A great restaurant doesn't just make good food. And really, when was the last time that incredible service alone brought you back to a place for seconds? The combination of these two elements is critical but still isn't enough to elevate a restaurant above the ordinary. The key quality of a great restaurant is its ability to capture and reflect the atmosphere and culture of the borough in which it resides. From the decor and ambiance to the philosophy and attitude; anywhere that can play to the qualities of their surrounding environment will almost certainly find success in spite of the food.
When walking into Moon River Pizza one gets the overwhelming feeling that this, of all surrounding haunts, is the definitive Murray Hill restaurant. Paying homage to the intersection of the artistic and working class communities of New York, the template of the Murray Hill ideal, Moon River is as gritty and edgy as it is tasty.
Without a doubt, Moon River is the most aesthetically in-tune pizza joint in town , just take a look at the menu. In concordance with their artistic proclivities, they also do some of the most non-traditional things with their pies, like offering white cheddar cheese in lieu of mozzarella. While this may be enough to make an Italian cry, I'm of the opinion that a good sharp cheddar cheese on the top of a pizza is just about the most delicious thing you can do to a pizza.
Despite this, we decided to go with a traditional pizza using the inferior cheese. The Vegetarian is topped with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, olives and fresh garlic; all in great abundance. Quite an extraordinary example of a pizza indeed but next time we're definitely going to need to try The Pizza: spinach, mushrooms, garlic, and white cheddar cheese.
Anyone who reads regularly knows of my overbearing beer snobbery and Moon River gets a thumbs up for having some good quality brews on tap. Therefore, the next time you're in the mood for beer and pizza, do yourself a favor; don't think Domino's and Bud, think Moon River. You might absorb a little culture while you're at it.
Moon River Pizza
1176 Edgewood Avenue South
Jacksonville, FL 32205-0815