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Thin Crust Pizza - NY Style on the N Shore

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  • shimmyjimmy Sep 29, 2005 07:47 AM
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Here for a month on a project. You people call this pizza? Where can I get NY style thin crust pizza on the North Shore? Seems hopeless.

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  1. Polcari's on Rte 1 pretty good

    1 Reply
    1. re: Theresa

      My favorites are:
      Plum Tomatoes~Summit St. Peabody
      Toscana's~Bourbon St. Peabody

    2. I'm from Long Island and here are the places North of Boston that have come close to the style I want (in order of excellence):

      1) Santarpios (East Boston)
      2) Uncle Lou's House of Ribs (Revere)
      3) Pisa Pizza (Malden)
      4) Bacci's (Saugus and Wakefield)
      5) Caruso's (Melrose)
      6) Polcari's (Woburn, Saugus)

      I've also heard that Bianchi's in Revere and Monte's in Lynn are NY Style but haven't tried them.

      Stay faaaar away from any "House of PIzza". I believe it's Greek style pizza, which may be fine to those used to it but it's not going to keep a NYer happy.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Chris VR

        Ditto in all respects.

        Bacci's also offers NY-style calzones (the small half-circles in particular; the large is more like a stromboli, but with a lighter filling), which are a rara avis in these parts (for some reason I cannot fathom, in Boston people use a stromboli filling -- heavy on the mozzarella, so that it "erupts" through the cuts in the crust, like the eponymous volcano -- in calzones, which are supposed to be more ricotta-oriented). You can even see through the crust somtimes, it's that thin/delicate. Bacci's also properly slices its meatballs (as does DiPietro's in Malden, fairly near Pisa Pizza); beware the more common practice, popularized in Greek "houses of pizza", of confusing hamburger with meatball, both crumbled crap.

        1. re: Chris VR

          I'm from Brooklyn. Santarpio's SUCKS. PERIOD!!!

          1. re: lotsapasta

            How wonderful that we all have so many different places to choose from in order to meet our own individual tastes.

            What's your favorite place?

            1. re: Chris VR

              I've never had pizza to die for, but in the pretty good list : Sweet Tomatoes (recent)

              Pizza regina North end (20 years ago)
              Bertucci's (when they first opened
              also about 20 years ago)
              Blue Bistro (in Brighton, many years ago)
              I guess I'm an old(er) hound now

              1. re: lotsapasta

                Have you tried the Waterfront Cafe in the North End? You may be pleasantly surprised.

          2. re: Chris VR

            I am also from Long Island and on the constant search for NY pizza. Is there any around the Beverly area?

            1. re: svanderbilt

              Lynn might be worth the trip for you. I still haven't tried Monte's but that's where I'd try.

              1. re: svanderbilt

                I went back to my favorite LI pizza place in N Bellmore..it changed hands but its better than I remember......nothing like it on the N Shore however in Beverly there is Prinzis and Bertuccis. Try Luigis on Rantoul by the bridge, try The Firehouse in Salem. I like Delaney's in Gloucester and The Riverview in Ipswich. Not really NY style but I have lived in MA 30 years and I have forgotten how much I am suffering for lack of good pizza

                1. re: svanderbilt

                  If NY style is thin-crusted type, then I just read an article in the Globe about Sam and Joe's in Danvers. Pizza is their specialty. Have driven by but never been but the recs were good for the pizza only.

                  1. re: taxi

                    yes, saw that article too and you are right. very close to NYC style.

                2. re: Chris VR

                  Bianchi's is good - but their sauce leaves a lot (IMO) to be desired. Too much tomato paste. Never had Monte's pizza, but I was in there once & saw a small one that looked - well, like something I wouldn't order. But since I haven't tried it yet, I shouldn't comment.

                  I like Vinny's Pizza in Malden on Salem St. And my own, of course - I make really good pizza in my old faithful cast iron pan - which makes me extremely fussy about pizza I get out.

                  1. re: threedogs

                    Monte's is not even close to 'New York Style' pizza. the dough is machined rolled and most of the toppings are straight outta cans. but it is super yummy with am ice cold draught beer. it's also only available in one size. Monte's is it's own pizza and when I crave it, only the genuine article will do.

