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What is Greek Pizza [split from Boston]

[ Note: This post was split from a discussion of Pizza in Boston at: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/40382... -- The Chowhound Team


Guys...I need a lesson. What is Greek pizza? I am a Bostonian, so if you want to use some specific examples I might know what you are talking about.

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  1. Step 1) Locate a "House of..." (town name)
    Step 2) Order a pizza
    Step 3) Profit. Ok, not really.

    7 Replies
    1. re: gini

      A perfect description. I would simply clarify that the name of the town comes first, as in [Town Name] House of Pizza. Sometimes a person's name (usually the name of the former owner, before he sold out in disgust because he couldn't raise his family on the meager profits the place generated) is substituted for the name of the town.

      1. re: Blumie

        "(usually the name of the former owner, before he sold out in disgust because he couldn't raise his family on the meager profits the place generated) is substituted for the name of the town."

        Then it would be called "Blumie's Famous Pizza"

        1. re: Blumie

          Note that in Cambridge, Cambridge House of Pizza is on Mass. Ave, and Mass. House of Pizza is on Cambridge Street. Just sayin'.

        2. re: gini

          If you REALLY want to hit Greek Pizza "Gold", look for a place that has the word "Spa" in the name.

          1. re: mwk

            What places do you have in mind? To me the term "spa" normally refers to a drug store that has, or used to have, a soda fountain, as was very common in New England until, perhaps, the '70s.

            1. re: mwk

              The two most frequently mentioned spas here on FT are Oxford and Montrose spas in Cambridge, which have fantastic and good sandwiches, respectively, but no pizza. Which pizza spas are you thinking of?

              1. re: DavisSquare

                I'm sure that the word is dying out, along with Tonic and "Cleansers", but when I lived in the South End, the pizza place on the corner of Worcester Sq. and Harrison was called the Harrison Spa. Also, there used to be a place near my house in Roslindale that had "Spa" in the name. I don't remember anymore the full name, but I always wondered how pizza places came to have that name. Both places had the classic version of "Greek" pizza...thick crust with giant air bubbles, shiny with grease from the pan, and a thick gooey load of cheese on top, which totally overwhelmed any of the other ingredients.

            1. re: hiddenboston

              thanks...so I assume people are talking about the crust?

              1. re: drewames03

                Yes, the crust, not the topings. The dough in these places are not hand tossed, but rather rolled out in a machine to fit the pans used for baking, resulting in a perfectly uniform crust. The crust also is thicker and has a different taste and consistency than the thin Italian-American-style crust that most of us prefer.

                1. re: Blumie

                  Like an extra greasy pizza hut crust.

                2. re: drewames03

                  Not always. MWK's explanation just above the Wiki link also describes it, IMO - thick crust, greasy, and so loaded down with goopy cheese you really don't taste anything else but bread and cheese.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I love Greek pizza. There were a few places in my hometown in PA that had great Greek pizza. Something about that cheesy, greasy, bready combination with just a touch of sauce that is perfect in my mind.

                    1. re: QueenB

                      :-) And I grew up in northern NJ, where a NY-style pizza was king, queen, and supreme ruler. There were a few Greek pizza places, IIRC (this is going back 20 years), but they were considered imposters.

                      I don't mind a bit of grease (although I don't want it pouring off!) but the slice has to be a foldable triangle which, with the amount of dough used in Greek pizzas precludes that, IMO. I don't have to have the thin crispy crust required by many other aficionados, but I do want a thin bendable crust, and the right amount of cheese that doesn't get pulled off with your first bite.

                      But that's what makes the world go round - those that love NY-Style and those that love Greek pizzas. :-)

              2. Medium-thickness shallow pan pizza, with an oiled crust that browns up on the bottom and sides. Tangy sauce, and thick layer of cheese that gets browned to the point that it toughens. This is part of the style. Larger pies often cut into small squares. Common in certain pockets of southern New England to the point that one place in the Greek neighborhood of Astoria, Queens used to have a place that advertised it as "New England-Style Pizza".

