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Boston’s Insatiable Hunger for Pizza Continues Into 2020

Updates from the pizza scene, from a grilled pizza restaurant on the verge of opening to a new source for Detroit-style pizza — and lots more

T&B Pizza’s pineapple pizza: Tyrolean smoked ham, rum-soaked pineapple, and Jasper Hill Harbison cheese. A spritz on the side (Cocchi Americano, Italicus Rosolio Bergamot Liqueur, prosecco, lime).
Pizza from T&B Pizza in Somerville, one of 2019’s many newcomers — and there are lots more on deck for 2020
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Boston loves pizza: South Shore bar pizza, Neapolitan pizza, New Haven pizza, New York pizza, Detroit pizza, and more. 2019 was a busy time in the Boston-area pizza scene, and that’s going to continue into 2020. Here’s the rundown on pertinent pizza updates, recent and forthcoming.

Grilled Pizza From Rhode Island Hits Brookline This Weekend

Overhead shot of a very thin grilled pizza — with distinct grill lines throughout — topped with arugula, dots of fig jam, and thinly sliced prosciutto. It sits on a black table with a wooden perimeter over a tiled floor.
Prosciutto, fig, and arugula grilled pizza from Bar ‘Cino’s Newport, Rhode Island, location
Bar ‘Cino [Official Photo]

Bar ‘Cino opens on January 17 (1032 Beacon St., Brookline), sibling to an older — but barely older — restaurant by the same name in Newport, Rhode Island. (That one opened in mid-2019.) Both are part of an employee-owned restaurant group that’s also behind Papa Razzi in Massachusetts and some other Rhode Island restaurants.

While the full-service restaurant isn’t exclusively a pizzeria — it will also be serving pasta dishes, seafood, pasta dishes with seafood, and more — its most notable menu section is probably the thin-crust grilled pizzas, which are cut at the table with scissors. The style recalls that of the pizza at Providence’s famous Al Forno, opened by a couple RISD alums back in 1980 and still going strong. (Pizza enthusiasts can dig deeper into the anatomy of that pizza here.)

As the Al Forno story goes, the pizza style stemmed from a mistaken memory of a fish supplier, who was chatting with co-owner George Germon about a recent trip to Italy. The supplier reportedly raved about a grilled pizza he ate in Florence; turns out it was actually made in a wood-burning oven, but Germon decided to do some experimentation, cooking pizza dough directly on grill grates. The rest is history.

Bar ‘Cino’s opening menu will reportedly include a margherita-style pizza with fresh tomato, basil, and scallions; another topped with Rhode Island mushrooms, fontina, parmesan, grilled chicories (crunchy greens), herbs, and a grape reduction called saba; and more.

While the Boston area has quite a few styles of pizza to explore, this ultra-thin-crust, directly grilled pizza might be the only one of its kind in the area. (Know of another? Hit up the Eater Boston tipline. The recently closed Cambridge 1 might have been the closest in style.)

The Boston-Area Detroit-Style Pizza Scene Has Grown a Bit More

Overhead view of a rectangular pepperoni pizza, with two horizontal strips of tomato sauce across
Pepperoni Detroit-style pizza at Avenue Kitchen & Bar in Somerville
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater
One slice of thick-crust, Detroit-style pizza sits in a shallow white bowl. It’s garnished with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and arugula.
LongCross Bar and Kitchen’s Detroit deep-dish
LongCross Bar and Kitchen [Official Photo]

Detroit-style pizza is one of the lesser-known pizza styles with a Boston-area presence. (That presence is minimal; 2019 newcomer Avenue, located in Somerville’s Ball Square, is the nearest place that specializes in it, although some other local spots have dabbled in it in recent years. There’s also a Detroit-style pizza purveyor out in Swampscott, Volo Craft Pizza, and New York’s Emmy Squared, which also features this style, is eyeing potential Boston expansion.)

But first — what is Detroit-style pizza? Here’s a primer, but in short, it’s a rectangular pan pizza with a thick, almost Sicilian-style dough and a bit of an upside-down construction, with toppings hitting the crust first, followed by cheese (ideally Wisconsin brick cheese), followed by sauce drizzled across the top. Any Western or Upstate New Yorkers reading this may recognize the construction, which is similar to that of the pizzas at O’Scugnizzo Pizzeria in Utica, New York, open since 1914.

