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Palermo Pizza spot-on for a back-to-basics pie

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Palermo Pizza

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There’s no shortage of high-end Italian restaurants in the county, serving pizzas topped with everything imaginable from the butcher and the produce bin.

A restaurant in Jupiter has taken an old-school approach to the humble pie, and while it’s offered with high-quality toppings (and other excellent non-pizza offerings), Palermo Pizza has the look and feel of a neighborhood joint.

With wood tables and (mostly) matching chairs, old beer signs and photos, flat screen TVs, a small counter, pizza prep counter and kitchen, Palermo wins no awards for elegance, but there is a cool vibe to the sparseness, the lack of decoration. It’s almost as if the owners are saying, “It's just about the food.”

It’s certainly all about the pizza.

Pies come in 10” personal or 16” standard; a 10” pie, which is six slices, is pretty generous. Mouth-melting hot, thin crust, slightly crisp to the bite, yet you can give it the classic “New York fold.” A little bit of “cheese slide” (again, a New York pizza standard) and a bit of orange grease on the plate both provide the conversation-starter for the ever-popular battle on where great pizza comes from. Additional toppings here include the standards: extra cheese, pepperoni, sausage, broccoli, mushrooms, ham and bacon. Gourmet toppings here aren’t really fancy: Gorgonzola cheese, anchovies, broccoli rabe, eggplant and roasted peppers. But this is the kind of place where folks are very comfortable walking up to the counter and conversing with the staff, adding to their orders or asking what beer is best that day. Palermo’s stocks some unusual brews, including Turbo Dog, Cat 3 (from Boynton Beach’s Due South Brewery), Dream Machine and Two Hearted Ale.

If you prefer somerthing besides pizza, you can choose from hot and cold panini, antipasti featuring mussels in marinara or wine, fried risotto balls and calamari; salads, stromboli, calzone, pasta dishes and entrees with veal, chicken and eggplant. It’s not a large menu, but Palermo concentrates on what they do well in the kitchen space that’s available. And the smaller menu means prices are very reasonable: pizzas are $7.95 to $17.95, panini , stromboli and calzone $7.95 to $12.95, antipasti $5.95 to $9.95, salads $4.95 to $11.95 and pasta and main entrees $7.95 to $15.95. All the dishes are generously portioned and can be shared; the attentive staff is happy to bring extra plates.

The argument about where the best pizza can be found will never go away. But you can add Palermo to the list and at least heat up the discussion.

Palermo Pizza, 711 W. Indiantown Rd., C4, Jupiter, FL. Phone (561) 743-1157(561) 743-1157. Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Delivery available in Tequesta and Jupiter.

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