Restaurant News & Reviews

Jonah's is Ultimo-tly very good

A Forsythian Ultimo pizza from the stone oven in the open kitchen at Jonah's on Johnston in Forsyth.  The pizza is topped with red sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, black olives, greens and red onion.
A Forsythian Ultimo pizza from the stone oven in the open kitchen at Jonah's on Johnston in Forsyth. The pizza is topped with red sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, black olives, greens and red onion. Woody Marshall

They make a good pie at Jonah's on Johnston, but the bread is the star.

A big slice of ciabatta with ham, cheese and bacon baked right in? Yeah, you need to get that.

There's a bit of a drop off from there, but there's nothing wrong with very good unless you're looking for fantastic. And that's what Jonah's is across the board: Very good. They probably shouldn't advertise "the best pizza you'll ever have," but I cover politics for a living so I'm used to hyperbole.

Jonah's has the widest selection of brick-oven-baked specialty pizzas I've ever seen, and everything seems fresh. Want a pesto sauce instead of traditional red? Done. Like goat cheese and gouda on your pizza? No problem.

Jonah's is not a place you should take the 20 or 30 minutes to drive from Macon for on a Friday night, largely because of the cramped seating and the fact that you order at the counter. But if you're in or near downtown Forsyth, by all means go try a pie or have one delivered.

And if you're nearby for breakfast, even better. They've got coffee and lattes and all kinds of scones. The prices were more than fair for dinner, though for $6 the sandwiches ought to come with chips, or at least a pickle. And the specialty toppings can get expensive quickly if you build your own pizza, but that's true of most pizza joints.

For dinner, my date and I got two 8-inch pizzas, an appetizer and drinks for $37. The pizzas were good, though they fell short of our "best you'll ever have" expectations. Wine and beer were both inexpensive (you're not going to get an '82 Bordeaux here, but you can get a Red Stripe), though I didn't like having to stand in line for my second beer.

As for pizzas, that's a matter of individual taste. But the Forsyth Ultimo, which is basically their supreme, was fantastic. The three others I tried were very good.

They have all sorts of cookies and pastries for dessert. The first chocolate chip cookie I had looked so good that it nearly broke my heart when it was far too dry and crunchy. On my second trip the cookie was much better. The praline cookies were also good, though they don't quite melt in your mouth.

My date enjoyed the cinnamon and spice cheesecake, which she said was "really subtle." And she's a New Yorker, and therefore an alleged expert on food, if not subtlety.

Everything I've had except the Ultimo and the bread was missing just a little something - that final spice or ingredient that stops the show, makes you close your eyes and savor things. I think my expectations were too high, though, and the restaurant has only been open since December.

"I think they have a good foundation," my date said. "They'll probably find their way."

Jonah's on Johnston

26 E. Johnston St., Forsyth

Three stars

Phone: 994-8844

Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday.

Prices: $9.50 for an 8-inch, 3-topping pizza; $6 for sandwiches

Payment: Cash, check and credit

Reservations: No

Dress: Casual

Vegetarian selections: Yes

Smoking: No

Alcohol: Beer and wine

Children's Menu: Yes

Handicap accessible: Yes

Health rating: 91

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