The Boston area just got one more option: LongCross Bar and Kitchen at Medford’s Station Landing (501 Fellsway), from Greg Coughlin, owner of Olde Magoun’s Saloon in Somerville and Blackmoor Bar and Kitchen in Charlestown. Open for dinner daily, LongCross is serving three “Detroit deep-dish” pizzas made in a brick oven. The “old-school pepperoni” option includes “lots” of pepperoni, San Marzano tomato sauce, and a provolone and mozzarella cheese blend. Those looking for something fancier might order the “street” pizza with finnochiona salami, soppressata, and pepperoni, along with tomato sauce, Parmesan, arugula, and balsamic fig glaze. The simplest cheese option includes Monterey, smoked mozzarella, and ricotta, as well as chile flakes and black pepper.

Tiffani Faison’s Empire Is About to Grow Beyond Fenway

Two of 2020’s anticipated pizza openings will be at soon-to-open food halls: Tenderoni’s at High Street Place (100 High St., downtown Boston) and Apizza at Hub Hall at the Hub on Causeway (80 Causeway St., West End, Boston). As previously reported, Tenderoni’s will be a 1970s-80s-style pizza-and-grinder shop from Fenway empire builder Tiffani Faison and her Big Heart Hospitality crew, while Apizza is coming from Mida’s Douglass Williams and will split its focus between Roman-style pizza and New Haven-style, albeit without the usual coal oven.

Nothing new to report on either front, except that High Street Place has shared a sneak peek at what Tenderoni’s pizza will look like. See above, and get ready for cheesy pan pies, including one topped with charred broccoli.

Other Anticipated Openings

A pizza at Stoked, featuring chopped up pepperoni (not round slices) and drizzled with Mike’s Hot Honey
Pepperoni pizza at Stoked in Brookline
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Those aren’t the only pizza openings on the horizon. Get the full 2020 rundown in Eater Boston’s 2020 openings guide, including wood-fired pizza at Bianca in Chestnut Hill from the O Ya/Hojoko team; wood-fired “pizza artigianale” at Da LaPosta in Boston’s Fort Point from Mario LaPosta, formerly pizzaiolo at the now-closed Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca; non-wood-fired pizza from the usually wood-fired Stoked Pizza at a new Harvard Square location, opening around summer 2020; and more.

Expansions

An oval vegan pizza from Double Zero, displayed on a white background and sliced into long, thin pieces
Vegan pizza from Double Zero, expanding to Boston in 2020
Double Zero [Official Photo]

Recently opened: Coal-fired local pizza chain Max & Leo’s expanded to Chelmsford; Charlestown restaurant Monument expanded to Logan Airport’s Terminal B, serving pizza and more; and local catering company Cini’s opened a West End storefront with late-night mini arancini, pizza, and calzones.

Still to come: Stoked (see above); vegan pizzeria Double Zero from global vegan restaurateur Matthew Kenney; and a Watertown location of New Haven’s famous (and now rapidly expanding) Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana. The aforementioned Emmy Squared could also expand here eventually from New York.

Closures

Grilled pizza and a glass of wine sit on a dark tabletop
Grilled pizza at Cambridge 1, now closed in Harvard Square
Cambridge 1/Official Site

Harvard Square’s Cambridge 1, which had been open nearly two decades, closed in late 2019 at 27 Church St. (Note: Gift cards can be redeemed at sister restaurant Miracle of Science near MIT.) Quincy pizzeria Angelo’s Coal Fired Pizza (1657 Hancock St.) also closed in late 2019, having been open for five years.

2019: A Year in Review (and Pizza)

T&B Pizza’s lobster and butter Roman-style pizza with shaved celery, asparagus, crème fraîche, and brown butter. A Negroni on the side (Ford’s Gin, Punt e Mes, Cynar, Dolin Blanc, orange twist).
A Roman-style pizza at T&B Pizza in Somerville
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Eater Boston ended 2019 with a survey of local food writers on a variety of food-related topics, and pizza made a solid showing. The North End’s Galleria Umberto was the site of one writer’s best meal of the year; another writer dubbed Somerville’s Union Square one of the hottest dining neighborhoods of the year, thanks in part to the opening of T&B Pizza; the aforementioned Avenue in Somerville got a nod as a best newcomer of the year; and several pizzerias popped up among the writers’ top standbys of the year — Union Park Pizza in the South End, Pastoral in Fort Point, Hot Box in Somerville, and Newtowne Grille in Cambridge.

