Joe’s Pizza took over an empty space on the Venice Beach Boardwalk in late 2016, and is preparing to serve New York style slices by early February. Joe’s Pizza is owned by Giuseppe “Joe” Vitale, who has five LA locations throughout LA.
Eater spoke with Vitale about the pizzeria’s move to Venice Beach. Vitale simply wanted a better option for beachgoers looking for an authentic New York style slice. Joe’s west coast expansion was a quick one, with a debut in Santa Monica in 2007. The West Hollywood outpost was next in 2009, then Hollywood proper in 2011. Vitale moved into the downtown Historic Core in 2014, then on Washington Boulevard near Normandie in 2017.
It’s a bit confusing, but LA locations have nothing to do with the original and famous Joe’s in Greenwich Village. The history of Vitale’s Joe’s Pizza is an all-American story, with a sprinkle of family drama. Vitale arrived from Italy in 1978, became a baker, opened his first pizzeria in 2003, sold half of the business in 2006, then opened another location in Brooklyn. But there are varying versions of this story. Vitale is also the former and now ex son-in-law of Pino Pozzuoli, who opened the famous Joe’s Pizza in 1975 on Bleecker Street in the Village. Pozzuoli sued Vitale for trademark infringement in 2011, and a judge ordered Vitale to stop using reviews and photos of the original locations to promote Vitale’s separate Joe’s Pizza. Apparently, former employees seem to be in the habit of borrowing the Joe’s Pizza name, as is Pozzuoli suing them.
As for the Venice Boardwalk, it is easy to find a slice, but not so easy to find a quality one. Joe’s best competitor is on Abbot Kinney at GTA (Gjelina’s Take Away).