a table. Great fresh food, loved the lasagna.My husband ordered spaghetti aglio, olio e pepperoncino... a little spicy but deliciuos. Focaccia was to die for and don't even get me started on the desserts...we of course had their famous strawberry cake...YUM. Lots of people waiting to get in can't be wrong. We were told by a neighboring table that there is a wait almost every night. This place is awesome. Go early. Enjoy it for what it is; a really well orchestrated, family restaurant, with good pasta, fresh bread, FANTASTIC hospitality and Lots of people waiting to get in :) Viva la Joe's ! Such a nice change from the generic New Yorker style Italian restaurants in the area...
A welcome and much needed addition to Alabaster and Shelby County. :)

February 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentershelbychic

We visited Joe's for the 2nd time last weekend, our first visit since they expanded. And once again, I left happy and full - just not overly excited about anything I had eaten. My memory could be wrong, but I remembered their menu being much more extensive before the expansion - not half pizza. We both got the dinner special, crab canneloni, and while it was good, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Their dipping oil and bread is excellent, and their soup of the day - a sausage ministrone - was quite good. Joe & Mama make everyone feel special, and the entire staff is welcoming and bends over backwards to make your meal enjoyable.

Still, I expected to feel the over-whelming love that so many feel for their food. Maybe I should just go for dessert?

June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

My husband and I have eaten at Joe's 3-4 times now. The bread and dipping oil are amazing, and I've never had bad service. When we arrived and had a particularly long wait, Mama brought out appetizers and small dixie cups of lemonade for those of standing at the front, chatting with us before going to sing happy birthday (and dance!) to another customer. The dessert case looks amazing, but we are always too full to try anything, since the portion sizes are very large.

But I've never been blown away by any of the entrees. It's standard comfort Italian food, and sometimes that's exactly what you need. But the crab cannelloni with a cream sauce (a special the last two times we visited) is a little too heavy for either of us. The pomodoro sauce served with the parmigianas is slightly acidic - a little too much of a tomato bite for me. The tomato cream sauce on the ravioli is much better. The Toscana soup (the soup of the day) was slightly spicy and perfect.

After our recent lunch there, we walked outside to find Mama cutting herbs and picking tomatoes off of her potted plants lining the sidewalk. The decor & ambiance of Joe's - thanks in no small part to Joe & Mama themselves - makes this restaurant the success it has become.

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

Joe's quickly became a beloved local icon. In 2007, they sold the restaurant and retired in Alabama, where the family opened a new restaurant. -Tudor watches Swiss

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTudor watches Swiss

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