When James Best opened Eleanor’s Pizzeria in Jonesboro on May 1, 2017, his goal was to provide authentic Italian pizza with only authentic ingredients. He named the establishment after Eleanor, the 3-year-old daughter of Best and his wife, Emily, so you can be sure that he put his heart into making the restaurant perfect.
“I’ve always wanted to have a pizzeria and provide my guests with superior pizzas and other specialties that
contain only top-of-the-line, high quality ingredients,” Best said. “Our pizzas and salads are served family-style, which adds to the friendly atmosphere.”
Best spent about a year remodeling the restaurant space and three months perfecting the recipes for Eleanor’s menu. He wanted to ensure that the sauces, dressings, meats, crust and ingredients met the high standards that he set in his other restaurant, Skinny Js, which has grown to a three-location success story. Eleanor’s has an intimate feel, with industrial-angled fixtures that are custom-designed and made by Best, who is also a building contractor and remodeler.
Eleanor’s pizza pies are of the New York style, with a light, airy crust and tasty sauce, cut into huge, delectable slices that could be folded, if desired.
For the ingredients at Eleanor’s, Best searched for the perfect recipe elements. His search resulted in a treasure chest of unique flavors. He uses San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown near Mount Vesuvius in Italy and have a sweet flesh, low acidity, low seed count and meatiness that make them ideal for pizza sauce. The Kalamata olives, grown in Kalamata, Greece, have a distinct taste and are one of the healthiest olives to eat. And, the capicola ham and other meats at Eleanor’s can only be found in an Italian deli.
The Warm Goat Cheese appetizer, topped with Eleanor’s tomato basil sauce, is a great presentation, served with six garlic toast points. The cheese had a creamy texture and nice flavor that was enhanced by the tomato sauce. The toasted bread was ideal as a base for dipping or for both.
The Classic Bruschetta appetizer was presented beautifully also, with roasted garlic, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and garlic-toasted nuts at the center of five large slices of garlic bread arranged in a star design. The flavor of the Kalamata olives blends with the fresh garlic to deliver a rich, slightly sweet taste that is wonderful on the toasted bread.
The Antipasto Salad, which includes crisp romaine lettuce with flavorful capicola ham, pepperoni, Geneo salami, mozzarella cheese, Kalamata olives, diced tomatoes and banana peppers, packed a ton of flavor in each bite of Italian goodness. The salad featured sliced rolls of the meats piled atop a huge bed of other items.
The Italian, Best’s favorite sandwich on the menu, features salami, capicola, pepperoni, melted, mozzarella, fresh spinach, sliced tomatoes and made-from-scratch house vinaigrette on an awesome, freshly baked loaf of bread that is cooked in the pizza oven. The top grade of the meats is very evident, as is the custom-baked bread.
Best’s daughter, Eleanor, should be proud that Daddy named the house special pizza after her. The Eleanor,
a creation of love featuring pepperoni, sausage, pickled peppers and Kalamata olives, is a pizza that any pizza lover must try. The meats, the crust, the cheese, the sauces and the spices all dance in unison to provide one of the best-flavored pizzas that I have eaten.
Eleanor’s is in Jonesboro, the home of the Arkansas State University Red Wolves, but I swear when I sampled the Pine and Swine pizza it was so good that I wanted to yell sooiiieee-pig with delight. It was easy to see why this was a menu favorite, as it featured six whole slices of bacon, sliced capicola ham and sweet pineapple chunks. The pineapple and meats blend to provide a pizza flavor that you will love.
The sweet aroma of the Chocolate Chip Pie preceded its arrival at my table. This sweet pizza pie was like eating a warm, soft chocolate chip cookie with a thin, airy buttery crust.
Based on my visit to Eleanor’s Pizzeria, I have decided that James Best only does things one way…the right way. With that said, don’t delay stopping by to enjoy perfect food, perfect service in the perfect environment. You will be back.
Dining recommendations? Contact Rob Roedel at email@example.com