"El Paso needed pizza by the slice," says Melissa Maese, co-owner of the Pizza Joint. "Whether it's for late night, after hours, or the lunch time crowd, people needed a place where they could get this experience."

Maese, a 2007 UTEP graduate, and her business partner Jeanette Turner decided to open a heartwarming spot where tomato sauce, mozzarella and plenty of fresh, sliced meat could fall together in way that reflected their free-spirited personalities. The result? Vintage wine barrel tables, a bright color palette, open mic nights on Wednesdays, and an eclectic, friendly vibe.

"We get everyone here from students to business people, party crowds, poets and families" Maese added. The Pizza Joint offers 10-inch slices for under $4 and whole pies for under $25.

2900 N. Mesa, 915-533-4066, Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-midnight, Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m.

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