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Pele's Wood Fire Pizza

MetroJacksonville's gypsy restaurant cataloger, Janice Price reports on the centerpiece restaurant of King Street. Pele's is certainly no stranger to the readers of metrojacksonville, as there were literally hundreds glued to the screen watching comments and counter responses after the restaurant opened, but now we have the dispassionate details just for you after the Jump!

Published November 21, 2012 in Dining & Nightlife      20 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Pele's Wood Fire Restaurant
2665 Park St (corner of Park and King)
Jacksonville, FL 32204
(904) 232-8545
peleswoodfire.com

The first impression upon walking into Pele's Wood Fire Restaurant is warmth. The color scheme is black, white, and a rich red-orange, with high tables, tall booths, and a full bar with forty-nine draft beers and TV sets tuned to sports channels. There is free wifi and there are electrical outlets in the booths for the convenience of laptop-toting diners.

The modern Italian-American menu is varied and changes with the seasons; a good deal of the food is locally sourced. Influences range from Italy to New Jersey to Hawaii (which explains why it's named after a Polynesian fire goddess). Vegetarian and vegan options are available, as well as some unusual items like buffalo ragu. They make their own bread, pasta and mozzarella on-site, and one of their specialties is traditional Neapolitan-style pizza. You can see the full menu on their website. It's pretty extensive -- appetizers, pizza, pastas, sandwiches, salads, entrees, and some wicked-sounding desserts and coffees.

Pele's does not require reservations, but they are recommended for parties of eight or more, and it's a good idea to call ahead on weekends.

There's a fairly wide range of prices on the menu; lunch costs about $6 and up; dinner is around $14 and up; brunch starts at $8.



Hours and specials:

Mon-Wed: 11am to 10pm

Thu: 11am to 11pm

Fri-Sat: 11am to midnight

Sun: 11am to 10 pm
Brunch is served Sat & Sun until 2pm

Magnifico Monday is well drink and appetizer specials from 3pm to close.
Wednesday is Ladies' Day; drink and appetizer specials from 3pm to 9pm and live music from 6pm to 9pm.
Happy Hour is drink and appetizer specials from 3pm to 6:30

article by Janice Price







20 Comments

AntigoneStarr

November 29, 2012, 05:48:25 PM
I'm starting to get really annoyed with Pele's... every time I go in there, I get the worst seating (even after requesting a different table, seems they are capable of seating me directly behind the hostess stand and directly under the air vents or at the table right by the toilets/kitchen). Plenty of available tables when this happens. And the food has started to go a little downwards... pizza is still good. One pasta entree I had recently tasted... well, more like wet dog food than food meant for human consumption?

The first time I went, I had a great experience, loved it, everything was great. Now I no longer get decent service. The food is getting to be where I don't even want to pay for it because some of it tastes downright gross. I eat out a lot. I tip incredibly well. I don't look like a homeless person. So what's up with this? Any thoughts?

ben says

November 29, 2012, 05:54:55 PM
^ Bingo.

Personally, I don't like the new place. Gorgeous restaurant, great concept....but the food is mediocre and the prices are sky high. The pizza is decent, but it pales in comparison to what they make at RAM. The pastas are...well...gross. As for service, I've had the same thing happen to me. More than once. It's annoying. No idea why it happens, don't know if it's management, or the staff, or what....

MEGATRON

November 29, 2012, 06:20:20 PM
^ Bingo.

Personally, I don't like the new place. Gorgeous restaurant, great concept....but the food is mediocre and the prices are sky high. The pizza is decent, but it pales in comparison to what they make at RAM. The pastas are...well...gross. As for service, I've had the same thing happen to me. More than once. It's annoying. No idea why it happens, don't know if it's management, or the staff, or what....
Same here.  Discussed this same thing one someone else recently.  The service just seems off.  The front bar area is freezing cold because they did not separate the restaurant into two separate zones.  As a result, they keep the whole restaurant freezing because of the ovens.  Regardless, the food is too costly for the quality.

MusicMan

November 29, 2012, 08:29:57 PM
I am saddened and suprised, becaus I am a regular and still very much enjoy going. Went Wednesday. Had the Avondale Pizza. Yummy. Also the artichoke appetizer and a ceasar salad. It was all excellent. Our two friends had the pork sliders, a ceasar and the special cheese plate. They said it was all excellent.

The comments on pricing is strange: go on Monday (Happy Night!) or Wednesday (Ladies Night), when there are great deals all night. I don't think you can get much better than the $5 pizza and $3 local pints (Monday's), plus an extended Happy Hour with great drink prices on all types of drinks.

Whenever I've gone in they ask me where I want to sit. If a table is open they let me pick it, never been "steered" into a table or placed where I did not want to be. The AC is cold at times, blows onto the 4-top tables nearest the ovens.  Probably won't mind that next summer.  I am glad it is in our neighborhood and will keep on going 'cause I keep enjoying the place.

coredumped

November 29, 2012, 08:41:33 PM
there's a long thread on this place somewhere. basically the reviews aren't so good http://www.urbanspoon.com/m/r/44/1642765

tufsu1

November 29, 2012, 09:59:34 PM
and yet it made Florida Trend's Golden Spoon list

fieldafm

November 30, 2012, 06:47:35 AM
I go to Pele's almost every Monday ($5 cheese pizette, $3 slider and $3 Dukes is the best deal in town).  In fact, I've gone three times this week.  I've had one bad meal there, and they comped it and brought me a new dish that was prepared correctly with no questions asked. 

