San Jose Dining: Original Joe’s

Original Joe’s Italian Restaurant
301 S. First Street, San Jose, CA 95113

Web Site:

On our third night in the Silicon Valley area, Cheryl told me she was ready for something hearty and suggested Italian Food. I hadn’t eaten a really decent Italian-American meal since I more or less gave up on pasta when I burned my lifetime Fat Pack membership card, so I figured I would treat myself to a nice basic red sauce dish. One place that I knew we definitely wouldn’t be disappointed in was Original Joe’s, which is near the downtown San Jose Convention Center on First Street.

I have been to Original Joe’s on a number of occasions, pretty much exclusively when the summer IDG LinuxWorld Expo used to be in San Jose before they moved the show to Moscone Center in San Francisco — a tragic mistake on part of IDG, in my opinion. The nearby Fairmont Hotel where I used to stay during LinuxWorld made Original Joe’s a convenient place to eat. It’s not fancy stuff, just traditional red sauce classics and steaks and chops, but they know how to do it properly and do it well. They’ve been in business for over 50 years, and the atmosphere is unique — its sort of a Steakhouse-cum-diner-cum-wine bar-cum-Italian mobster hangout. Its always very busy and the place is huge inside, and it’s got a really loud vibe. I love it.

In September of 2007, the restaurant closed for three months and underwent a major renovation. It’s less edgy than it used to be, with hardwood accents and a classier new “speakeasy” look, but in many ways its still the same good ‘ol Original Joe’s I remember from years ago. The food and drink does not disappoint.

The entrance to the restaurant on First.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Rear Bar Area

The bartenders at Original Joe’s know how to pour a good drink.

Menu (Right Page)

Menu (Left Page)

Ah, the pool of olive oil and balsamic for the bread I won’t be eating.

Cheryl and I shared the classic sauteed garlic mushroom appetizer, one of Original Joe’s signature dishes.

Cheryl’s Sphagetti and Meatbals in Meat Sauce. Few restaurants do this better, in my opinion.

I decided to splurge and go for the Chicken Parmigiana. Awesome sauce, the chicken was pan fried perfectly, and just the right amount of cheese. That oughta scratch that itch for a few months!

The counter area in front of the restaurant by the grill.

Mushroom appetizer being prepared.

The well-worn charcoal grill.

The California Theater just down the street.

Entranceway of the California Theater.

One Response to San Jose Dining: Original Joe’s

  1. Faith Lubitz says:

    just discovered you via zimmern’s blog. Congrats on looking for healthy AND gourmet- and I love seeing
    photos of any restaurant that DOESN’T use black napkins- they are becoming so common and I despise them. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: