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Otto in Coolidge Corner Open

It opened yesterday and was packed last night. Had three slices with my family, all very good. A welcome addition to CC.

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  1. Has anyone else been here for a sit down meal with a full pie? Going for pizza with the family and was curious, but may just go for the sure thing at Flatbread pending some reviews.

    21 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta

      Not for a pie, but for re-heated slices. They gave the impression of it being pretty good. I like the crust.

      1. re: fara

        I certainly liked my single slice of mashed potato and bacon pizza I had on Saturday afternoon. Tasty with a crispy thin crust.

        1. re: Fukui San

          Had the margarita pie on opening night. It was excellent, though not a traditional margarita (no sauce). Crust was thin and crispy. It's been packed all weekend which makes me very happy. They did a great job with the decor - woods, nice lighting, etc. You can also get beer and wine. Not to be too dramatic, but having Otto fill this space is huge for CC. It is so nice to see a local place (and a good one at that) instead of Friendly's or Qdoba. Bring on Hops & Scotch!

          1. re: drewames03

            Second everything! (concerned that Hops and Scotch looks like it hasn't made much progress)

            1. re: drewames03

              Otto is a Portland Maine company (2 locations there, iirc) that now has 2 Boston locations.dre, I think it's really healthy to include Maine in our definition of 'local'. We're not the biggest region of the U.S.( by far!) and we need to stick together and celebrate our affinities! I've really enjoyed Otto's amazing crust in Harv Sq. and I'm so looking forward to trying this new spot. Am hoping they have expanded their variety of toppings a bit.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Being a regular at both Portland locations (and having hit Harvard Sq a couple of times), I've had several opportunities to speak with owners and staff. Common menu is to always have, by the slice, cheese, pepperoni, margarita, and bacon-mashed potato. Depending on location, there will be from 2 to 4 "others" with one being a special not found on the menu. The specials are often with ingredients that are not regularly in the store (braised short rib or plantains, etc.) so they really are special. On staff, at least at the Portland shops (I suspect it's the same in Boston) are culinary school grads, not just your run of the mill pizza guys. They're willing to try some unique combos - IMO they don't always work but most often,they do. Each shop's allowed some freedom with the specials - I've had specials in one shop that they've never tried just down the street here in Portland.
                That much being said about their specials, there is a strong effort for consistency in all their stores. Having told one of their managers that I had been to the Harvard Sq store, there was great interest in my opinion on how it held up to the Portland locations. Unlike a couple of Boston's better known pizza places, Otto is Otto, whether on Congress St. in Portland or Harvard Sq, in Cambridge. I suspect CC will be the same as well. Keep going back and you'll find new toppings on a regular basis.
                As far as the Maine connection, at least one of the owners is a Mass. boy from the Cape IIRC.

            2. re: Fukui San

              My husband and I went for lunch on Friday and had three slices at the bar. We always start with the Mashed Potato bacon and Scallion. Ed ordered the Genoa Salami, tomato and scallion and we made dessert of the butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry.

              I also like the crust and even grabbed a piece of the crust before Ed could take a photo of it. He wasn't fast enough to tell me to wait because I don't eat the crust as a rule when we have pizza. It is all set aside for him! At Otto, he does without my bits of bread.

              Lots of photos here.

              They did a good job with the space. I think it is going to work well for all sorts of diners. We had our slices at the bar with a Harpoon IPA and a chardonnay. There were lots of people grabbing slices and whole pies to go. Some folks were eating a slice a sit-down counter in the dining area or a stand up counter along the Harvard Street window.

              This is one more great reason for us to go to Coolidge Corner. I think it is going to be a real asset to the businesses there.


              1. re: BostonZest

                penny, your photos are great; thx so much!(and for the report, of course)

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  here's the CC menu; strange that you have to go to the portland site to get it!


                2. re: BostonZest

                  BostonZest something interesting in your photo is the growlers near the register which I didn't expect would be for takeout, but checked and alas used as "pitchers" in house.

                  1. re: itaunas

                    I thought that was odd too. I thought they might be pure decor. Thanks for the research note!

            3. re: Gabatta

              Had a good sit-down meal experience. Service was impressive; courteous and professional, obviously well-trained. Kind of a fun throwback to watch the guy tossing the dough too. Decor is spot-on, they really transformed a tough space. I especially love the colorized photo of Sophia Loren with a pizza peel in one hand and smoldering cigarette in the other. Great addition to the neighborhood. I give Upper Crust another year. I hope it doesn't kill Dante's business; I hope there's room for both.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  Pizzeria Dante on Beacon St, around the corner from Otto, heading west. They make a great pizza (one of the few who does a rabe version). Also has a really good crust, though different than Otto's. I think it's family owned, kind of North-End-ish but better, and the people who work there know how to treat customers like customers. Became our go-to place after finding out about the labor issues at Upper Crust. I'll probably stick with Dante for takeout and Otto for slices or a sit-down.

                  1. re: nightsky

                    thx, nightsky. how bout that new pizza place on comm ave. between harvard st and packards corner- that got alot of recent Globe attention; have you tried it?

