By Cody Neff
For nearly three years, one restaurant in Pineville has been doing its best to serve a variety of gourmet and authentic foods to the local residents. Ole Jose serves everything from Italian dishes to fresh-baked bread.
Ole Jose’s owner says they have recently added a few things to make the restaurant into something different for the area.
“We started out serving authentic Mexican food and we’ve done that for two and a half years,” Jill Hendrick said. “I decided that there was a need for diversity in Pineville. I was checking into doing some gourmet artisan pizzas. I decided that I wanted to be the first in southern West Virginia to put in a wood-fired pizza oven.
“If you’re using a wood-fired oven for pizza, you’re cooking with a flame instead of just heat. If you’re cooking in a normal pizza place, you run your oven around 550 to 650 degrees. We’re cooking at 800 degrees and when you’re cooking a pizza that fast it pulls out the moisture faster and makes the crust crispier. Plus we cook a pizza in 3 minutes versus the normal cook-time of 10 to 12 minutes in a gas oven. This pizza oven actually came over from Italy so we have a true Italian-made pizza oven.”
Hendrick said the restaurant’s crew went to the Big Apple to learn more about the art of pizza-making.
“We actually went to New York City and went to a pizza school and learned all of these recipes and learned how to properly use this wood-fired oven,” she said. “It has been a wonderful hit.
“Our most popular pizza is still your traditional ‘New York’ style pizza. Of course, we still offer pepperoni and cheese and then you can add all of the normal toppings. The toppings we use are fresh and we don’t use anything canned. We’re using Italian sausage that we cook here every day in our wood-fired oven. We roast our vegetables in our wood-fired oven for our toppings.
“We also make all of our own sauces. We have a Buffalo sauce that we make for our Buffalo pizza. A huge hit has been our mushroom pizza. We use Porcini mushrooms to make our mushroom sauce.”
Ole Jose also serves dessert pizzas that are made with Nutella spread.
Hendrick says she hears compliments all the time about the quality of the food.
“I want everyone to realize that we still have fantastic authentic Mexican food,” she said. “We get rave reviews out of our Mexican food. That’s a nice compliment to get when you have people coming in from out of town. They love our salsa and chips.
“We are also doing homemade Italian dishes that we learned in New York. We’re doing spaghetti, lasagna and fettucini now and we hope to expand the Italian menu a little farther.
“We make homemade bread every day in our wood-fired oven. We actually sell the bread in loaves. You get bread and salad with your Italian dish.”
Hendrick says the restaurant has another unique quality: its height.
“It’s a two-story restaurant,” she said. “Downstairs is the restaurant and we have a sports bar upstairs. The sports bar is where all of our locals come and hang out and watch ball games. We always have a huge crowd for the WVU away games.”
In the near future, Hendrick plans to add some other new services and features to the restaurant.
“We are actually working on becoming a brew pub,” she said. “We are talking to a brewmaster and hope to incorporate our own craft beers and we’re going to, hopefully by spring, add on an outdoor deck and seating area.”
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