Photo by Ron Sundquist
By Valerie Shelton, Editor
When in doubt about what to do for lunch or dinner, pizza is always an option.
The pizza you’ll find at Clovis’ hometown pizza joint, the Clovis Pizza Junction, however is not your average cheesy slice. Each piece has a thin, but not too crispy, layer of crust covered in a generous layer of sauce—red or white—a hefty helping of cheese and an overflowing abundance of toppings. Seriously, this place does not skimp on the meat and veggies.
The pride Clovis Pizza Junction takes in its pies is obvious not only in the presentation and flavor of each unique pizza combination, but can be seen early in the day when employees get there hours before opening to finely chop up all the fresh vegetables for the day. It’s attention to detail and a high standard for quality that you just can’t find at your average pizza chain—and that hard work and dedication General Manager Jaime Sinor and her team possess is reflective of the hardworking community of Clovis.
Truly a Clovis gem through and through, the second you step into Clovis Pizza Junction you can see the black and white historical photos of Clovis hanging on the wall dispersed among a couple of big screen televisions—a true depiction of the Clovis past and tradition nestled among the latest technology, very similar to the conversation Clovis Roundup staff and guest Bill Lovelady had on a recent lunch outing to the Clovis Pizza Junction.
Lovelady and the Roundup’s vice president Ken Melchor discussed a book they had been reading about the recently released Native American accounts of the Civil War before transitioning to a conversation about their new iPhones and various apps. History and technology, two subjects that truly paint a picture of Clovis, a community rich in its western tradition rapidly growing thanks to an uptick in industry and technology.
Clovis Pizza Junction’s salute to Clovis isn’t just obvious from its atmosphere, it is apparent in its Clovis-centric menu, featuring signature pizzas named after local historical sights and people. There is the Tarpey Depot, an all-meat pizza made with a homemade red sauce, fresh grated mozzarella, cheese, pepperoni, salami, Canadian bacon, sausage and linguica. There is The Cole, a classic combination with red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, bell pepper, purple onion, olives, mushrooms, diced tomato and green onions.
Our group of six—guest Bill Lovelady, Roundup vice president Ken Melchor, publisher Donna Melchor, graphic designer Billy Xiong, photographer Ron Sundquist and myself—ordered four small pizzas to sample.
The first, The Rex Phebus, was Lovelady’s favorite. The Rex Phebus is a specialty combination made with red sauce, topped with fresh grated mozzarella cheese, a truck load of pepperoni, sausage, linguica, fresh mushrooms, green onions, bell peppers, artichokes and re-topped with fresh grated aged parmesan cheese. It has been touted as Clovis Pizza Junction’s most popular signature pizza and it is clear why—toppings for days.
My favorite and a favorite for Sundquist as well, was The 500 Club, white sauce garlic chicken combination pizza. For me, it is rare to find a pizza place that makes a good white sauce. The only other white sauce pizza I’ve really enjoyed was one I had while in Chicago—the pizza capital of the world. My dad grew up near the windy city and I was raised to know the difference between good and mediocre pizza, so the fact that I put this white sauce pizza up there with the one in Chicago is high praise. Garlic is probably my favorite pizza topping. There is something about the garlic and cheese combo that really hugs my taste buds and this garlic white sauce mixed with the mozzarella does just that. The dynamic sauce and cheese duo is then topped with grilled garlic chicken, hickory smoked bacon (by the way I’m one of the only people who doesn’t care for bacon but it was good on this pizza!) bell pepper, purple onion, olives, mushrooms, diced tomato, green onions and roasted garlic.
Donna Melchor and Billy Xiong were big fans of the May Case, a vegetarian pizza. Ordinarily, the pizza comes with white sauce, but we ordered it with red. Both sauces are amazing so you can’t go wrong either way. Atop the crust and sauce are a generous portion of mozzarella and then a ton of veggies—artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, bell pepper, purple onion and diced tomato.
Ken Melchor’s favorite was The Rodeo, an upgraded version of your classic Hawaiian style pizza pie. The Rodeo is sauced with barbecue sauce and topped with fresh grated mozzarella cheese, grilled garlic chicken, hickory smoked bacon, pineapple and purple onion.
In addition to the pizzas, we sampled some of Clovis Pizza Junction’s barbecue wings and the roasted garlic cheese sticks. Both made excellent appetizers. Sundquist also sampled one of their beers on tap, an 805 from firestone. Nothing goes with pizza like a good beer according to Sundquist.
In addition to the great dishes we sampled—and re-sampled as it were, since leftovers were abundant—Clovis Pizza Junction’s menu also features calzones, garden fresh salads and oven-baked sandwiches.
To view a full menu, visit ClovisPizzaJunction.com.