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Is there really, a good place for pizza in Manchester NH?

We are looking for a puffy, crispy perfectly cooked pizza. Not lots of dough, just enough to have a little crispy and chewy texture. Then the perfect original pizza topping, pepperoni & cheese. Why is this so difficult to find? Had heard great things about Alley Cat, and did try it, but something in their ingredients just never sat well with my husband or myself. I got spoiled living in RI, where there was terrific pizza and spinach pies (can not find them around NH at all) on every corner. Some nights you just need the smell, taste and texture of the perfect pie. Not a hot greasy mess, which is what we have found on numerous occassions. We ended up eating Luisa's often, but it isn't exactly what we were looking for, it's just OK.

Any suggestions for a family owned local pizza place will be welcome. This would be for takeout, not sit down, like the 900 degrees or Portland Pie Company (though they are both very good).

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  1. The short answer? No.

    I understand where you are coming from...I grew up near New Haven and cannot find pizza here that compares. What do you think about the sauce? I find it too sweet. I think if the sauce could be better I might actually be able to find something that I could eat. At this point I would prefer to drive the hour and a half to Wilmington, VT to eat at Zuppardi's from time to time.

      1. re: whs

        Ha, my infamous Italian food in NH post! It's been a long time since I have eaten out in Manchester. I think I'm going to head up that way soon to try some slices of pizza. You've gotten me curious about Johnny Troy's now.

        1. re: solargarlic

          Have not been back in a long time...hope you can bring us up to date.

        2. re: whs

          So I went to Johnny Troy's today...I'd say it was mezza mezz'. But still better than other pizza I've had in NH. Here's the deal; you may already know I grew up with and love New Haven pizza, so I try not to find something that compares to that, I just try and find some kind of pizza that is simple and well made. Most pizza around NH I have found to have a sauce that is too sweet and a crust that is too big and undercooked (or at least not charred). Johnny Troy's at least has the sauce and crust going in the right direction (for me). The sauce I found to have a bit too much oregano (kind of pointless to me, good pizza doesn't need it) but at least was not sweet. I'll take their sauce over any other of the pizza places I've tried. Unfortunately, I didn't get a fair taste of the crust; we ordered a 2 slice special, and got slices of Sicilian style (thick, square pan). The crust on that was still pretty good though, crispy and good flavor, but I'm not convinced they make it homemade. I tried to get a look at a thin pie, and it looked like they don't leave much on the pie in the way of crust. It looked to be pretty well cooked...not charred though. Maybe closer to a NY-style pie? Also, we got a pepperoni slice, and yes, the pepperoni comes diced. I could take it either way on a pizza...the dice seemed to be less greasy though.

          The arangini (sic) were not so good though. I have made arancini at home, had them in to-go places like Galleria Umberto and Liuzzi's, and even had them in Rome and Sicily. JT's missed the bar completely. Which is too bad, because I thought it was really cool that they even offered them on the menu. When the arancino arrives, you get one rice ball on top of a "meat sauce". I put that in quotes because it seems to be what they tried to make, but it was really just their tomato sauce with cooked ground beef stirred in. Anyway...the arancino was at least crispy and pretty. Once I cut into it and got a look and a whiff of the inside I knew it was not the real deal. Deep breath here...it was made with WHITE RICE. Not a saffron risotto, not even a PLAIN risotto. Carolina white rice boiled with butter. And a little bit of cheese stuffed in the middle. We cut it all up, and since we were hungry, we stirred it up in the sauce and ate it.

          I wouldn't make a special trip to JT's, but if I was in the area and needed to stop for a bite, or pick up something to go, I wouldn't mind spending my money there again. If I compare it to New Haven pizza, it was pretty lousy. Compared to stuff I've had around here...the best pizza so far.

