Ex-Arizona Rattlers team president opens pizza & grilled cheese shop in Mesa

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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LJ’s Pizza was a Mesa institution, offering a popular all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for nearly four decades before closing in 2011.

LJ’s later reopened in a smaller, cafe-like structure behind its original location – sorry, no more buffet – and its former space on Main Street west of Stapley is home to another pizzeria.

The newcomer is Joey’s PSG. Joey is chef/owner Joey Windham (pictured below), and PSG stands for ‘‘pizza, soup and grilled cheese.’’


If Windham’s name sounds kinda familiar, it might be because the Northern California native first came to the Valley in 2011 when he was hired as team president of the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers.

His Rattlers tenure was quite successful. After finishing second in his inaugural season with the team, he helped the Rattlers to three straight AFL championships before joining the rival Los Angeles Kiss.

Now retired from the sports business and its grueling travel schedule, Windham – who describes himself as ‘‘a real Italian with 56 cousins‘‘ – is turning his longtime passion: food.


Torn between two concepts – an ’’authentic‘‘ New York-style pizzeria and a soup-and-grilled-cheese-sandwich shop – he decided to combine the two. Joey’s PSG was launched last month.

The menu features seven specialty pizzas in three sizes (plus a build-your-own option starting at $7.95), 17 gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches (seven with cheese only and 10 with meat, starting at $7), and several housemade desserts.

‘‘Artisan’’ has become an all but meaningless term in today’s food scene, so let’s just say Windham makes the pizza sauce from scratch every day along with the dough. He uses sliced (never grated) whole-milk mozzarella imported from Italy.


Joey’s PSG’s most popular menu items, according to Windham:

  • The Joey’s Special pizza (Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives, pictured above), his personal favorite;
  • The VP sandwich (pepper jack, cheddar, and muenster with wine Dijon mustard grilled on rye/pumpernickel swirl bread, pictured above with housemade chips), named for his wife’s initials;
  • The seven-pound carrot cake (shown below).


Joey’s PSG is still a work in progress. A liquor license is in the works, and an empty lot on the east side of the restaurant will be enclosed for a patio this fall.

Joey’s PSG is open 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday.

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