BOSTON – From Sicilian Squares to South Shore bar pies, pizza may be Phantom’s all-time favorite food. These are his eight greatest places to grab a slice.
Santarpio’s, East Boston & Peabody
Kicking off the great 8 is the legendary Santarpio’s in East Boston, along with their newer location in Peabody. The Eastie original might look like a dive, and you’ll be lucky if your server even brings a menu to the table. But they certainly deliver when it comes to putting out some of area’s best pizzas and grilled meats. They had better be good – because that’s all they serve.
“All we got is pizza, lamb, sausage, and steak. Nothing else. No coffee, no dessert, no salads. We have a lot of no’s. That’s all we have.”
Cape Cod Café, Brockton, Bridgewater & Raynham
Since 1939, the Cape Cod Cafe has been making the South Shore’s favorite style of pie, the bar pizza. These buttery, crunchy disks are baked in personal pans and slightly larger than personal-sized, packed with toppings that stretch all the way to the crust. Phantom’s favorite has to be the “chopped pepperoni”.
“Most places you get a pepperoni pizza and you get the little circles of pepperoni and they’ll put a few of them on. The way we do it is we cut our pepperoni ourselves and you’re getting big disks of pepperoni and we just cover the pizza, you can’t even see the cheese, it’s just covered in pepperoni.”
Pino’s Pizza, Cleveland Circle
Another Great 8 winner is Pino’s Pizza in Cleveland Circle. The small shop has been a neighborhood mainstay and a takeout favorite of Boston College students since 1962. This place is what old school, back to the basics pizzerias are all about: just quick service, affordable prices, and basics done exceptionally well. The Sicilian pizza is thick and satisfying with a craveable crust. The traditional hand-tossed Italian style pies sport a crispy browned crust, sweet sauce, and a magical blend of cheeses.
When Pigs Fly, Kittery ME
When Pigs Fly Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine is quite simply one of the coolest and most creative pizza places in New England. There are all sorts of flavorful concoctions served on their signature artisan dough, cooked in a wood-fired oven. There’s a Hawaiian-inspired pizza upgraded with grilled pineapples and jalapenos, and an upscale meatball pizza with cherry peppers. The appetizers are more on the gourmet side, and the can’t-miss dessert is the Cookie and Gelato Trio, topped tableside with melted chocolate.
Pizzeria Regina, North End
You can’t call yourself a pizza lover in New England until you tasted a pie from the original Pizzeria Regina on Thacher Street in the North End. They’ve been firing up the same, perfectly seasoned brick oven since 1926, and they’ve added a lot of additional locations along the way. The plain cheese might be the best in the business, and the housemade sausage is so good, you’ll be happy when they load it up high!
Wicked, Mashpee & Dedham
Another Great 8 winner is Wicked in Mashpee & Dedham. Here, the pizzas are made with nothing but high-quality, all natural ingredients. Traditionalists go for the Sicilian Comfort Pizza smothered with housemade Italian sausage and meatballs. Or if you prefer seafood, try the indulgent Scallop BLT.
“Do you love scallops wrapped in bacon? It’s scallops wrapped in bacon on a pizza. It’s a little bit salty; it’s a little bit sweet; it’s a little bit crunchy. It’s really decadent, really rich, and incredibly yummy.”
Pizza Barn, Ossipee NH
Pizza Barn in Center Ossipee, New Hampshire is certainly worth the drive. It’s not just a clever name; this popular pizzeria is located inside of an old barn lined with picnic tables and a high wood beam ceiling. Sizes range from the personal “Mini-Pie”, to the extra-large, extra heavy “Barn”. The must-order topping is the pepperoni, loaded with dozens of delicious, hand cut slices that are folded into and around even more slices of pepperoni.
“It burns around the edges. And the more, the blacker it is, not burnt, but the blacker it is around the edge, the better flavor, the better taste, the better burn it has going down.”
Rounding out the Great 8 is Posto in Davis Square, Somerville. Here they serve a modern rendition of the wood-fired pizzas you can find in Naples. The centerpiece of the restaurant is a special volcanic rock oven imported from Italy that can withstand temperatures reaching one thousand degrees.
“They say that the oven kisses the pizza more than cooks the pizza. Just San Marzano tomatoes, sea salt, olive oil, a little bit of basil, and Fior di latte cheese, and that’s all that’s on the pizza. It’s cooked for about 90 seconds. It’s fresh, super-fresh.”
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.
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