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      do you mean Ecco? Haven't tried it, but i've heard many good reviews.

                      1. re: nightsky

                        Ecco on Comm Ave is very good, very artisan style. Somewhat expensive but very tasty.

                        I disagree about Dante. Don't like it much. I'm not a fan of Upper Crust but there's room for both.

                        1. re: lergnom

                          I liked the pizza at Ecco, but it's not worth the price for delivery, nearly $30 with tip for a large 2 topping pie. I might stop in for a pie in the restaurant sometime, but it's still a bit rich for pizza IMHO.

                        2. re: nightsky

                          Ecco is very good. The owner has put a lot into this place. High end equipment, fresh, natural ingredients. And they offer a clam pizza though not New Haven style. I want this place to do well but I think the location is a minus. However I live one and a half blocks from the Coolidge Corner Otto so I now have excellent pizza within a stone's throw. Have not been to Dante and see no reason to go.

                2. re: Gabatta

                  We had lunch there last week, two adults and two kids. It's a friendly and comfortable space and the pizza was delicious. The rule is no slices at the tables so even if you order several pizzas (which we did) and someone has a rogue desire for a slice of whatever, you can't do that. Also, the lemonade seemed like it was from a mix, and not a good one, I would have sent it back but the kids drank it anyway.

                  1. re: SJason

                    I was disappointed by the inability to order a slice at the table too. But the whole pies are delicious.

                3. Went today; that place is going to do a land-office biz as a place to get a slice and a glass of wine....SQUEEE!
                  Love the architectural details, industrial seating, white 20's style tile...And the pizza...Nice and thin crust, light enough I wouldn't feel guilty ordering two slices...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: galleygirl

                    Glad you liked it. Especially since Mangia seems to have gone downhill.

                    1. re: chuck s

                      I may have to go over to Mangia today and check..;)
                      Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the slice of Margherita I got At Pizzeria Dante a few weeks ago, I liked their vibe, too...

                      1. re: galleygirl

                        Hmm, went to Mangia at lunch, 1:15....4 pitiful slices, two each pf cheese and pepperoni, all alone and unappealing on their pans...Geez guys, even if it's not busy, cook up a few pies, on the off chance that someone will walk in at lunchtime...Made me very sad...I had to stop at the Spa to console myself...

                  2. Stopped in yesterday prior to my dental appointment (I brought a toothbrush with me!). Had a slice of the potato/bacon/chive, and one of pulled pork and mango. The mango was shredded and in just enough quantity to balance the pork, but not make the slice unbearably sweet. excellent crust as well. Looking forward to getting a whole pie, and seeing how it compares to the slices.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kimfair1

                      No comment on the potato/bacon slice kimfair?

                      1. re: Gordough

                        It was also very tasty, though it could have been reheated a bit longer as the potato was lukewarm at best. I judge my pizza primarily on the crust, secondly on the toppings. I'd give Otto an A- for crust and toppings. Only Frank Pepe's gets an A from me, so A- is pretty damn good.

                        1. re: kimfair1

                          Love that potato/bacon slice. Agreed with the need to reheat the slices longer. The crust would have been more crispy.

                          Otto is a fine addition at CC, especially for those who are boycotting Upper Crust (across the street) for their mistreatment of the Brazilian workers.

                    2. I went today, 3:15 in the afternoon, sat at the bar (after waiting and trying to order a slice at the ordering station). Ordered my slice and drank my beer, slice never came, and by then I had to leave. Pizza looked and smelled good, I just wish I was lucky enough to receive what I ordered.

                      Sorry, 1st impressions and all. Not happy. They were kind enough not to charge me for the food I didn't receive. Shrugs.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: okra

                        They were definitely a bit disorganized tonight- my hubby stopped by and ordered a pie to go & they didn't note that he'd already paid when he came back to get it. HOWEVER, the pizza was awesome (got the potato-bacon-scallion), with a fantastic crust. Will definitely get pies from them again.

                        1. re: DrMag

                          I contacted them and apologies were swiftly made all around. Busy place, they'll do well there.

                          1. re: okra

                            Everyone was very polite when I contacted them, even offered me a coupon.

                            Which, some 6 weeks later has yet to arrive.

                      2. We also really enjoyed it. Went with a family member with celiacs and unfortunately there really aren't any gluten free options. The salads are not sufficient for an entree and there is no protein to add. Hoping they will beef up the gluten free selection and/or more non-pizza options.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gramercyfoodie

                          stone hearth in allston has gluten free. we are big fans of their pizzas in belmont.

                        2. friends and i had lunch there, and i hate to say it, but i was disappointed in their crust. i had really enjoyed my slice the one time i visited the harvard square location, so i was expecting similar deliciousness in cc. we shared the pork mango, mashed potato bacon, and butternut cranberry. the best of the three was the butternut cranberry, and i think it had to do with the heavy moisture of the toppings (i think there was ricotta, too). the other two were white (no sauce) pizzas, and they were so dry, like a cracker. i love thin crust pizza, but it doesn't have to be like matzo! service was prompt and friendly, and the decor was really well done. it was opening day, so i will try a pie again since most people here positively commented on the crust.