          1. re: solargarlic

            SOLAR--- saw this string, just recently. I, too, went to Johnny Troy's, and not realizing that the lunch special was Sicilian style, was underwhelmed...That was about a week ago... Returned today - ordered the "regualr Pizza" (What we used to refer to aas Neopolitan--- round)... Small cheese- nothing else--- asked him to "Burn it a little"--- figuring I need to give a guy up here permission to attempt to do it right. I found it to be quit good--- thin, charred, crispy, yet somewhat pliable crust--- topped nicely with Suce and cheese, practically to the edge... The crust was "Plain Flour" on the bottom --- as opposed to some pizzas which are "Lubed" with corn meal--- I don't prefer the corn meal- If you've compared Santarpio's with Regina--- you understand where I'm coming from. so that was another plus for this pie. Lastly - the edge of the crust was also relatively thin- as opposed to the fat steering wheel edge which typifies most of the local pies.. My Bro-in Law is from New Haven - I'm from NY & Phily.. and I've had Pizza in all "usual joints" in New Haven & NY --- The pizza I had today was quite good. PS: There's now a Regina's in the Mall of New Hampshire. And I've even gotten a 'Decent Slice" at Nonni's , in Concord NH... Outside of that--- nada...

            1. re: raff

              Good to know about the regular pies, at least if I'm up that way I can pick one up and burn it at home when I reheat it ;).

              1. re: solargarlic

                Solar what I do when i want a "char" is to place it on my oven pizza stone (which is always on the bottom of my oven 24/7/265) and I coat the stone with a small amount of cornmeal and place the oven on 500 degrees... after the oven heats up I slide the pizza on the hot stone on the oven bottom and let it sit there until I get the desired effect. It works like a charm

                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                  I agree 100%...my stone is also always in the oven (started by accident, then I realized it was a good idea). I do find that for one slice, popping it in the toaster oven right on the rack works really well.

                  Lucky for me, I just made us some great pizza on the stone and the cast iron skillet...so I have little desire to go buy pizza that I need to burn lol ;).

                  Thanks!

                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                    If you're doing this with a whole pie, don't forget to ask for it "no cut" - that way, when it's on the stone in the oven, the cheese / oil doesn't "leak" thru the slices that are on the pizza when they cut it. Learned that trick MANY years ago when ordering takeout from Santarpio's & reheating it when I got home - it makes the bottom more evenly crisp when reheating with no cut too.

                    1. re: southie_chick

                      That is exactly what I do! lol. I always ask for my pizza to be uncut, I explain that I want to be able to have the slices whatever size I want. See great minds think alike.

                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                        Awwwwwww, thanks for putting me in the same league as you gryphonskeeper - I'm honored!
                        As for the size of the slice, that reminded me of the old joke about the blonde who wanted her pizza cut into 6 slices - 'cause 8 slices was too many! ; )

                        1. re: southie_chick

                          Want a huge laugh Southie? I had a friend that was so dumb... she had a few friends over (myself included) and offered to make pasta.. and when she realized she only had one box, she said... "Oh don't worry, I will break it in half, it makes twice as much!"

                          1. re: gryphonskeeper

                            O!M!G! gryphonskeeper - it sounds like my sister cooking dinner (or my mom & her "infamous" lasagne soup fiasco)! Hope you didn't have to eat it!

                            1. re: southie_chick

                              lol. no way! She was a worse cook than she was a mathematician!

                2. re: raff

                  Had an anchovy, capers and garlic pizza at Polcari's in Woburn recently. Great crust, but insanely salty. Mmmmm.

            2. I've tried several in Manch and still go back to Pizza Express on Maple/Valley. I'm not a pizza guru but there are many (including alley cat) that I just don't like. They always use fresh ingredients and one pet peeve of mine that many do, seems they throw the toppings on at the last minute - almost like they forgot. Not with Pizza Express, toppings are incorporated within the pizza. Their salads and subs are fantastic. We are doing a couple weeks of very low carb so their grilled chix salad or steak tip salad is what I've been enjoying. Perfectly cooked grilled chix, fresh off the grill, fresh crisp salad ingred. If your in the mood for a roll up - best around! I own a small business close by and order often from them, but will try others on occasion to compare. I will order pizza for my business's customers and they'll slice it 16 rather then 8. I think they are awesome!

              4 Replies
              1. re: lexpatti

                lexpatti, we were shopping at Spice Center in the same strip mall yesterday--Pizza Express doesn't look like much from the street--you swear this is the best??? (Also, Gil had a funny note taped to his door-"do not enter-we are not open yet...")

                1. re: whs

                  It may have been because he was late opening and did not want people just walking is as he is setting up. It has happened to me once before.

                  1. re: whs

                    definitely not much to look at from the street or inside for that matter. Still, so far is my fav pizza, subs and salad place. I try all three at diff places, not lately though and always wish I had just ordered from pizza express. To each his own but they have my vote for sure!!!

