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Pizza North of Boston . . . Cheddar Cheese?

Many pizzerias in New England, but especially north of Boston, like to put cheddar cheese into the mix (for color I assume).

This seems to be a New England tradition according to my brother-in-law who has cooked just outside Boston for many years, though I don’t know why. Is it for the color or is cheddar cheese cheaper than traditional mozzarella?

I live in New Hampshire and must admit I cannot stand tasting cheddar in my pizza.

I’ll close this by asking if there are any decent pizza places near Portsmouth or Kittery?

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  1. I have seen plenty of places in Vermont use a blend with cheddar. I'm not sure why, but is not very good. Most of the places also shred their pizza into little pellets which makes for a very poor melt (doesn't allow for those nice long strands when you take a bite). Overall, I have found the pizza in Vermont to be among the worst anywhere with only a few exceptions. I think manyt of them have their ovens set at 350 degrees as if they were making a bundt cake ! Sorry I can't help with Portsmouth or Kittery.

    10 Replies
    1. re: TonyO

      Our local paper (in SW VT) had an article where the local pizza joint "proudly" makes their pizzas with Vermont cheddar.

      I haven't had decent pizza since I've lived here. I would kill for a Papa Gino's pizza, if that is any indication of the quality of pizza in this neck of the woods.

      1. re: KnittingShaker

        That's pretty funny. We've lived in SW VT for a few years now and just the other day, my husband and I were saying the same thing about wishing we had bad Papa Gino's pizza over the really bad pizza around here.

        Just wondering which local pizza joint you are referring to. Gimme Pizza in No. Benn?

        1. re: dukegirl

          I believe (but don't quote me)it was Bennington House of Pizza on Main St. The article was in the Banner last year.

          If you have found decent pizza anywhere in the Greater Bennington area, please please please share. I'm fairly depserate.

          1. re: KnittingShaker

            Nope, sorry. We either get ours from Benn. House (didn't detect the cheddar taste...hmmmm) or from, gaaah, Price Chopper. When we lived in No. Benn, we'd get it from Gimme Pizza, as we could walk there, but it's pricey and not really that much better. They do have a more eclectic selection, though.

            Oh, and when we don't mind the 30 minute drive, we'll go down to Hot Tomatoes in Williamstown. That's really good pizza.

            1. re: dukegirl

              Don't know if this is helpful or not, but I discovered (happily) that there appears to be a Papa Gino's in North Adams.

            2. re: KnittingShaker

              Well you'll think I've been drinking, which I do when I go there. Just over the Vt. border is my good friend John Stoate's The Man of Kent on Rte. 7 in Hoosick, N.Y. They makes a terrific 12-14" bar pie for dining in or take-out. This is a real British Pub which means It's also very kid-friendly before 8pm. They have a terrific selection of beers & ales. John, being a wine-lover, has a wide selection of the grape, as well. Hell, you can even sit at the bar with a pot of tea if you wish.

              1. re: Harp00n

                I go to the Man of Kent on a fairly regular basis, and I don't recall pizza on the menu nor do I recall anyone eating pizza there. I'll have to check it out.

                I have however, ordered a pot of tea at the bar. Several times.

                1. re: KnittingShaker

                  Trust me on this one KS, I've been going there for close to twenty years, it is on the menu. They serve pizza. Understand, we're talking a more than decent bar pie not a super neopolitan thin crust dream. :-)

                  BTW, dukegirl's right about the quality of Hot Tomatoes' Pies. It's also closer,
                  if you're coming Rte.7S, than going to Papa Gino's (shudder) in N.Adams.

                  1. re: Harp00n

                    I'm afraid to send my husband to go pick up pizza at Man of Kent because I don't think he'd come home. =)

                    1. re: dukegirl

                      Heh, heh, John Stoate lives right next door to MOK but recently bought an additional house in North Hoosick. I told him that I'd make him a deal; I'd buy his current house and he'd have to move to the new one and promise to keep running MOK for at least another 8 to 10 years. I would then, always be home. Talk about a middle-aged man's pornographic dream! :-)

      2. I fine example of taking the whole "buy Vermont 1st" slogan a bit too far. I will but locally but only when it makes sense.