                          1. We went again tonight and ate in. We got the potato and bacon pie. Even better in person than by take out. The crust was wonderfully crisp and NOT dry, and the toppings were excellent. I loved the fresh chives. Incidentally, their home-bottled root beer and raspberry sodas are very tasty.

                            1. I stopped in for a pepperoni slice before braving the farmers market crowds and found it more than adequate. We'll have to stop over for a whole pie sometime soon.

                              1. wee've gone back a number of times. the pizza with ricotta and eggplant is great, as is the plain cheese (we add mushrooms). I also like their salads and chianti, and of course the decor/atmosphere is great for cc. Also technically speaking the plain cheese (made with buffalo mozz) is cheaper than upper crust (15 for a large). however one tends to order a full restaurant meal there.

                                1. They are full every night of the week. But then it seems all the restaurants in CC are busy these days. As an aside, we went to a thing at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Monday. It was a sell out. Walked outside and people were waiting across the street outside Otto's and were jammed into the Osaka Steakhouse, as well.

                                  My feelings about Otto are that the pizza is well made but relatively bland and under seasoned. The crust could use more tooth. I've tried several and picked up 5 for a meeting. The place is very well run, but I think the product is expensive and doesn't have enough taste.

                                  To compare to Ecco, which is also expensive, Ecco's crust - which was developed with Clear Flour - has more taste and tooth. The toppings are much less generous but they have more, IMHO, flavor. Comparable experiences. Otto's is a much better location and is much more lively.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: lergnom

                                    excellent articulate comparison, so thank you , mong. I love otto's crust much more than their toppings. Now that you have talked abot the Clearflour involvement, i esp want to try Ecco, though i do NOT appreciate skimpy toppings. I imagine we will end up continuing to be grateful for and admiring of our great whole wheat crust pizzas at Stone Hearth Belmont, our go- to place since they opened (along w/ Regina's North End).

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      I like the whole wheat crust at Stone Hearth. The regular is bland. Of the 3, I would say Ecco has the best crust.

                                  2. Went a few weeks ago with a friend and we split the Sausage & Vidalia onion & Spicy Pulled Pork & Scallion which was killer. I visited the East Portland location a few Months back and had some great slices but ordering a full pie for dine in is the better experience. Really like the variety of innovative white pies and enjoyed their red sauce as well.

                                    I think these guys slide into my regular pizza rotation of Tarps and Picco. The crust handled the toppings of the pie nicely without sagging out which is key, nice crunch but not much inherent flavor. As apposed to Picco which has a bit more of the sour bite that just adds another dimension, (I love sourdough) and the New Haven style which just really blends in with the rest of the pie. But even with that, I am digging the toppings and I have been craving another hit of that pulled pork.

                                    Also love the counter or sit down atmosphere as others have mentioned. They Otto folks have created a nice experience in CC.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: YoChief23

                                      well chief, you have finally added the key word to get me to try the picco pizza. sourdough. (thk you!) allRIGHT, i am there sooo soon. And then i must try Ecco, per mongrel's comment. and then onto otto (have only had harv sq take away.). hmmm, looks like there's pizza in our future.............

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        finally tried this place - had the ricotta, basil and roast tomato pie - a small easily fed two of us. I thought the crust was excellent: light, crisp and with a fine taste. I liked the topping as well: nothing too soggy, very good quality ricotta and fresh basil, and a true tomato taste. Very fine pizza in a very comfortable environment. Definitely another plus for Coolidge Corner.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          since this 2 yr old thread was just re-vived, i will quickly comment that we did eventually go to both Picco and Ecco I was v hopeful about Ecco, and the one night we were there, the pizza cook recognized me from Stone Hearth Belmont. I detailed the Ecco experience in another thread, but it was basically that we found it unremarkable/no reason to return. I have had a huge culinary crush on Rick Katz for ,what, 2 decades?, since he created one of the world's greatest cookies (Mocha Choc Chip; see Baking w/ Julia book for recipe)and i am thrilled to see his So End success. His pizza is excellent but i still favor Regina's NoEnd, and StoneHearth on a good day, and now, Max and Leo's in Newton Corner.
                                          Still must visit Otto's CC for a sit-down treat, because that crust is really special.

                                      2. I was in my old neighborhood of Coolidge Corner today for work just before noon and stopped in for a couple slices at Otto. I have had this place on my list for some time and meant to try the one in Portland, but hadn't. I ordered two warmed-up slices: one bacon and potato and one ricotta and squash. They were both very dry. I was disappointed, because they looked good but there was no moisture, very dry mouthfeel. Is this a representative experience, or is it because I ordered slices instead of a whole pie? It was still early for lunch, so the pies couldn't have been sitting around for that long. On the bright side, I liked the space and the service was prompt and very helpful.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Kat

                                          Have had nothing but stellar whole pies just out of the oven, so maybe warmed up slices are the problem as you suggested.

                                          1. re: Kat

                                            I regularly get slices at their Harvard location and I've never had that problem. Maybe they put them back in the oven for too long? What a disappointment!

                                            1. re: Kat

                                              Next time I'll order a whole pie.