Ali Mahmoud recently opened his own Jo-Jo’s Pizza On Campus at 2645 W. Bancroft St. in the newly renovated plaza that also houses Arnie’s Toledo and Sunrise Skillet.
“This is a great location and we have been doing well since we opened in May. I anticipate that we will be even busier once classes begin and students return to the University of Toledo” he said. “I learned about this place as the owner of the plaza and neighboring Arnie’s Eating & Drinking Saloon, Singh Grewal, is a long-time family friend. I thought this would be a great location for my restaurant,” Mahmoud said. “And, interestingly, this is the same location of the former bar, Charlie’s Blind Pig, that my father owned over 30 years ago before he purchased Jo-Jo’s, which makes this an even more special place for me. I feel like we have come full circle.”
The pick-up/delivery pizza restaurant offers a full menu of thin and thick crust standard and specialty pizzas, eight-inch sub sandwiches, wings, salads, appetizers, and calzones. As at the other Jo-Jo’s locations, it’s half-off pizza prices on Monday and Wednesdays. Unlike the other Jo-Jo’s Pizzerias, the On Campus hours are Sunday through Thursday from 4 pm to 1 am and Friday and Saturday from 4 pm to 3 am. According to Mahmoud, there is limited seating for customers who choose to eat in, as well. “However, this is a customer-friendly restaurant. I encourage my customers to sign the entrance wall, to feel at home here and have fun coming back in a few years to see their name on the wall,” he said.
“I love having my own restaurant,” Mahmoud offered. “I have grown up working at my father’s Jo-Jo’s Pizzeria for over 15 years and I love this business. I know it well and it is exciting to have a business of my own.”
Mahmoud credits his father, Abe Mahmoud, with instilling him with an entrepreneurial spirit, a strong work ethic, and a love for the pizza business. “My father bought a Jo-Jo’s franchise and opened his first location in Mayberry Village in 2002. I learned this business working with him,” he emphasized.
Jo-Jo’s Original Pizzeria was started in 1957 by Marie and Joseph Hashim, who began the family tradition of making all of the breads, pizza crusts, sauces, lasagna, and many other menu items in-house, a tradition that continues at the eateries.