Plus, the Eater Boston team gave a couple pizzas shout-outs in a roundup of favorite dishes of 2019 (Avenue and Galleria Umberto) and a couple more in a roundup of 2019 delivery and takeout standbys (Newtowne Grille and Armando’s).

Jumbo Slices in the Wild

Overhead view of a giant slice of cheese pizza on a paper plate on a wooden counter
One slice of cheese at Florina on Beacon Hill
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

This is not new news, merely an alert for those who — like the Eater Boston team until recently — were unaware: Florina Pizzeria, which opened a few years back on Beacon Hill (16 Derne St.), serves a solid New York-style slice, but not just any slice. A huge slice. Taking a page out of the Ernesto’s playbook, Florina cuts a slice that’s more like a quarter of a pizza.

Boston may never have DC-style jumbo slices, but that’s probably for the best. Slice shops like Ernesto’s and Florina can serve enormous slices without being tossed into the drunken, late-night-only category; they each serve slices worthy of sober, daytime eating.

Got any additional Boston-area pizza intel that should be on Eater Boston’s radar? The tipline is waiting to hear from you.

Pastoral

345 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210 617 345 0005 Visit Website

Kitchen

560 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02118 (617) 695-1250 Visit Website

Stoked Pizza

1632 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446 (617) 982-3473

Apizza

The Hub on Causeway, 80 Causeway St., Boston, MA 02114 Visit Website

High Street Place

100 High Street, , MA 02110 Visit Website

Double Zero

163 Newbury Street, , MA 02116 (857) 350-3405 Visit Website

North

122 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02903 (401) 421-1100 Visit Website

O Ya

9 East Street, , MA 02111 (617) 654-9900 Visit Website

The Hub on Causeway

100 Causeway Street, , MA 02114

Volo Craft Pizza

152 Humphrey St., Swampscott, MA 01907 Visit Website

Max & Leo's

325 Washington St, Newton, MA 02458 (617) 244-7200 Visit Website

Al Forno

577 South Water St., Providence, RI 02903 (401) 273-9760 Visit Website

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

199 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 Visit Website

T & B Pizza

251 Washington St., Somerville, MA 02143 Visit Website

Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca

11 Fan Pier Boulevard, Boston, MA 02210 (617) 421-4466 Visit Website

Hojoko

1271 Boylston Street, , MA 02215 (617) 670-0507 Visit Website

Galleria Umberto

289 Hanover Street, , MA 02113 (617) 227-5709 Visit Website

Saloon

255 Elm Street, , MA 02144 (617) 628-4444 Visit Website

Stoked Pizza Co. (Cambridge)

1611 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 945-0989 Visit Website

Empire

1 Marina Park Drive, , MA 02210 (617) 295-0001 Visit Website

Monument Restaurant & Tavern

251 Main Street, , MA 02129 (617) 337-5191 Visit Website

Park

378 Avenue Victoria, , QC H3Z 2N4 (514) 750-7534 Visit Website

Hot Box

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 (617) 284-9600 Visit Website

Church

69 Kilmarnock Street, Boston, MA 02215 617 236 7600 Visit Website

Papa Razzi

159 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116 (617) 536-9200 Visit Website

Blackmoor Bar and Kitchen

1 Chelsea Street, , MA 02129 (617) 580-8166 Visit Website

Avenue Kitchen & Bar

158 Boston Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144 (617) 764-0879 Visit Website

80 Causeway St

80 Causeway Street, , MA 02114

Armando's Pizza

163 Huron Avenue, , MA 02138 (617) 354-8275 Visit Website

Da LaPosta

825 Washington St., Newton, MA 02460

Tossed

800 Boylston Street #17, Boston, MA 02199 617 424 8677 Visit Website

Newtowne Grille

1945 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02140 (617) 661-0706 Visit Website

MIDA

782 Tremont Street, , MA 02118 (617) 936-3490 Visit Website

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