                    1. re: ScubaSteve

                      I haven't tried the Firehouse in Salem but have tried Engine house. It's pretty good. Monte's seems pretty scarey on thr outside which sometimes the best places are like that. I have tried those others in Beverly and its not like NY pizza. Very "doughy" and sauce stinks. I havent tried Delany's or the one in Malden. Will try. Just returned from LI and had yummy pizza. My favorites are Emilios and Branchianelli's. Love the thin crust!!!

                3. I'm never sure how "NY style" thin crust pizza differs from thin crust pizza available here, but I recommend Bianchi's on Revere Beach, strictly take out or sit on the sea wall on a nice day.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: chuck s

                    Actually, I would say that the more authentic Boston style pizzas (excluding emphatically all Greek-style pan pizzas) are somewhat *thinner* than NY-style. Boston pizza slices done that way can sometimes crack rather than curve when folded in the formerly ubiquitous NY manner.

                    Btw, do not laugh, but Papa Gino's has a much more credible pizza than many corner shops. And it's from an East Boston family going back in the business to the 1920s. It's the cream of the simple pizza chains available around here. Quality can vary franchise to franchise, but I have found it to be a dependable bet (pizza only, though) when faced with too many "houses of pizza".

                    1. re: Karl S.

                      ohh my God I am going to be sick. Papa Gino's is THE single most disgusting pizza. Maybe before it was a chain it was good - but now, give me my mamma celeste before I eat that mush.
                      Monte's in Lynn is delicious but not NY style. John's pizza on Chelsea Street in East Boston was the closest I have ever had to NY style. However, they were located almost directly across the street from Santarpios and from what I gather, have closed.

                      1. re: mb

                        I expect more replies like that, but I have reconsidered PG's in recent years. It may be the franchises and times I get there from time to time, but usually what I like is that the pizzas are thin, balanced between a not-sweet sauce and not too much cheese. They are cooked through. I would concede that their dough lacks sufficient flavor presence, but the texture is actually better than many others, shock of shocks. It's not that flabby (or, worse, fried, for Greek pizza) thing you often encounter elswhere.

                        The toppings are *not* stellar, but the only topping I get there if I am not getting plain is pepperoni, and PG's also uses a fairly dry pepperoni with more character than many corner shops employ these days. If I were to compare the busy topping combos, then I might agree with you, but when comparing pizzas, plain is the assumed basis for comparison.

                        1. re: Karl S.

                          Karl, I agree with you- if I have to eat at a chain pizza, Papa Gino's is my choice. The pepperoni is a bit too salty but the sauce is good- not too sweet, which is the kiss of pizza death for me.

                          1. re: Chris VR

                            You're not alone in your sentiment on Papa Gino's. It is a passable pie when Your-Town-Name-Here House of Pizza is your only option.

                            BK

                            1. re: Chris VR

                              The pepperoni's relative saltiness is a sign of its more intense cure that makes it drier (and therefor better) than crappier stuff. I sometimes wonder if they pay the $ for the good Margherita pepperoni (the kind I get, that is not packaged by air-dried), which, when you cook it, is rather salty.

                              You get about twice as much pepperoni per slice when you buy by the slice than buying a pie, so it's the slice purchases where you really get hit with that saltiness (which I like in the summer when I am sweatin' too much). Btw, PG's uses 15" pies for slices, and 14" pies for sale entire (you learn this when you see their very helpful nutritional info at their website, which is a little screwed up but I won't go into that). I started using PG's when I needed a reasonably reliable guide to calories for pizza as a treat, and that opened my eyes to considering it afresh.

                        2. re: Karl S.

                          papa ginos start in medford and arlington as PIECE 'O' PIZZA then it changed it's name

                      2. I can think of three places that come pretty close to New York-style pizza north of Boston:

                        Santarpio's in East Boston (Chelsea Street)
                        Highland Cafe in Malden (Highland Street)
                        The Paddock in Somerville (Pearl Street)

                        Out of the three, I tend to think The Paddock comes closest to your typical New York pizza. One other place you might want to check out is Cafe Italia in Central Sqare in East Boston. I have heard their pizzas rival Santarpio's, but they don't serve them on Saturday night, which is when I typically go there. I'm going to try to get there on a Sunday to try their pizzas soon. Let me know if you get there...

                        1. Monte's, Eastern Ave., Lynn
                          THIN crust. Has been there for at least 40 years...probably same decor, but the best pizza on the north shore for thin crust lovers.

