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Jun 12, 2014 08:08 PM

Scissors and Pie Pizza on Newbury St.

Just getting around to writing this, but better late than never! ~ two weeks ago, we were unexpectedly in town late morning, so we checked out the fairly new Scissors and Pie Pizza place on Newbury St. Given our experience , Sheryl Julian did a good job reviewing this place yesterday in the Globe.
On our visit, we sampled a few types from the very appealing display set up on a long counter as you enter the underground space.:
--fresh mozzarella, pesto, arugula, cherry tomatoes
--prosciutto cotto,potatoes w/ rosemary,mozzarella
--zucchini, eggplant, tomato,onion,herbs....

The pizzas fill half sheet pans; they are scissor-cut to order, weighed, and (while you pay) popped in a not- hot- enough- oven, removed and served to you on a board. They do more types than will fit on the long counter, so they rotate varieties throughout the day.
I don't know why, but until i tasted their melted mozzarella , i never found fresh mozzarella (or any mozzarella, for that matter) to have much taste. But this did, and also had a lovely texture. I'd like to find out its origin.

We were very surprised that all of the toppings had high quality ingredients and were very very tasty and well balanced. We pretty much agreed with Sheryl on the excellence of both the toppings and the very flavorful crust, even though , in the end, it is the thick crust that will lose me as a customer and, i'm guessing, will cause Scissors and Pie's ultimate failure as a new business. The gimmick here is that you pay by the weight, which is really not a tenable idea, imo, because the pizza is 90% crust and ends up costing way too much. Maybe that system would be fine if the pizza were just bought as a snack or pick-me-up, but it's too expensive for a pizza meal imo (~$20 for two of us as a light lunch.)

I certainly do wish them the best, but my prediction is that Scissors and Pie will not be there in June of 2015 unless they change some basic things:
--Make some or all of their pizzas as thin crust pies. Boston is just not a thick crust town.(Ya think?)
--Charge by the piece, not the weight. (Get rid of the comically awkward set up where the counter people have to walk 15 feet with a spatula of pizza to the counter-end scales/register and then back down the area to put the pizza in the oven, removing it too soon (because they're needed for other things) and delivering it to the sitting or standing customer. This involves a huge chunk of time that's bad enough when there's only a few customers, but would be disastrous with a waiting line.
-- Get rid of the ineffective owners behind the counter. Their 'newbieness' and lack of understanding of an efficiently run counter service restaurant- does not inspire confidence in the slightest. ( I really hope what I was seeing there was not the co-owning family being taught how to run the whole operation by themselves- so that the consulting? chef could return home to Roma....)

While this is my prediction, I could just as easily be 100% wrong. For those of you who have tried Scissors and Pie, what do you think? Will it succeed as it is?

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  1. I thought maybe you were going to tell us you got a haircut and a slice... groan... I too wonder about variations in mozzarella. We think t hat maybe most is part skim and the ones that use whole milk may be the creamier, meltier, less chewy, more flavorful cheese..

    1. isn't pizzeria uno thick crust? i think that it is doing well though it is not my kind of place.

      2 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster

          What about Umberto or Pinocchio's in H. Sq.? Two of the best in town IMO.

      1. They know they have a bad name; I just don't know if they will change it. The name they chose is a direct indication of the experience of the owners - no one in their right mind would open a place on Newbury with scissors in the name and think people will not confuse it with a hair salon. It is my understanding that they have no experience as restaurateurs and are simply guys with money and thought opening a pizza joint would be a cool hobby.

        Marco, the chef, is the real deal. His food is fantastic and the ingredients are high quality. Can't remember if this was mentioned but Marco came from making pizzas at Pasta Beach, which were excellent as well.

        Marco is selling his dough in flatbread version to a handful of restaurants on Newbury St. and is trying to expand that arm of the business. The flatbread is fantastic and if you get there on a day where he's making hot flatbread sandwiches, definitely choose these over the pizza. Otherwise you may be eating it from bread baskets and on sandwiches on Newbury without knowing it.

        Glad to see people talking about this place, and esp. happy they got the review from Sheryl Julian. They needed a marketing boost (unfortunately, they are amateurs in this area as well except for their really beautiful website). Hope everyone tries it out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: OliveJones

          I totally agree with your post, OliveJones. I was surprised they flew so relatively under the radar until now, but probably best for them anyway to give them time to work out kinks.

          To answer your question, opinionatechef, I don't think Marco is planning to return to Italy anytime soon.

          1. re: OliveJones

            < It is my understanding that they have no experience as restaurateurs and are simply guys with money, and thought opening a pizza joint would be a cool hobby. >
            PreCISEly. And exactly the impression i got at (coincidentally) Marco's Pizza, where I adore the eggplant parm, on Rt 1 in Peabody.

            (p.s. not to be nasty, but the really big guy i saw there trying to work the counter--bald or shaved head-- did not look at all like a stylish hair salon owner; might he be the husb. of the tiny woman instead ?)

            And did you feel the pizza was overpriced?

          2. is this pay-by-the-ounce a concept they copied? it seems ludicrous.

            11 Replies
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I've only seen it in Italy before

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I've also only seen pay-by-weight pizza in Italy, but in my experience it was always a thin crust. Paying by weight for a slice consisting mostly of dough? No.

                1. re: Kat

                  I've also only seen pay by weight in Italy, but in Florence I would often buy a thick crust pizza at a bakery by weight. The thing is it would only be a few euros for a pretty big slice.

                  The prices are pretty steep at Scissors & Pie, the thing is we find pizza here astronomical regardless - our favorites are Posto, Pasta Beach, Gran Gusto and the recently discovered Pride's Piccola Napoletana in Beverly (best of the bunch, I haven't written here about it yet) and can never seem to get away with spending less than $16-$18 for a pizza with toppings. That's already three or four times what we used to pay in Italy anyhow so we're used to it. Same goes for mozzarella, burrata, prosciutto, amaros and our favorite wines! Price we pay to live in the US of A. :)

                  1. re: Bugsey34

                    wow, never heard of Pride's; sounds terrific! We tried Gran Gusto a long time ago but never returned because the kitchen totally refused to deviate from the pizza options offered, and I just happen to have a THING about "no" chefs. Posto was good but not memorable, but again, only tried once , last year iirc,and don't remember the experience. Never been to a Pasta Beach.
                    Boy oh boy, can't wait to hear the details about Pride's!

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      Are you saying that you won't patronize establishments that won't cater to your off-the-menu special requests?

                      1. re: Unfoodie

                        long ago, but iirc, it was a matter of asking for scallions (which they did on another pizza) on a pizza where they weren't listed.

                        1. re: Unfoodie

                          Had to laugh but a very long time ago when Emma's Pizza was on Huron Avenue, a small take out (4-5 seats at counter) with only Emma taking (and giving) the orders while her husband made the pizza in the window. It was our 1st visit and when we tried to order a Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza, Emma in her gruff, no nonsense manner, refused, proclaiming with her heavy Italian accent, " two meats." As it was our first visit, it took a few seconds to realize that she would not allow two meats on a pizza (so much for a "Meatlovers" pizza). There was no way that Emma would be deterred so we settled for a 1 meat pizza. Emma's would become our favorite pizza in the Boston area and stayed that way until Emma's husband passed away many years later and Emma sold her pizza shop. Emma was pretty rough around the edges but in a very good way and they took great pride in their product. I believe that it was a philosophical thing with her about the "no two meats" thing although I never asked I just followed her policy and never again asked for two meats. On the other hand, if a restaurant has scallions, I do not know why they wouldn't put some on a pizza?

                          1. re: bakerboyz

                            Would you tell Miles Davis to use more vibrato? Artistic vision and I respect that :)

                      2. re: Bugsey34

                        My fave pizzas in Boston are indeed Posto and Area Four. I enjoyed Gran Gusto, but now I will have to try Pride's!

                        1. re: Trumpetguy

                          Will start work on a write-up of Pride's right now!

                        2. re: Bugsey34

                          There used to be a place in Harvard Square that sold Roman-style pizza by weight. I've also bought some amazingly good pizza by weight at the Whole Foods in Burlington - they have a real wood-burning brick oven right in the store.

                    2. I expect the reason Shultz keeps finding it empty is the fact that the prices seem preposterous. A location on Newbury Street is already one big strike against it. Not a promising gamble.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        the rent is likely astronomical, but the street swarms with tourists who probably won't be back. one and done.

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          slim, glad to hear your thoughts on the pricing. Is Shultz a trade name for Sheryl?

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            Sorry, stupid multi-tasking error on my part: I meant Sheryl Julian.