An iconic NYC slice shop has set its sights on Boston. Joe’s Pizza is planning to move into a sought-after Harvard Square space about to be vacated by another NYC-based shop, the dessert chain Milk Bar.
Joe’s Pizza is known for its traditional New York-style slices marked by thin, crisp crusts and classic, fuss-free toppings. The original Joe’s Pizza location opened in Greenwich Village in 1975, and the slice shop now counts five locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, plus two locations in Michigan and Florida. According to the Boston Globe, owner Joe Pozzuoli is hoping to open the Harvard Square shop in the next six months.
Pozzuoli, who was born in Boston, told the Globe that he intends to stay in Harvard Square “long term,” and acknowledged that his new address is “a special corner” of the neighborhood. That much is true: 3 Brattle Street was once home to popular gastropub Tory Row before it flipped into a combo fast-casual pizza shop and bakery occupied by chef Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar and D.C.-based chain &Pizza. (Long-running newsstand Crimson Corner also closed to make way for the new shop, which took over both storefronts.) The combination store was proposed after &Pizza ran into opposition from community members who were concerned about yet another pizza shop — and this one an out-of-town chain — opening in the neighborhood. &Pizza closed down three years later, in May 2022, while Milk Bar is shutting down on February 19.
It’s unclear if Joe’s Pizza has run into any similar opposition given that it, too, is another pizza shop opening in the neighborhood. Eater has reached out to Cambridge’s zoning and development board and Pozzuoli’s team for more information on the expansion.
Joe’s is among many NYC-based restaurants that have recently made their way to Boston. The swanky Italian restaurant group Major Food Group opened Contessa in the city in June 2021, followed by two outposts of its fast-casual chain Parm. Blue Ribbon sidled in with a three-part expansion starting in June 2022. Lauded Chinese restaurant Szechuan Mountain House is eyeing an expansion in Allston, NYC-based cookie chain Levain Bakery set up shop on Newbury Street last year, and quirky ice cream spot Taiyaki NYC added a Harvard Square location last fall following a successful Boston debut at the Seaport in 2019.