An honest lunch in Jamestown

by Brian Clarey

Stromboli is a close cousin to pizza; both are excellent at the Jamestown Oven & Grill. (photo by Brian Clarey)

Jamestown is not known for its restaurants, though there are several fine ones to choose from, most of them on the Main Street drag. I’ve tried just about all of them, even the Subway and Domino’s franchises, though I generally prefer something locally owned and operated.

So yesterday I took a cruise from the YES! Weekly offices down the Jamestown strip looking for lunch — nothing fancy, just something to keep the energy flowing while I knocked out the last of the week’s workload.

I had seen the Jamestown Oven & Grill before, usually on my way to High Point, and never really thought twice about stopping in to eat. But on this day the place I had intended to go was closed, time was running late and man, I was starving, so I pulled into the lot.

The Jamestown Grill, as it’s sometimes known, is exactly as I expected: a simple, family restaurant housed in a brick building, with booths lining the walls and a few tables in the middle. The menu is ripe with the kind of staples that go over equally well with both kids and adults: pizzas, sandwiches, fried appetizers and wings described as the “best in town.” Also on the menu are a few surprises such as authentic Italian dishes like eggplant, meatball, chicken, steak and sausage Parmesan or chicken cacciatore; Greek fare like pitas and gyros; steaks and seafood that run about $10 a plate.

Bargains abound here — a sign outside advertised a large pizza with 10 wings for $10, and the lunch menu includes specials that run $5-$6 every day, with a daily special on the board.

I went for one of those, a stromboli of my choice with a side salad added for an extra couple of bucks.

The salad was as straight-up as it gets, just a pile of shredded iceberg lettuce with a couple tomato slices and a handful of mozzarella cheese tossed on top. No candied walnuts. No fried caper blossoms. No artichoke hearts or tofu crumbles or dried fruit. The bleu cheese dressing came in a plastic envelope, like a big bag of ketchup. It was cold, fresh and delicious, and I ate every morsel.

The stromboli — I opted for the steak version — came out piping hot on a pizza tray with a cup of cold marinara sauce. It smelled fantastic.

Stromboli is basically like a pizza, but with the toppings on the inside and the whole thin rolled up like a roulade. Unlike some other Stromboli I’ve eaten, this one was dusted on the outside with grated Parmesan cheese and spices. Inside was thinly sliced, lean steak, likely the same kind used for Philly cheesesteaks, which bodes well for the sandwich.

As a general rule, a place that makes good stromboli makes good pizza. And the Jamestown Oven & Grill makes a damn fine stromboli, with quality dough cooked off in a pizza oven, enough gooey cheese inside to make long strings while I ate it and quite a bit of meat. The marinara sauce was pretty good, too. And the thing was big enough that I had trouble finishing it while I watched “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on the TV.

Bottom line: I’ll be back to the Jamestown Oven & Grill, maybe for lunch, maybe for dinner with the kids, maybe just for a quick bite on a day filled with deadlines. It’s a good, honest family restaurant with good, honest food. And honestly, you gotta respect that.