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A Childhood Visit to Pizzeria Regina Triggered Something in Johnny Diamantopoulus

Throughout Classics Week, chefs who grew up in the Boston area are sharing fond memories of their childhood dining experiences. (Want to add yours? Email boston@eater.com.)

Pizzeria Regina
Pizzeria Regina
Katie Chudy for Eater

Johnny DiamantopoulosWhen asked about significant childhood dining memories, Johnny Diamantopoulos, co-owner of All Star Sandwich Bar and All Star Pizza Bar, says: "Going to Pizzeria Regina in the North End and getting a pizza in that environment. It’s been forever in mind. I can never get that exact day out of my mind. It triggered something with me."

The original North End location of the classic brick-oven pizzeria has been open since 1926, but nowadays, there are more than 20 locations, including outposts in New Hampshire and Connecticut. Previously, longtime supervisor Richie Zapata, who oversees the North End location and five others, told Eater: "We are constantly trying to improve and get more modern but also still trying to stay the same." He also noted that the recipe hasn't changed, although there are now more toppings. And more importantly, the oven hasn't changed. It was built in 1888, and it's serviced once a year, every Easter. "We have to take the front off," Zapata said, "and someone crawls to the back and repairs the bricks. It's a really small opening that they have to crawl through. It's crazy to watch."

Regina tends to pop up in Eater's Comedian Confidential column, where local native comedians talk about their favorite places to eat. Rob Delaney, for example, declared that the pizzeria's Giambotta pizza is his "favorite thing to eat in Boston," and he tends to visit "like, five times" if he's in the area.

Photo of Johnny Diamantopoulos: Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

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