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Feb 8, 2013 12:41 AM

Terrific StoneHearth Pizza in Winchester Open Now

So my town finally has an excellent restnt. This is a 25 Year First, so we are cheering.
As we rarely get to Regina's North End , Stone Hearth Belmont has been our happy go-to pizza spot since they opened a number of yrs ago. Love the thin chewy/crunchy whole wheat crust, the simple un-herbed marinara, the unique house made sausage w/ a touch of cumin and heat, the locally sourced components, as well as the cheery yellow and red room and comfy banquettes. Now their Winchester location is finally open and we have been twice so far. The pizzas have been as good if not better than those in Belmont, so we are wicked psyched. The only drag is the room itself. The person who chose the colors must have been pre- suicidal- that's how depressing and blah are the colors. And when you drive past, it looks closed because it's so dark. But if you're lucky, you'll eat there with a good book or a good friend who can distract you from the non-decor with good conversation! We liked their innovative pie of the month- gouda, sauteed kale, and leeks. And their salads are generous and satisfying as well.

This Winchester location also has a full bar (w/TV.)

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  1. Realizing that people have very different tastes when it come to pizza I have to say that I somewhat disagree. I had never been to a Stone Hearth restaurant before and was looking forward to trying the Winchester location because I agree with you that this town sorely lacks good places to eat. Although I liked the thin crust on the Margherita that I tried I found the marinara sauce terrible. It tasted like someone opened a can of tomatoes, pureed them and put them on the pizza. Not only is the sauce "un-herbed" it is "un-anything" except for the taste of uncooked tomato. The fresh mozzarella they used tasted over cooked and rubbery. The fresh basil they put on top of everything didn't contribute very much to the overall taste. The Stone Hearth will do well in Winchester but I won't be rushing back any time soon.

    7 Replies
    1. re: RoyRon

      I agree with you, RoyRon. I haven't tried the Winchester location and probably won't, but I gave the Needham restaurant many opportunities to get it right, and I never liked anything I had there.

      As you said, though, it really is about what you're looking for in a pizza, so I wouldn't discourage others from giving Stone Hearth a try.

      1. re: Isolda

        My boss lives in Winchester and tried the place hoping to love it. He had quite the opposite experience.

      2. re: RoyRon

        so sorry to hear that ron.i've never had uncooked tomato sauce at a SH. hope you'll try them again after awhile. you might want to introduce yourself to Michael Ehlenfeldt, the exec chef for the co.(and on-site manager for the transition/opening of any new SH.) He was previously Gordon Hammersley's right hand man for 15 yrs. Tall, thin, mustache.
        I bet he'd be sure to look out for you so you have a good experience. or so i've heard. he told a friend that they've had some bad yelp reviews during their opening, but that he expects everything to settle out soon. I guess sh** happens w/ most openings; just too many things can go wrong.

        oh, w/ regards to the basil, i always get it on the side and add it at table because dried up roasted basil has no flavor for me. our fav pizzas are the white bean which comes topped w/ a fresh spinach salad tossed in pesto. we ask for it to have added tomato sauce, chevre and bacon.
        My Love's fav is the housemade sausage and caramelized onion. Also good was this new one w/ gouda, leeks and kale. Oddly enough, the pastas were very meh the one time we tried them long ago, so we never order them.

        1. re: RoyRon

          ron, this expeience you had with the 'uncooked' tomato sauce >>I came to understand it today. When I asked for extra tomato sauce on the side for my pizza, i was given some of said sauce. I couldn't believe it. The manager explained that this is the sauce they give for a side sauce (it is canned plum tomatoes, chopped and heated. period)unless someone asks for the 'spicy tomato sauce' which is cooked with a 'garlic confit etc.' So I asked for the latter and with that, all was as delicious as it has been in the past.

          Well, aside from what the manager told me, in all the years we've been enjoying StoneHearth in Belmont, I have never tasted that awful uncooked can-tasting sauce
          (although it was probly only once or twice that i ever ordered extra sauce on the side.) Anyway, totally weird. Why they would ever give that to someone who asked for a side of sauce, when they have a delicious alternative, is beyond me.
          Aside from that glitch, later remedied, My Love really liked his stromboli and we always quickly disappear the salad with roasted portabello and shaved cheese.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            oc, how are you finding the space now that you've gotten used to it? I'm a Stonehearth fan, but my husband hasn't been in love with the Belmont space. Is the new space at all cozy and inviting?

            1. re: bear

              oh nooooo, mr. bill. this winchester space would likely feel 'comfy' to only Darth Vader. Just dreadful. but then, i love the cheerful yellow and reds of the Belmont space.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Thanks, oc. That's helpful. I find the Belmont space just fine, but I think my husband still associates it with the overly bright, harsh lighting they used to have. He doesn't hate it, but doesn't love it either.

        2. Hi
          Well I guess I will have to give it another try. I don't understand why they put that bland tomato sauce on any pizza unless it was just a mistake on the night I went in. I did like the crust but the combination of the tasteless sauce and the rubbery (supposedly fresh) mozzarella made for a terrible pizza. I guess I like my pizza like I like my sushi....very traditional. Simple but well flavored sauce, chewy thin crust with a minimum of toppings. For sushi, no "designer rolls", no fried ingredients (Spider Rolls), no cheese of any kind and no fruit.

          2 Replies
          1. re: RoyRon

            well ron, you know i sit right next to you on the sushi bus.
            If you do try SH again, i think you might want to request the spicy sauce on your pizza.
            And if you go in , not on a wkend, you might enjoy talking with Michael, the tall thin guy w/ the mustache. He does all their sourcing and , from what i've seen,would love telling you all about it.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Seems pertty pathetic to ask for a spicer sauce in a pizza joint, I mean that's a core ingredient for them.

          2. We just got delivery from the new Allston location -- really good. I liked the spinach, broccoli, and ricotta pie with multi-grain crust.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pia

              So, Pia, I'll ask you about the space at the Allston location. It's hard to tell from the on-line photos. Does it have any warmth, or is it pretty much utilitarian?