                          1. As a former NYer,my definition of NY style pizza is the kind that's sold by the slice, actually has sauce in addition to cheese (not oozing pounds of cheese), with oil on the top and can be folded in half vertically. I'm not sure if that's what you're thinking of

                            If that's your definition, Bianchi's on Revere Beach and Polcari's in Saugus are the only two that come close (my conclusion after almost 30 years of trying). Lou's in Revere, as mentioned in another post, is pretty good, too - tried it as a result of a post here.

                            I am in a very small minority (perhaps of only 2 - my husband and myself) who not only thinks Santarpio's pizza bears not the remotest resemblance to NY pizza, but that the place, the service and the pizza sucks.It is, however, a thin crust pizza. Monte's in Lynn is tasty, but not NY style and the crust is more like a good frozen pizza.

                            Romano's in Marblehead makes a good pie - close in flavor and texture to my definition of NY style.

                            There was a place in Winthrop when I lived there years ago (Pizza Center) that also made a reasonable facsimile, but don't know if they still exist.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: JRL

                              You are not the only one's who think that Santarpio's sucks. I think it's crapola from start to finish. The biggest hoax in Boston. I would never , ever go back there.

                              1. re: lotsapasta

                                I also feel the same about Santarpio's - I think it sucks.

                                I think, like many places, they have a reputation from the past that continues today. The story I heard - years ago, their cook was "Fat's," who (sounded like a legend from the person who told me this) used to make hundreds of pizzas each day. He was an old time perfectionist - never tried the place when he was alive, so I can't compare.

                            2. Wow thanks. I guess its a different animal up here. The House of Pan Pizza is just too weird!!!

                              Went to Polcari's on RT1 for take out. Good enough! Does the bar ever get hopping?

                              1. If you're still in the area, Crusty's Pizza in the Salem Willows has great Italian Style pizza. It's a little hole in the wall on the boardwalk, but the locals love it there and most people comment on the fact that they haven't had NY-style, Italian style pizza in the area for a long long time!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Nancy

                                  Maybe I am in the minority but my favorite thin crust pizza (its probably not NY style) is Sam & Joe's on Water Street in Danversport. I don't eat pizza out very often and have tried many other places, but always go back there.

                                2. Definitely throw out any hope of getting real NY pizza here...even many places in NY don't have it. I was embarrassed that my Los Angeles-born wife even pointed out that the pizza I said was NY-style in Boston was not NY-style at all. She reminded me that the dough needs to be more dough-y and chewy and not bready or biscuity. There is no hope of finding Ray's or Original Ray's or Famous Original Ray's in Boston. Once you get over the depression, you'll find that Boston pizza is not bad on its own terms! Lots of the recommendations below are fine. Unfortunately, I have to agree that Santarpios is decent but overrated, and that the Papa Gino's in Davis Square single-handedly ruined my view of Boston pizza for several years when I first arrived.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: NYA Joe

                                    The Upper Crust chain of pizza restaurants puts out a good pie. Recently we had a calzone at the one in Lexington that was fabulous. A word about Santarpio's. I have eaten only veggie pies there. The best is peppers and garlic. Plain cheese is a good choice. Mushroom is not to be ordered. The shrooms are from a can and taste terrible. Highland Cafe in Malden is excellent. I like Bill Ashe's in Revere Beach. Others like Bianchi's. It is a never ending controversy. Try Haymarket Pizza in Haymarket Square for a cheap but delicious slice (cheese is the best choice).

                                    1. re: professor shorthair

                                      The Upper Crust is very, very good and friendly people, all around good choice. NY is NY, i judge pie differently depending on what the deal is; sometimes it's about sauce and cheese (if it's a little around the corner type place) other times when it's like upper crust or even santarpio's it's more about the heritage of pizza-- and the ingredients, and the crust-- and sauce yes, but not about the comparison to a ny slice. oranges and apples.

                                  2. I have to say the pizza I had recently at Hot Tomatoes moves into the top five.Second best pizza in the North End. IMHO

                                    1. OK here is my 2cts.

                                      All of you have a nice problem. I grew up in Sommerville and the North Shore my Dad had a pizza palor in Union Square 45 yrs. ago. I know great pizza made only with mozzarella cheese and with just the right amount of sauce. Dough made in the store and tossed by hand. My opion you don't put pineapple on pizza!