                I grew up with Country Pizza in Monroe, CT. The dough was hand-tossed, so rolled-out dough is not necessarily a characteristic. Haven't been back in well over a decade, but a post here said it had gone downhill.

                Two places outside New England that it can currently be found at are Villa Rose in Hollywood, FL (best ordered well-done with extra sauce to compensate for the well-doneness), and Pamela's in Astoria, Queens.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hatless

                  also romanos gyro on broadway and 32nd in astoria serves new england style (shallow pan) pizza.

                2. Greek pizza is the way to go. I'm from Boston, but all of my college friends are from out of state, so they didn't know what to make of the local House Of when they got here... meanwhile, I never wanted to order from the same place as them because I wanted my Greek-style pizza.

                  I have (poorly colored) pictures here: http://cavecibum.blogspot.com/2007/05...

                  1. Wikipedia has it right (about the crust etc) but for one qualification- maybe in the states it's referred to as New England style, but here in western Canada, the majority of pizza places serve this style, and we do often refer to it as "Greek style pizza." It's rare to get a proper thin-crust pizza from any non-chain, ma and pa pizza joint.

                    Here's a great example: http://sophiespizza.ca/

                    1. in Rhode Island, the greek pizza place was the local, inferior pizza we ordered from when we couldn't be bothered to drive the 10 miles to Pagliarini's. i distinctly remember the taste of cologne on a pepper and onion slice.
                      the worst pizza i had growing up. only the soft doughy pizza (you can't imagine how soft) they sold in up-state NY, from a pizza place that was the official university pizza producer, was worse. (guess which cheap-skate ivy league i went to?)

                      1. Greek Pizza is pizza that should be avoided at all costs.

                        There an old joke that goes like this:
                        "Two immigrants from Italy arrive in America. One says to the other 'I'm hungry, let's find a restaurant'.
                        Two immigrants from Greece arrive in America. One says to the other 'I'm hungry, let's open a restaurant.'"

                        New England is littered with Greek pizzarias. The best way I've found to identify them is if they have Gyros on the menu (and they pretty much all do), you know you've stepped into a the realm of greek pizza. The pizza itself is NEVER anything better than acceptable. The crust is usually soggy and lacks flavor. It's not thin but it's not thick enough to be deep dish. The cheese is usually greasy and gross. It's a shame there are so many terrible places to get pizza in this area. It's so easy to make good pizza.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: heWho

                          Greasiness on top is not at all part of what Greek pizza is about. No good Greek pie I've had was nearly as greasy as a classic NYC slice. If there were much oil up there, it would slosh around atop the impermeable, hardened layer of cheese.

                          1. re: hatless

                            Agreed. There should be some grease, but not a lot, and the pizza would taste just as good if you chose to blot off the grease.

                            And the crust should never be soggy. True, it's not crispy, nor does it fold the same way as NYC style, but soggy would imply that there is no stability there. The Greek pizzas I've had have been firm and chewy. The edge crust, actually, is usually very crispy from whatever cheese has baked into it and from being on the edge of the pan.

                            1. re: pamalamb

                              That's the best part, that edge crust where the cheese has baked in and onto it.

                        2. Had a wonderful Greek pizza while visiting Montreal recently. A Bonora (name of the place) Special: sausage, bacon, pepperoni, onions, green pepper, mushrooms, a small cow's production of cheese, and a thin layer of tangy oregano-flavoured sauce atop a thick yet not soggy almost breadlike crust. Heaven! 40 years in business and still cranking out the pies they are.

                          1. I used to order one from Rome Pizza in the South End on occassion. It wasn't great but it got the job done - I would order a bacon and spinach pie with half cheese (meaning they use half the amount of cheese they normally would on the pie). Always satisfying, but typically ordered after a few beers when I didn't want to walk far, drive, or wait long for delivery. Yeah, those are some major qualifiers.