Small town pizza, big New York City taste

A 1/2 and 1/2 pie with canadian bacon and cheese from Aj's Pizzeria (Vail Moshiri | The Collegian)

Downtown Manhattan has a classic vibe where you can’t help but want to stroll the streets and admire the stores. Upon visiting AJ’s NY Pizzeria located on 301 Poyntz Ave., you feel like you’ve walked into a little piece of the Big Apple in the Little Apple.

Being a New York style pizza enthusiast and an uprooted New Yorker, there are very few things in Manhattan, Kansas that remind me of the Big Apple.

The restaurant’s menu is huge, it has everything from specialty pizzas, calzones and even specialty salads. The best part about the specialty pizzas is that you can buy it by the slice for $5 rather than an entire pizza.

The interior pays homage to New York City with a MTA subway inspired menu and a bright yellow taxi cab upon entering. Catchy alternative bands like Kings of Leon and Two Door Cinema Club could be heard in the background. After ordering, they mark your table with a green New York City street sign.

New York style pizza is typically big on cheese, light on sauce, big on size and comes with endless possibilities. New York style pizza is, quite possibly, larger than life; often found are sizes as big as 14-18 inches in diameter. The slice I received from AJ’s was accurate to what I believe is a New York slice which is about a hand and a half. This was proven when I was able to perfectly fold my slice in half.

The amount of pizza styles at AJ’s were unreal. AJ’s has Grilled Cheese Pie, Pizza Bianco, Gentleman Jimmy’s Taco Pie and even Chicken or Meatball Parm Pie. You can’t help but want to come back for more.

Though I’m typically a cheese pizza fan, the Jalapeno Popper pizza proved to be irresistible. Essentially a pizza with cream cheese underneath cheddar and mozzarella with jalapenos on top, the pizza was a delight and had the perfect size and consistency. Delivery pizza is often times underwhelming (something is always overdone) but the piece AJ’s served was excellent. Although the cream cheese was lacking in certain spots, at times, it was still enjoyable. For pizza crust haters beware, AJ’s might change your mind.

It was, however, disappointing to note that there weren’t any specials for specialty pizza slices on weekdays.

AJ’s is the perfect place for pizza lovers, deep dish enthusiasts and those who want a little more than the typical delivery pizza.