IN PRINT: Joe Jost’s is 87 Years Old and Still Going Strong

Pickled eggs and Polish sausage, both served with pretzels

2:26pm | Few places inspire intense loyalty like Joe Jost’s.  Founded in 1924 by its namesake, and still being run by his grandson today, Joe Jost’s is a Long Beach institution.  No eating establishment is more associated with Long Beach than Joe Jost’s.  It continues to amaze me how many of my friends from out of town know about Joes and must make a pilgrimage whenever they are in town.

How has it attained such exalted status?  With a simple formula – do a few of things well, and keep doing them the same way. 

Joes is the antithesis of trendy or chic – it prides itself on standing firmly with one foot in the past.  You’ll see this as soon as you arrive.  The façade looks like a photo from a history book.  You enter through swinging doors and feel like you’re walking into a saloon.  The main room is dominated by a large bar and wooden booths.  The back room – filled with photos of patrons in Joe Jost’s t-shirts and old calendars covers, has pool tables and a shuffleboard game.  The biggest concession to modernity is the ATM machine – and they only have that because they don’t accept credit cards.  This is a cash only place folks.

The menu is simple and short.  It contains a handful of sandwiches (salami, cheese, liverwurst, and a new addition egg salad) but most folks don’t even look at the menu.  They order the Joe’s Special - a sandwich with a Polish sausage, Swiss cheese, pickle spear and mustard on rye bread.  I prefer mine spiced up with a little horseradish.   For $2.95, it’s an amazing deal. 

Almost as sacred as the Special are Joe’s pickled eggs.  Hard boiled eggs which are pickled in a blend of pepper juice and spices until a very unnatural shade of yellow.  The eggs have a salty and spicy texture that is the perfect accompaniment to the pretzels which are served alongside them.

There are no plates; there is no flatware.  Your food is served on paper trays or wrapped in paper.  The peanuts – which are roasted in house – come in a paper bag.  And while I wish they were salted, the peanuts have a sweetness and texture that will keep you eating them even though they aren’t.

And to wash down your special, pickled eggs, pretzels and peanuts?  A giant, frosty schooner of your favorite draught beer.  Busch is the house beer now, but there are a couple other choices if that’s not your style.

It’s also one of the few places where the little bit of cash in your pocket will still buy you and a friend a schooner and a special.   And there is no other place that I would rather go on an afternoon or evening with a few friends to catch up over a beer that this Long Beach institution. 

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