Going into a dark tavern at the lunch hour for a meal may seem out of place during the work day, but if you like pizza, Toppingz is the place. Stay away from the counter and the bar stools, but sashay over to the left and grab a small table. The darkness seems to make the place cooler – no small treat during the summer on J Street.
Toppingz is unpretentious, pleasant and different, a neighborhood Cheers where everybody seems to know everybody else’s name. It’s unlike any other eatery downtown, and we’ve tried most of them. The pizzas are first-rate, and among the best anywhere. They are small pies – “personal” in the chi-chi vernacular – and come with choices of fillings for prices ranging from $5 to $7. That’s right: The top-of-the-line pie, 10” across with four fillings, is $7. My pepperoni, sausage and anchovie delight was $6, and was completely filling. I had to take a nap two hours later and gained two pounds. That’s exactly what pizza is supposed to do.
Toppingz has been known for pizza since its earlier days at a different location on K Street, but the burgers are a close second. The basic burger, the Capitol Burger, is big, and costs $5.50; add 50 cents for cheese and $1 for a turkey or veggie burger. They all come with tomato, lettuce, pickle, onions, mayo, mustard and ketchup, along with a side of fries or salad.
For those who can’t get enough Mexican food, try the Quesadilla, $5, with mozzarella and pico de gallo, or the big plate of nachos at $6.50. The Capitol Burrito, $5, has chicken or carne asada, and the filling Breakfast Burrito, also $5, which comes with ham, eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns and cheddar cheese.
In fact, for breakfast – more like brunch, since they open at 11 a.m. – the Breakfast Bowl offers three eggs, hash browns and any choice or three toppings, meat or vegetable.
Some healthy fare somehow sneaked in, too: There’s the garden salad at $3 with lettuce, bell peppers, onions, olives, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, and chicken for $1 extra. Meanwhile, the Caesar salad at $3.5 is a fine bargain, down to the romaine lettuce and shredded parmesan choice. The words that come to mind are modest and filling.
There are other choices on the menu, with the most pricey at $7. A half-dozen chicken strips with fries goes for $5, fish and chips is $6, 10 buffalo wings are $7 and four big egg rolls stuffed with beef or pork is $5. An intriguing dish called Jalapeno Poppers is $4, and french fries or onion rings are $3.
They have their specials to lure in those fickle J Street foodies: Monday is Corn Dog time, on Tuesday it’s tacos and Wednesday it’s time for a chicken wrap.
And we haven’t even mentioned the beer. Try a dark porter — it’s perfect with the pizza.
705 J Street Sacramento
Mon – Fri: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sat – Sun: Noon – 10 p.m.