                                      I now live in Orange County California you couldn't get a good slice of pizza if your life depended on it. I wish I could sit at any pizza shop in Boston, East Boston, the North End even Papa Ginos eating pizza and complaining. I explain to people here that great pizza comes from the water and the years that pizza has been made in the shop. If you could open one Boston style pizza shop here you would make $1m just selling pizza only.

                                      Here is my choice; in no particular order,

                                      Santarpio's
                                      Caruso's
                                      Polcari's
                                      Pisa Pizza
                                      (and Francine's Pizza in Stoneham Square which closed some years ago.)

                                      Thanx for letting me vent.

                                      RedSox Fan in O.C.

                                      When I fly into Boston I first go to Santarpio's and then during my stay I'll eat at Pocarries

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: 67RedSox

                                        Good list! I used to love Francines, too. I lived too far from Francines to have the pizza hot when I got home, so we used to order is half cooked, and finish at home ( if we were not eating it ther)

                                        1. re: 67RedSox

                                          Agree with you 67Redsox fan in

                                          I don't know where Caruso's is, but Polcari/Regina, Santarpio's, and Pisa Pizza.

                                          Used to love Anna's on Revere Beach too.

                                          1. re: mcel215

                                            Caruso's is in Melrose.

                                            -----
                                            Caruso Pizza
                                            685 Main St, Melrose, MA 02176

                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              caruso's make a great square sicilian style as well

                                          2. re: 67RedSox

                                            This question is only useful for those of us in SoCal, but to 67RedSox, my dad (who now lives in SoCal) has complained for years about not finding good Boston type pizza here. I've since been to Boston many times to now know what he's looking for. I did really like a place in Eagle Rock called Casa Bianca, but the owners may be from NY, but it was excellent East Coast pizza and they make a lot of their own ingredients fresh. I live close to Orange County and thought by now you may have some recomendations for So Cal for pizza and subs. There used to be a place in Burbank that made east coast style subs, but I'm not sure if they are still there. I will try to find out and post it if I can find out. I'd love to know about any places that have great Boston style pizza anywhere from LA down to San Diego.

                                            1. re: 67RedSox

                                              Good for you!!! I love it. Santarpio's is awesome. Guess what you shouldn't do? Compare NY anything to anything else. Another thing about Santarpio's and people who order pizza. I'll tell you the best pie they have and it's garlic & anchovy. Get a glass of wine, and get the lamb and peppers and eat. Papa Gino's? Are you people for real?

                                              1. re: mgl

                                                no one here is saying papa ginos is great
                                                what they are saying is it is better than the HOUSE of (you name the town) , and it is the best of the large chain type
                                                it is not up there with the uppercrust (pun intended) pizza places but at the LOW end it can and does hold it's own nothing more nothing less

                                            2. I grew up in New York and I can assure you, you will not find NY-style pizza here. How I miss the ocean of grease and the ability to fold a slice over, and that chewy, nasty mozzarella made by Goodyear. There is a place in the Theater District called -- you guessed it -- New York Pizza -- that comes close. My pizza of choice is either Riverview in Ipswich and LaRosa's in Gloucester, but neither is NY style.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                I used to love grabbing a slice at New York Pizza at 2:00 in the morning, but never went any other time, as I figured that all pizza tastes good at 2:00 in the morning.

                                                Have you tried Bianchi's on Revere Beach? Their pizza is pretty close to New York-style.

                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                  Just heard Bianchi's opened up another in Lynn - haven't tried it yet. Oh - I also just got a flier from a local pizza joint - "New York Pizza" ... with bleu cheese! Wondering where the h@#$ they connected the dots to connected New York and bleu cheese!

                                                  1. re: threedogs

                                                    Did Bianchi's move to Lynn, or is this a second location?

                                                    1. re: hiddenboston

                                                      There has been a sign on Boston Street at the Lynn/Saugus border for months tantalizingly advertising the coming of a Bianchi's. Once opened, it wasn't a Bianchi's, but something called Effi's Pizza. Haven't had a chance to try it. Having grown up in Brooklyn in the days when every pizza place had great pizza, the search for anything comparable around these parts is long and usually unsatisfying. Bianchi's, Regina and a few others come close. It's not NY pizza, but Upper Crust is pretty good. If you want to try something delicious and different, it's worth the schlep down to Al Forno in Providence for their free form wood fired pizza.

