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Jul 21, 2008 01:01 PM

Stone Hearth Pizza, Belmont 7/08

It's likely that this place has been extensively reported on CH. We finally ate there last night and we were really pleased. I do feel that any CH pizza discussion must begin with declaration of former/present allegiances. After 30 years of eating pizzas in new england, and going to all the 'famous and fabled', I am a confirmed Pizzeria Regina(PR), North End ONLY,fan. I lived In Rome in high school and PR pizza tastes like it did in rome. To me. Aside from ingredients and preparation, their excellence has been attributed to their WWII era oven, which has gathered a considerable amount of seasoning in its decades of work.

PR No.End is not open Sunday night so we tried Stone Hearth(SH) in Belmont Center, (next to TCBY.) The biggest single difference between the 2 venues- was the crust. When you take PR leftovers, the cardboard box has significant grease marks. The SH has none.Maybe PR lays down some olive oil before the sauce and toppings? SH defiitely does not. This crust difference makes for a flat bread- appearing crust that tastes clean, like the grilled and greaseless A1 pizza in Harvard Square.You can order whole wheat or white crusts. Both are thin, blistered, and charred at the edges.(we asked for well done.)The SH crust edges are thin and crunchy; PR's are thick and not crunchy. We tried 4 kinds of pizza:

The Bean: garlic oil, white bean, caramelized red onions, fresh mozarella, topped w/ spinach pesto salad. we added roasted peppers and wh wheat crust. Neat textural interplay and robust flavors. This was the only one of ours w/o toma. sauce.

Chicken pesto: We substituted roasted pepper for the chevre.this was the only pizza that looked leaden and lifeless. nothing special flavor wise. bell and evans chicken didn't elevate it for me. the problem w/ chicken on both PR and SH pies - is that the already cooked chicken that's put on the pies- becomes dry/overcooked when the pizza gets cooked.

Margherita w/ anchovies: tomato sauce was too skimpy ; needed more sauce to counter the saltiness of the anchovies. they brought me a requested side of sauce and it surprised me that it was literally only pureed plum tomatoes.Surprisingly, the ‘fresh mozarella’ did not make a flavor impression on me.The basil was missing.PR version is much better.

Homemade Sausage, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Peppers, cheese; our added mushrooms and pesto:
This was the Stunner. We'll happily dirve the 1/2 hour just for this one. The sausage has a real cayenne kick to it; plenty of toppings ;the balance of ingredients is perfect.

One caveat. Maybe it was because it was an hour before closing on a Sunday night, but 3 out of our 4 pizzas had mistakes(ingredients left out, put on wrong pies, not 'well done.')
The small blond waitress, while pleasant,was mentally somewhere else. She would put down the pizza and disappear, so it took awhile to get things fixed.

BTW, SH makes 'seasonal' and local sourcing a big part of their modus operandi. We'll definitely be back for that sausage pizza. hmmmmm, maybe tonight.....!!

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  1. Want to update this 2.5 yr old review. We have become confirmed Stone Hearth fans and , after our first visit, above, mistakes are no longer part of our experience there. We order regularly, both w/ well done whole wheat crust :
    ** sausage, caramelized onion etc and
    ** The Bean: to which we add tomato sauce, chevre and bacon.
    Edwin is our fav of their chefs; we are lucky to have schedule flexibility such that we plan visits for when he is there. Aside from the food, which always comes first, it makes us feel particularly happy to know that the owners and managers are good people who really care about making a positive environmental difference through their purchasing, producing and packaging practices. They are all very involved with day to day operations as well. The Belmont manager, Ellen, is a real gem of a neighborhood beacon and it's great to see her take care of everyone, guests and staff alike. Can't speak for any of their other locations, but we feel really lucky to have this one relatively nearby. It is on our go-to list along with Gargoyles, EVOO, Fuloon, La Verdad Taqueria, Sushi Island, Udipi Bhavan, and Kebab Factory (lunch buffet). While the Belmont Stone Hearth Pizza certainly doesn't lack for a solid client base (don't try to go on a Sat. nite) i hope you'll try it and like it.

    EVOO Restaurant
    350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143

    The Kebab Factory
    414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

    La Verdad
    1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

    Stone Hearth Pizza
    57 Leonard St, Belmont, MA 02478

    1 Reply
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      Has anyone been to both the Cambridge and Belmont locations? Haven enjoyed a couple good salads at the Cambridge Stone Hearth, but the pizzas have been so-so at best.

    2. Just read Stone Hearth is coming to Winchester!

      9 Replies
      1. re: phonelady

        all riiiiiight!!!! thnx so much for the news!

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          Thanks for reminding me! My $30 discount certificate (purchased for $15) expires in about 10 days, going for the Sausage, Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Pizza tonight and whatever else we can think of to get to the $30 certificate!

          Red Pepper
          122 White St, Haverhill, MA 01830

            1. re: bakerboyz

              that's our very fav one. I think that sausage is quite extraordinary,what w/ the cumin and heat kick! i do think their pizzas are much better well done. Was yours good?

          1. re: phonelady

            Don't hate me if I'm wrong - but I think there is one coming to Brighton also. I shop at the Star Market on Western Ave a lot. Don't remember the name of the cross street but at the second light after the Harvard Business School - if you're going towards Watertown - there's a building that's been empty for years. It's under construction now and wrapped in plastic but I swear there was a "Stone House Pizza Coming Soon!" sign a couple weeks ago.

            1. re: pasuga

              yes, you are right. this has been in the works for awhile now. hopefully lucky you!

              1. re: pasuga

                That's the intersection of North Harvard and Western Ave in Allston, aka Barry's Corner. (Who Barry was, I have no idea.) The fact that Stone Hearth was finally able to get permission to open there was a huge victory over the NIMBYlicious Allston Civic Association, which for months argued with a straight face that it would be better for that corner to remain vacant and empty than allow a local business to provide a service to the neighborhood. They claimed it was because they feared college students were going to get ripped on cheap beer there (highly unlikely, especially given the fact that Allston's drunk college kids get that way mostly at unregulated basement parties), but it really was mostly about the ACA's long-running feud with Harvard, which owns the land the pizzeria sits on.

                A block down Western from that, there's going to be a new retail shop for SwissBakers, home of the killer pretzel rolls. I'm really glad to finally be seeing some development around that corner, which has been dying ever since WGBH pulled up stakes for Brighton.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  Sorry about my mistake - I get the Brighton/Allston borders confused. Great news about SwissBakers - thanks! And that's very interesting about the politics. I'm afraid I don't know your acronyms - what do NIMBYlicious and ACA stand for?

                  1. re: pasuga

                    ACA = Allston Civic Association
                    NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard

            2. Hey oc, do you ever get the pizza as takeout? If so, how does it hold up? I really like their pizza, but would probably get it to go and heat up my pizza stone.

              Even the plain cheese is delicious because they use cheese with a tang. Maybe some asiago? My veggie son loves that white bean spread pizza with arugula salad.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bear

                bear, well you know i agree with you! But i don't get pizza as takeout ever because i feel it has to be eaten fresh out of the oven. of course i have reheated leftover stonehearth but i've never had luck doing that w/ any pizza.sorry. but maybe your stone will do the trick.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  I usually get their pizza (cheeseburger, for the most part) to go and drive about 10-15 minutes to get home with it. It is still pretty good at that point, and also reheats well the next day. The bottom stays crisp, and I like the toppings better done anyway.

                  1. re: fantundo

                    Thanks. Sounds like I should go for it.