                    1. re: lexpatti

                      That's it I have to try this place. I wonder how far out they deliver....

                2. Pizza Market on Mast Road

                  1. I hated 900 degrees, the pizza was WAY overpriced, sparse toppings in addition they charged me $3 for anchovies in my Ceasar Salad. Sorry but $3 for 4 anchovies is insane. They do not mention it in the menu but they mention that chicken is $2! Johnny Troys has some of the best pizza in town, and the fried rice ball is awesome!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: gryphonskeeper

                      The fact that they don’t overwhelm the pizzas with too many toppings is one of the few things they do right at 900 Degrees. Their claim is that what they serve is authentic Neapolitan pizza (it’s not) and one of the hallmarks of Neapolitan pizza, or any good pizza, is balance. A good pizza is expertly baked bread with a few toppings that compliment each other. The crust is the primary component, and all the others are supporting cast members.
                      To address the primary question about good pizza in NH: No, there is none. Restaurateurs in this state open pizzerias, claim to serve authentic Neapolitan pizza or New York pizza and don’t even bother to find out what that actually means and/or how to prepare it. And don’t get me started on these Greek pizzerias with the leaden, gummy dough, the sugary sauce, and the ultra low quality cheese. Uugh!……..Not that I have an opinion on the subject.

                      -----
                      900 Degrees
                      50 Dow St, Manchester, NH 03101

                      1. re: crowdingthepan

                        Charging me $9 EXTRA for less than one mushroom, half an olive, 2 grams of meat and 1/15th of an onion is hardly a hallmark for good pizza making... sorry.

                        1. re: gryphonskeeper

                          You just made my point for me. You're interested in volume of food you get vs. quality of ingredients. They could probably serve you half a ton of concrete for just a few bucks. Good Value!!!!

                          1. re: crowdingthepan

                            My issue w/900 Degrees is that the oven is not hot enough and the crust comes out doughy and lacking in character.

                            1. re: whs

                              Yes! It's ironic that they've named the place 900 Degrees, but the pies are clearly cooked at a much lower temperature. I think that parts of the oven are hot enough to cook a pizza properly, but they seem to cook them near the mouth of the oven, necessitating a long cook time that yields a dry, blonde crust. I HAVE gotten a pizza or two from 900 degrees that have the blistering and mild charring that make a pie great, though. It's been hit or miss, with more misses than hits.

                              -----
                              900 Degrees
                              50 Dow St, Manchester, NH 03101

                            2. re: crowdingthepan

                              Hold it right there... I am interested in VALUE, not VOLUME. If you are going to give me one olive, don't charge me for the tree. Richard's Bistro is my favorite restaurant in Manchester, there is nothing "volume" there, but you do get your moneys worth.

                              -----
                              Richard's Bistro
                              36 Lowell St Ste 1, Manchester, NH 03101

                        2. re: gryphonskeeper

                          I had SO much hope for 900 degrees!! When was the last time you went? I thought I read that recently they got a new executive chef...I'm wondering if there are any improvements since then?

                          I am curious as to why on there menu they describe their mussels as being cooked in a " "made from scratch tomato sauce" ". What do the quotations mean exactly? Is it only kind of made from scratch??

                          1. re: solargarlic

                            I went just a couple days ago. I was extremely disappointed in the Caesar salad because I had read a review saying it came with anchovies, and found out later it doesn't unless you ask, then they charge you $3 extra, which would not have been such an issue, however it says nothing in the menu about this, but they do mention chicken is $2, it was very lightly dressed and they do not even use shaved cheese, they use grated... such a let down. For one pizza with sparse veggie toppings (The server told me veggie toppings were only .50 each... which was a lie) and a salad it cost me $35. I was floored.

                            1. re: gryphonskeeper

                              Ouch! That's nuts...no mistake...really??? 35??? How do you charge more for anchovies than chicken??? And on a Caesar? You know, Manchester is just too far for me to go eat there on a whim, I'll take your word for it and stick to my homemade Neapolitan style pizzas.

                              I hope to head to JT's tomorrow, if I end up heading to Concord as planned.

                            2. re: solargarlic

                              They did change chefs recently. The new chef is David Smith, formerly of Brookstone and Loafers.