History

  • Its thin-crusted, Italian-style pizza is by far its biggest seller, but it's really Blue Jeans' quirky, comforting eclecticism that has made it a Worcester institution.

  • First there's the huge lighted sign with its bold pocket logo hovering near Park Ave. that suggest to many (me included) that this is a chain. And the Blue Jeans Pizza name has the ring of an inevitable Americanism, instantly marrying the rich histories and connotations of both denim and pizza. It's not a chain; Blue Jeans is one Worcesterite's life's work. And his ideas proved to be an immediate hit that today draws many more people through its glass doors, and via its delivery service, than could ever have been dreamt more than 25 years ago.

  • The space Blue Jeans inhabits was designed by local architect Donald Bray and constructed in 1983. Using very simple materials (cedar clapboard), Donald achieved what must be one of the most bold, unusual and eye-catching transformations of a three-decker's first floor. The curved treatment of the raw stained boards provide a complete distinction/distraction from its upper surroundings — the effect is that Blue Jeans Pizza may just as well be a free-standing restaurant.

  • Step inside Blue Jeans and you're immediately faced with a large, bright, open kitchen peopled with busy, golf-shirted, and (appropriately) jeans-wearing cooks and crew. The kitchen seems to operate in efficient stations. After the clean kitchen, though, I couldn't miss the presence of a very personal kind of eclecticism. Blue Jeans can seem sometimes an antique reproduction/restoration with its high tin ceilings, oak counter, 19th century tile floor and Worcester art. Then again, the jeans theme and the pocket logo convey a uniqueness (have you seen the pocket-shaped pizza box?). And sometimes Blue Jeans seems like a nostalgic country fair (rough-hewn boards are in the vestibule and dining room, which is also decorated with flea market-like items). Blue Jeans teems with life; it rambles in the way of those old country houses, that generations have kept adding rooms onto. The result of these mental cues being stimulated is an experience of comforts, familiarities and pleasing associations.

  • Which brings me finally to the food, Blue Jeans' reason for being. The thin-crust pizza upon which Blue Jeans has established its bustling business is made with care. The dough is made daily on the premises. You can watch the cooks hand-toss it, in the traditional Italian pizzeria way. The pizza sauce has chunks of tomatoes in it, as well as minced fresh garlic. The mainly mozzarella cheese blend is tasty. And the overall flavor and texture reminded me of pizzas in Boston's North End. This pizza won a Worcester's Best Pizza poll three times.

  • The newest addition to the Blue Jeans menu is another equally well-crafted, but very different pizza; an authentically made Chicago-style, deep dish pizza. If you've had these kinds of pizzas before, you will not be disappointed, Blue Jeans has done a wonderful job faithfully bringing this specialty to our city. If you haven't tried this pastry-like pizza with large chunks of vegetables baked right in, order one now, it's delicious.

  • Pizzas account for only about a quarter of the Blue Jeans menu. And of the items I've tried, across the board, things are prepared tastily. Of particular note are the calzones, which are served with marinara sauce on the side for dipping, the abundant cheeses ooze from the freshly baked bread. Also, I was surprised at how good were the pub-style burger and french fries. The burger is a flame-broiled half pound; it was served to me with plenty of fixings on a local bakery's bulkie. The crispy, salty, irresistible fries were served to me hot, right out of the oil, and in a paper basket; sitting in the country-themed dining room I got a feeling of country fair. It's a pleasant and unexpected note. Which is the charm and appeal of the unique-to-Worcester Blue Jeans. Have a visit.