                                              2. No one has mentioned Bostone Pizza yet? It is the real deal folks...big, foldable, oily, crisp new york style slices. Avoid the sicilian though..it's not very good. Don't know why they hype it so much.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                  I was going to mention Bostone Pizza, but it's not north of Boston, which is what the OP was asking. Tremendous slices, though--one of the best pizzas I've had in the Boston area this year. And I agree about the Sicilian there--not all that great, IMO.

                                                2. Having searched for passable pizza in the area for 13 years now, I have come to the conclusion that only the Upper Crust is any good at all. Sorry. I've tried to like the pizza here, I really have (which isn't to say that I don't eat it often just the same.)

                                                  1. The best thin crust (true thin crust) pizzas in the Boston area are:

                                                    Sweet Tomatoes -- Pesto Splash is too die for
                                                    Upper Crust
                                                    Penguin Pizza on Huntington - Butternut squash/goat cheese pizza is soooo good
                                                    Ilmundo on Huntington
                                                    Regina - although depends on location -- North End seems to be have the thinnest crust

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: smv11848

                                                      just actually found some really good pizza north of boston! Toody's in Wakefield just started making pizza and it was a surprising revelation! like Reginas on a good day. I am going to give it its own post so it'll be easier to find on the board..

                                                    2. Love Monte's pizza.

                                                      1. The game...my husband is screaming in the other room.

                                                        The crust it not like cardboard but crispier and thinner than greek pizza (yuck!) or Uno's. It almost has a buttery taste. My new favorites from home are vodka sauce and grandma pizza and i dont think Mass will ever get those right. I'll just have to fuel up when I go home. Oh, i didnt know they opened an upper crust in salem??? For some strange reason my husband breaks out in a rash when he eats pizza from there and pizzeria regina. Maybe they have some secrets they shared, hmmmm??

                                                        1. Went not that long ago to Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, which I thought makes an excellent pie. Assuming they're a reasonable model for "New York pizza," you simply won't find a parallel here in Boston.

                                                          The Grimaldi's standard cheese pie has a thin crust, puts what appears to be real-deal whole milk mozzarella directly down on the crust first, then adds a really nice tangy tomato sauce and fresh basil on top. No one in Boston makes pizza this way -- the sauce is always on the bottom around here, for starters.

                                                          But that's not to say you won't find good pizza here in Boston, of course. A site search will bring up several worthy options. It just won't be the same as a Grimaldi's one.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: bachslunch

                                                            The only Regina's I'll go to is in the North-end, because of their ovens. I don't think you'll find any one, sans UNO which I don't consider pizza, that puts the cheese down first, unless you request it.

                                                            1. re: treb

                                                              Santarpio's in East Boston puts the cheese down first with sauce on top.

                                                              1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                Wow, my memory must really be faulty -- thought I remembered the cheese being above the sauce at Santarpio's. Admittedly, it's been a couple years since I've gotten pizza there, which I liked very much at the time. Guess it's time for a return trip.

                                                            2. re: bachslunch

                                                              Grimaldi's is probably my favorite pizza in the Northeast (though Pepe's is right up there). The fresh cheese, delicious sauce, perfect crust, plus the fact that it's literally under the Brooklyn Bridge and has some real attitude from the staff all make for an amazing experience.

                                                              I still think the Paddock in Somerville might come closest to good NY-style pizza for me, though Bianchi's in Revere isn't bad either.

                                                              I'm outta here (off to Newport for the next couple of days). Happy New Year, everyone! Here's hoping for a great 2008 for all.

                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                Grimaldi's over Di Fara? I think if you've never had the squares at Di Fara you haven't lived.

                                                                Right now my favorite pizza in Boston, outside of Regina's, is Bostone. Whoops, I think I've already mentioned that in this long running thread.

                                                                1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                  I can see making a case for either Grimaldi's or Di Fara; if it weren't for the excess olive oil from the "watering can" on Di Fara's pizza, I might give it the nod over Grimaldi's. But Di Fara is still in my top 3 for NYC.

                                                                  Yeah, Bostone Pizza is right up there for me, too. Excellent NY-style slices there. BTW, have they finished with renovations?

                                                                  1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                    I likes me some oil.

                                                                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                      Ever try the anchovie and romano cheese pizza at the original Regina's? Yes they put extra oil olive on it, tastes unbelievable! I love seeing visitors taking napkins and drying off their slices before eating them. Rookies!

                                                                      1. re: treb

                                                                        no, but i will inevitably find myself there again & will be sure to try that. we also put olive oil on our pizza at home.