In 2009, a friend and I were driving from Key West to Fort Lauderdale. The night before had been a long one (is there any other kind of night in Key West? Especially on your last night of vacation?) so we were looking for a greasy lunch.
“STOP!” I cried when I saw a green and yellow circular sign on the side of the road. “We’re eating here.”
That place was Jersey Boardwalk Pizza, which is now being sued by the state of N.J. [read the full suit]. because of their logo has the same shape and color scheme as the Garden State Parkway emblem.
This is ridiculous. How ridiculous? As ridiculous as saying Flying Fish promotes drunk driving with their Exit Beer series. As ridiculous as AAA not being able to service cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, Atlantic City Expressway or Garden State Parkway. As ridiculous as only having six bathrooms for women in what replaced the Oceanview Service Area rest stop.
Except with this incident, N.J. is throwing away money that we apparently don’t have in order to go after a pizza place that reminds a lot of people of home. How about we wrap up that tax evasion case against Manco & Manco first? Or spend some of that $5 million of Sandy-relief money earmarked for tourism to promote the Jersey Shore’s use of the latest and greatest in sauce hose technology?
Florida is a weird and wonderful land of misfits and transplants, and using Mid-Atlantic and Northeast flare is part the state’s credo. This goes beyond planting spring training and minor league baseball teams in the Sunshine State. It’s why in Tampa alone there’s everything from the Tampadelphians to Wawas.
A pizza and hoagie shop that riffs on a well-known symbol of home to draw out-of-state drivers should be lauded for their marketing genius, not sued by the state they’re honoring. It’s such a good marketing ploy that I have forgiven them for calling a hoagie a sub. That’s not an easy blessing for me to give, one previously granted only to the White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City.
I wish I could tell you that the pizza was divine and that in eating it I could close my eyes and imagine that I was on a boardwalk bench, drinking a birch beer, and warding off seagulls, but I don’t remember what I ate. I probably ordered a hoagie because I’m not much of a pizza fan anyway (please don’t take away my residency).
But I did have that picture above taken — as I’m sure hundreds of other travelers driving along Route 1 have before and since my visit.
Let the damn place keep the logo. We have other things to worry about.
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