The Pizza Shop @ South Natick renders hunger powerless with colossal slices of New York–style pie on hand-stretched dough shellacked with homemade sauce. Crust-lusters can build their own scrumptious circles ($10.50 plus $1.49 per topping for a large) from a list of favorite and offbeat ingredients such as ricotta cheese and meatballs. They can also sample specialty pizzas ($10.30–$20.90) such as the Godfather, an olive-oiled saga starring sliced tomatoes, grilled chicken, artichoke, romano, mozzarella, and the chef's questionably-cast daughter. The Spinocolli forgoes sauce in favor of sliced tomato on olive oil and garlic, with a spinach, broccoli, and mozzarella quilt for warmth. The extensive menu pleases diverse appetites, with calzones ($9.20–$15.30) and subs ($6.25–$7.25) taking up plate residence beside burritos ($7.25) stuffed with pulled pork, steak tips, or chicken.
Since its founding in 2001, The Upper Crust Pizzeria has fashioned artful thin-crust pizzas in 19 storefronts with modern, architectural touches. Chefs craft specialty pies inspired by local landmarks, from the sundried-tomato cobblestones of the Beacon Hill to the pesto-painted walls of the Green Monster. Diners can opt to spread sweet sauce over a regular or whole-wheat crust or request that any pie be served white without sauce, and combine slices with crisp salads or pounce on the geometric goodness of a spinach square or half moon-shaped calzone. Restaurant interiors are accoutered with modern flourishes such as flat-screen TVs and pan-decorated ceilings, allowing one to lie down and admire their reflection before a postmeal nap.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Founded by longtime friends Jonathan Schwarz and Christopher Robbins, Stone Hearth Pizza builds its gourmet pies from organic, local, and sustainably produced ingredients. The casual pizzeria has expanded to six locations since opening in 2005—a pace of growth made possible by the popularity of chef and general manager Michael Ehlenfeldt’s Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas. New England craft beers complement the pizzas and pastas with a pleasantly bitter taste that reflects their conflicted attitude toward out-of-towners.