John Ordway’s customers from central Jersey always would ask when the Pennsylvania businessman would bring his organic thin-crust pizza to this area.
That time is now, as he looks to open a Jules Thin Crust restaurant, on Witherspoon Street, in a location now home to a Subway franchise. Plans were filed with the municipal planning office last week.
In a phone interview, he said Tuesday that he had been eyeing Princeton “for years,” as he enters a competitive market for the hearts and stomachs of Princetonians. Witherspoon Street alone is filled with restaurants and places to eat, but Mr. Ordway is not backing down.
“Competition is good for everyone,” said Mr. Ordway, who is looking to open in the April/May time frame.
For a year, Mr. Ordway studied pizza and came up with a business model that he said leaves customers walking out feeling “satisfied and content rather than full and bloated.”
He and his wife, Jan, began in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and have expanded over the past 10 years. There are two locations in California, six in Pennsylvania and one in Cherry Hill.
“Jules was created so that everybody (not just parents) would have a great place for a quick and healthy meal. And pizza is everybody’s favorite,” reads the company’s website. The business was named after one of the Ordways’ daughters, Julia, whose nickname is Jules.
Mr. Ordway is a believer in the farm-to-table movement, where restaurateurs seek to source what they’re cooking with as locally as possible. For instance, he gets goat cheese from a Mennonite farmer in Lancaster County and honey from a beekeeper in Bucks County.
“We practice what we preach,” he said.
Menus include a gluten-free option, with lots of variety thrown in. One of the vegetable pizzas comes with brie, sliced pears, toasted almonds, rosemary and mozzarella. Or for meat-lovers, there’s a pizza that comes with pulled pork with barbecue sauce, scallions, red onions and mozzarella.
Jules Thin Crust will replace Subway, the second of its kind to close in Princeton. A Subway on Nassau Street closed last year after a brief competition with local favorite Hoagie Haven. It was not clear if a franchise would seek to open in a different part of town or if it will abandon the Princeton market. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment.