Of course, voting day is not the only day to enjoy my favorite take-out food, but it’s as good a reason as any other to NOT HAVE TO THINK about what to prepare for dinner. Another good reason to not want to think about cooking dinner, would be jury duty. There are plenty more good, solid reasons for not wanting to think about cooking dinner, but I will digress rapidly if I start down that road. And speaking of roads, this is the best time of year to get back outdoors on the road, if you’re an islander and have been hiding out for a few months, after having suffered whiplash at the Sea Pines NasCar Circle during the summer, along with getting the finger gesture (because apparently, whiplash isn’t punishment enough for attempting to merge in or out).
Yes, getting the finger and then whiplash, are early signs for islanders to shutter ourselves in for a few months, till the commotion dies down, going out on strategically planned days that don’t conflict with check-in/check-out. And for those of us really in the know, we take the back roads to the 1st TJ’s Take and Bake south end, beginning its 10th year, in the Island’s Crossing Plaza around the corner from Starbucks. Locally known as the best-kept secret around for incredible, fresh-tasting pizza, where you can get in, get out, dodging the traffic, sneaky-like. And during the season, if you’re a well-trained, covert islander, you’ll call in the order from Reilley’s Triangle while watching the Yankees take another inning on the chin at the outside bar, then zip across the street, grab your pizza and head home, still avoiding the Sea Pines Racetrack; like a stealth-bomber, nobody saw you coming, and you made it home with a pizza and maybe a buzz, and no one’s the wiser (and being a well-trained, covert islander, I will not elaborate on the back roads to avoid NasCar Circle here – ONLINE – for just anyone to see).
If this is the first time you’ve heard of TJ’s, you may be reminded of early Seinfeld episodes, in which Kramer has the big lightbulb idea, that people want to pay to bake their own pizza. Okay, but that’s where the similarities begin and end. TJ’s menu reads like a delightful, gourmet pizza menu. The difference is that they do everything, except bake the pizza for you. You call in the order, pick it up, take it home with ‘Baking Pizza for Dummies’ directions stuck to the plastic, and you’re eating a delicious, hot pizza in about the same amount of time it would take a delivery person to bring you a not-so-hot pizza, already baked, maybe more or less than you would have liked. And TJ’s is more than a novelty, the pizza is really superb, because a.) they use fresh ingredients, 2.) there are no chemicals in the dough (I know chemicals, right? The other guys put chemicals in the dough?), and c.) 100% extra virgin olive oil.
And now, there are two ways to enjoy TJ’s Take and Bake. The 2nd being the new, north end full-service restaurant, located in the JBanks Building at 35 Main Street, where they have a lunch menu that includes pizza slices, salads, and awesome butternut squash soup. This novel idea has been so unique and successful, that the owner, Jay Conrad, along with the original owner, Tom Jans (TJ’s), also have a consulting division for start-up take-and-bakes in places like Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota (Poppi was Kramer’s New York consultant on Seinfeld, right? In case you were wondering, I even quote Seinfeld one-liners for everyday events, like when my dog Sam, doesn’t deposit his business during our morning walk, I run in the door, yelling – with the Soup Nazi accent – “NO POOP FOR YOU!”… I know, there’s probably a 12-step program for this).
Back to TJ’s; so now, you can lay low during the summer months like the rest of us, waiting patiently for the fall months, grateful that the economy is humming along nicely (depending on who you voted for; one side says the economy’s in the tank, the other side says it’s climbing back with substance. All I know, is that this island gets more bloated with each passing year, and if this is a down economy, we may all have to move, if things start looking up around here). Because, where would we be without our summer season, right? You got it; NOT living on Hilton Head with our small tourist-dependent businesses.
The point is (yes, there is a point to this), you can enjoy TJ’s Take & Bake any time of the year, with or without traffic, no matter who’s sponsoring the Sea Pines Circle Race. And if you check their website, you can print out coupons, and Like them on Facebook. So, go do that now… Like and get coupons for great pizza! Click here for directions, or call, to place your order – South End, 843-842-8253; North End, 843-681-2900