A great pizza is maybe 30 percent context. This is science. And Jay's Café gets the context just right: a small box of a room; cracked linoleum floors; small, square tables with an aged black-lacquer finish; IBC root beer in the cooler. That they've captured the essence of the great American pizzeria is surely coincidence, and you must take full advantage of the universe's happy accidents. Here's how you do that: First, you find the free parking. It's all meters in front of Jay's, but a right or a left just north of your destination will save you some quarters (add them to the tip; the service is attentive without being invasive—another perfect balance!). Take your seat and politely refuse the menu. Tell your server that you did not come to fiddle around, but to eat some pizza. There are only two or three on the menu at any given time, and you'll be hard-pressed to find one that does not animate in your mouth and trigger whatever unique pleasure sounds come out of you at moments like this. It might be the bacon that does it, or the occasional walnut or roasted red pepper. It may be the blue cheese or the rosemary—but you will make sounds. "Surprise me," is what you'll say to your server, with a wink and a smile. And take your time. This is, after all, a café. And there's no need to worry about the meter.

Location Details

791 Raymond Ave.
St. Paul MN 55114