        1. You need to find an Italian pizzaria - most likely if your pizza has cheddar cheese, its a Greek place.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LStaff

            Ummm, thanks.

            In the close to five years I've lived out here I've only found Greek pizza. If anyone can steer me to an Italian pizzaria anywhere in SW Vermont/Northern Berkshires, I'd be grateful (and hugely surprised).

            1. re: KnittingShaker

              Grand slam in Manchester is a good NYC style Dominican pizza place, Depot 62 in Manchester is a Turkish place ( I think, I didn't verify that) has small fancy gormet pies. There is so little difference between American Mozzarella and cheap cheddar, that I can't swear that these places don't use some cheddar.

              1. re: mr breadpuddin

                Also, it's not the NORTHERN Berkshires, but the East Side Cafe in Pittsfield has the best Pizza I have ever had outside of Boston or NYC.

          2. I worked for a Greek place all through high school and college summers (in NH) and our blend was half cheddar, half provolone. I definitely second the Greek-cheddar connection in NH- so if you're not into the cheddar, look for a place that doesn't have "House of" in the name.

            (I'll admit that I always really liked the pizza there, and still do- I guess it's about appreciating it for itself- a little cheddar, lots of oregano in the sauce, a little feta on top, medium-thick crust... it just isn't an Italian pie).

            1. For Portsmouth, I'm fond of the pizza in the basement of the Gaslight, downtown Portsmouth. To the best of my knowledge they don't use cheddar on their pies.

              1. Thank you for the replies.

                Yes, we do have a large Greek population (Dover) and I guess that connection must hold true. There was one place, though, that claimed to be "Italian style" yet still put cheddar in the mix. Oh well, they must be trying to emulate the others.

                We have tried Gaslight in Portsmouth and thought it was good.

                We have also tried the Flatbread Pizza Co (both in Portmouth and Burlington) and liked that, but it really is sort of unique in style.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bewley

                  Try Via Via in Hampton:

                  Via Via III
                  Italian & Pizza
                  Ocean Boulevard

                  Don't know if they are seasonal or not, but I love their sister place in Newport RI.

                  Was there over the weekend, and had two delivered to our hotel. One to bring home, we had a fridge in our room.

                  1. re: bewley

                    I assume by Burlington, you mean Massachusetts? A couple miles up 3A in Billerica is a place called Strombolis, which is one of my favorite pizza places. Similar style to the Gaslight.

                  2. In Portsmouth I would get Flatbread, very thin crust. Just don't go too artsy crafty, as that is kind of their theme.

                    1. Bewley, I love cheddar (just drove to Weston, VT and bought a block of it that's the size of breadbox) and I love pizza, but I don't love cheddar on my pizza.

                      If you don't mind driving south a bit, Tripoli pizza has a place right next to Markey's at the junction of 286 and 1A at Seabrook Beach. You can get a slice or a whole pie, plus a small selection of bread/pastry too. They make the slices to order which is neat, so you can ask them for a ton of cheese, none at all, an end piece, etc.

                      1. You might want to check out Savario's on State Street in Portsmouth.


                        1. Hey, I'm from the Trenton, NJ, area and went to school at Dartmouth. For years, I pined for good pizza (the favorite pizza place in Hanover served ok pies, but not the traditional thin crust or sicilian slices I was used to). In fact, when I asked for Sicilian pizza, I got mainly blank stares. Finally, my senior year, a New York/Philly/Trenton-style pizza place came to town. Ramunto's is still in Hanover, and I think you won't find any cheddar on their pizza. It's not that close to Portsmouth though. Caveat--I think it may be a chain at this point, so I can't vouch for their quality maintenance. It's been years since I've been there. But I remember viewing it as a taste of home. On the other hand, there may be more locations closer to you. Would be curious to hear what you think of it if you go...

                          1. There are a few Ramunto's. I have found them to have a decent pie for a reasonable price.