You might think that Moon Dog’s Pie House serves all-American apple pie, but wait. Pie in this case is New York- or Chicago-style pizza. Lots of them: 28 to be exact.
Moon Dog’s is just plain fun inside. There are 130 seats with an outdoor porch. The booths have high backs, and you might be sitting under a snorkeling man suspended from the ceiling or a girl’s frilly bicycle. This is a sure-fire family restaurant.
The restaurant opened in 2014, and General Manager Jonathan Eastly transitioned to the mom-and-pop pizza place from the country club arena.
He runs Moon Dog’s with precision and an eye toward customer satisfaction.
If you are pizza-ed out, the menu offers a healthy number of salads, calzones, strombolis, subs and paninis. Beer and wine is served.
Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER JONATHAN EASTLY
How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
Eclectic, geared for families and large parties wanting a good meal in a robust atmosphere. The original owner created a dynamic atmosphere — bare tables and bare floors speak for themselves. Every square inch of the wall space is decorated with fun props suspended from the ceiling. Even the high chairs are decorated with colors and designs.
What is your food philosophy?
Fresh, high-quality ingredients. The food shouldn’t take all day or all night. Customer service is very important and the quality of food sets the tone for their experience. Fresh dough is made throughout the day, and we use Grande mozzarella which has a tender, buttery flavor and melts nicely.
What types of cuisine do you specialize in?
New York- and Chicago-style pizzas. New York has a thin crust cooked traditionally. The Chicago pie is oven-baked, and we have added a layer of dough on top of the pizza. The slice is thick.
We also sell enormous pizza slices from our 24-inch pizza cut only eight ways.
What is your signature dish?
Two of our specialty pizzas, Space Trash Supreme and the Pope of Greenwich Village. There isn’t much missing from the Space Trash: ham, beef, garlic, green peppers, bacon, pineapple, black olives, pepperoni, onions and Grande mozzarella. The Pope is vegetarian with tomatoes, basil, garlic and pesto.
What would you recommend for a first timer?
The chicken wings — I’d put them up against anyone in the area. And one of our 28 specialty pizzas, you will find more than one you want to try. Check out our homemade desserts in the display case. Have a Peterbrooke made dessert with an espresso to finish off your meal.
Price Range: $-$$$
Location: 115 Bartram Oaks Walk, St. Johns
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday | 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday