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Phantom Gourmet: Crush Pizza In Downtown Boston

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BOSTON – It can take a lifetime to learn how to make the perfect pizza. But it only takes about 90 seconds to crush one!

Brand new to Downtown Boston, Crush is trying to do for pizza what Chipotle has done with burritos: offering an assembly line of fresh, tasty food served fast, affordably, and to customer’s exact specifications.

“Crush is a made from scratch, made to order pizzeria, where a customer can basically come in, build their own pizzas on an assembly line,” owner Tony Naser explains. “Then it goes in our wood fired ovens and cooks in less than 90 seconds.”

He describes the process:

“The first station would be the dough stretcher. So, one person will be stretching dough.

“The second station is where the order process would start. We have four different sauces to choose from… a Margherita, from a bourbon barbecue, a bianca which is our white pizza… or a pesto.

“Next station is any type of multiple vegetable toppings. And they’re all fresh vegetables or sautéed mushrooms, fresh spinach.

“Then from there you go over to the meat section and you get to choose any one of, you know, multiple meat selections.

“And then from there, you get a number, pizza goes in the oven, and 90 seconds later it’s done.”

Yup. From the moment you walk in, get in line, and order whatever kind of pizza you’re craving, it’s just a minute and a half until it’s ready to eat.

“When I tell people I can cook their pizza in 90 seconds they really don’t believe it,” Naser said. “The ovens really cook at over 1000 degrees. So the minute the pizza hits that oven it starts bubbling.

“These ovens are designed for pizza. They’re built in Naples, Italy. They cook pizzas in 60 to 90 seconds at over 1000 degrees, and they burn strictly wood.”

Like most traditional Neopolitan pizzas, they’re on the small side, stretching no more than 30 centimeters across. The crust is light and airy with crispy, bubbly chars around the edges. And just at the last second, they get an extra blast of fire at the blistering hot top of the oven.

“We call that “doming” the pizza,” Naser explained. “That’s where really the flames rise, and you get a lot of smoke; you get a lot of char; you get a lot more of that flavor in there.”

You can top your pizza in thousands of possible combinations, from a classic Margherita with just sweet crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil, to high-quality, extra-large slices of pepperoni that get nice and crispy from the oven’s high heat.

There are some specialties pies as well, like the Toscana – featuring pan seared mushrooms, fire roasted garlic cream sauce and a drizzle of truffle oil. There’s the Spinachia boasting cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and pan roasted spinach. The Capri is packed with chopped ham, artichokes and olives. But the most popular specialty pizza is the Bourbon Barbecue Chicken.

The Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Pizza at Crush Pizza. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The Bourbon Barbecue Chicken at Crush Pizza. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“We make a housemade bourbon barbecue sauce, some red onions, chicken; we throw it in the oven. Once it comes out we top it with cilantro, some green onions, and some crispy tortilla chips. It’s almost like eating Doritos on a pizza.”

If you’re an extremely impatient or especially hungry person who just can’t seem to wait 90 seconds for your pizza, you can start your meal with a nice antipasto platter or plump, juicy meatballs made with a mix of lamb, pork, and beef.

You definitely don’t want to miss the Italian style chicken wings, bursting with garlic, rosemary, and homemade limoncello that has aged 45 days!

“We make a lemon marinade that we put the limoncello in, and we let these wings marinate for about two days,” Naser said. “We braise the wings. After the braising, we throw them on our fire grill and we give them a nice char. We put them on the plate, top them with some caramelized onions, some focaccia bread, delicious.”

For something even sweeter, you can order an indulgently gooey Nutella Pizza that’s puffed up nice and airy in the oven, and then sliced open, slathered with chocolate hazelnut spread, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Or, you might want to sample some rich housemade, small batch gelato, in flavors like Amarena cherry, lemon basil raspberry, and salted caramel.

“Artisan made, all fresh, fresh ingredients. You know we make it right here on the premises. We have a bunch of different flavors and we sell it year round.”

It’s no surprise that they get crushed with customers every afternoon.

“The action during lunch, it’s non-stop. It’s just so high energy, very fast paced, we have to keep moving. The line doesn’t stop.”

“For the same price as two slices you can have your own fresh pizza made in two minutes! So why choose a slice that’s been sitting out there for god knows how long. And then it has to be re-heated anyways.”

You can find Crush Pizza at 107 State Street in Boston, or at its original location at 449 Amherst Street in Nashua, NH. Crush is online at crushpizza.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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