The Porter Square location of Stone Hearth Pizza is apparently the next in line for the chopping block: A Cambridge License Commission General Hearing agenda for next week indicates The Upper Crust intends to take over the pizzeria at 1782 Mass. Ave.
Stone Hearth Pizza Co., a local chain founded in Belmont in 2005, has been shuttering locations all year. Most recently, a Hingham store shuttered; Winchester and Needham also closed their doors this year. In April, longtime Stone Hearth executive chef Ivan Millan-Pulecio opened an independent restaurant called Hearth Pizzeria in the Needham storefront.
The original location still exists, as well as an Allston shop and the Cambridge location, for now. The company's Facebook and Twitter don't hint at any plans to close the Cambridge shop — or either of the other two — at the moment.
The Upper Crust also has a detailed history. The pizza chain was founded in 2001, also in the Boston area. The original Beacon Hill location is still among its eight restaurants, but the chain had 16 throughout New England and Washington, D.C. at one point, before it declared bankruptcy in 2012. That filing came after a series of labor violations, allegations of misused funds, and company infighting. New ownership took over in January 2013, and the company has been rebuilding, rebranding, and apparently intends to expand even more.
Manager Steve Leese, who is listed on the Cambridge agenda, and a partner bought four Upper Crust franchises during the bankruptcy auction. While the current Stone Hearth on Mass. Ave. serves beer and wine, Leese has apparently not applied for the license transfer, at least at this time, as the agenda indicates the proposed Upper Crust would have non-alcoholic beverages.
The Upper Crust's menu includes salads, a couple pasta dishes, and pizzas including topping combinations like The Uncommon, with pineapple, jalapeno, and bacon; and Geppetto's Roasted Veggie, with roasted eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, and garlic.
The proposed, 18-seat Upper Crust would extend the hours from Stone Hearth's current daily operation of 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.(10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday); the shop proposes opening from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday).
The hearing will take place this Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.
UPDATE: Upper Crust tweets that the new location is slated to open in the fall.