It sucks to hear so many negative experiences about the place b/c I have not had anywhere close to the same experience there.  In fact, I brought out of town family there last Wednesday and everyone had a phenomenal meal.

I will agree wholeheartedly though about the air conditioning. It really is a pain to deal with. 

tufsu1

November 30, 2012, 07:53:23 AM
+1 field

jaxeeyore

November 30, 2012, 09:08:44 AM
I think Carmine's Pie House, just up the street from Pele's, has much better food and service for a lower price.  :D

Tacachale

November 30, 2012, 09:12:31 AM
I've only been to Pele's once so far; the food was really good as was the service. And of course it's a beautiful restaurant.

fieldafm

November 30, 2012, 09:20:18 AM
Two other notes while I'm thinking about it.  I took my dad and the lady friend up there for Father's Day.  We all ordered a pizza each (the smaller one) along with some appetizers.  My pizza came out with crust that was a little darker than the other two pizzas.  I didn't mind it, but the waitress immediately gave me a new pizza without any signs of charred crust without even asking.

A few weeks ago, I was at Pele's on a Monday.  On Monday's they let you order one of those pork sliders for $3.  They usually are served 3 on a plate for $9.  I asked the server for bread, my cheese pizette, some wings and a slider.  She gave me the three slider dish.  I kindly said 'pardon me, I actually ordered just the one slider for $3 as your happy hour special'.  She said without hesitation, 'ok, no problem I'll only charge you $3'.   Since I like those sliders so much, I ate and paid for the whole thing.

Like I said, I've had one bad meal... it was replaced immediately.  I've had two instances where something was done 95% right that didn't even move my needle of dissatisfaction... and it was replaced immediately.  That's just not my defination of bad service, so it's odd to hear different experiences.   

MEGATRON

November 30, 2012, 09:26:52 AM
Wow, some of y'alls experiences have been very different than mine and I am pretty easy to please as a diner.  Last time we went, my wife and I pretty much wrote Pele's off because it took so long to get drinks (which has happened every single time we've been there) and her sandwich came out looking like a disheveled mess.  I would love to sit up in the bar area but it always too cold for her.

cline

November 30, 2012, 09:55:01 AM
I always sit at the bar and get my drinks promptly.  Never had any issues.  The food I've ordered has been good as well.  If I was at any restaurant and my food came out looking like a "dishelved mess" I would ask to speak to a manager.

AntigoneStarr

November 30, 2012, 10:20:21 AM
It just seems so strange to me that each time I've been back, the food and service has declined significantly from when I first went.

Perhaps I'll try sitting at the bar.

Do they make their own pasta, fresh? Could explain why it's so soft and chewy... impossible to get that type al dente.

MEGATRON

November 30, 2012, 10:30:52 AM
I always sit at the bar and get my drinks promptly.  Never had any issues.  The food I've ordered has been good as well.  If I was at any restaurant and my food came out looking like a "dishelved mess" I would ask to speak to a manager.
We've had to get the manager over on previous visits.  Like I said, the last visit was pretty much the last straw.  We just were not going to bother.

ben says

November 30, 2012, 10:47:03 AM
Do they make their own pasta, fresh? Could explain why it's so soft and chewy... impossible to get that type al dente.

Fresh pasta has a nice sound to it..."hey, fresh pasta, cool!", but i much prefer dried pasta cooked al dente. Sometimes fresh pasta works and is brilliant. Most of the time restaurants think just by virtue of selling it they're doing a great thing. I don't think Pele's succeeds at fresh pasta making....

PelesWoodFire

November 30, 2012, 04:21:53 PM
Thanks everyone for the very helpful feedback and constructive criticism. We also appreciate the kind words from those who've had a great experience with us.

Pele's strives for the utmost excellence both in service and food quality. If your experience is anything less than stellar, then we want to know about it to make it right as soon as possible.

Please don't hesitate to contact us directly at any time to discuss your concerns or issues. Our phone number is 904/232-8545 and our email for feedback (which goes straight to our owner and shared with us) is contact@peleswoodfire.com. We also encourage you to ask for us while you're in the restaurant should you need anything.

We value your business very much, and do hope that you'll give us another chance soon. Happy weekend to all!

Matt Tierney, Operating Partner
Chef Micah Windham, Executive Chef
Alex Davalos, Dining Room Manager

AntigoneStarr

November 30, 2012, 05:46:15 PM
Cool. I still want to go back. Haven't tried sitting at the bar yet.

ben says

November 30, 2012, 05:53:06 PM
Email sent.

funwithteeth

November 30, 2012, 06:05:39 PM
Cool. I still want to go back. Haven't tried sitting at the bar yet.
Never had bad service sitting at the bar...though, the last time I went, the food I was given was not what I ordered. Bartender was apologetic, allowed me to keep what came out, quickly put in a replacement order, AND let me have my next beer on the house. Terrific service.
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