An edible emporium of eatability, Nonni's Pizza serves a tongue-tantalizing menu of piping-hot pies smothered in vine-ripened tomato sauce and fresh Italian cheeses. Chomp into the BBQ bacon cheeseburger pie ($13.99/large), crowned with barbeque-sauce-marinated meatballs and crispy strips of bacon, or ward off clingy vampires with Nonni's Favorite ($13.99/large), which comes smothered in white sauce, breaded chicken, broccoli, garlic, and olive oil. End any eating expedition with the sweet delight of cinnamaple sticks ($3.99), breadsticks doused in cinnamon, sugar, and maple syrup. The technologically advanced pizzeria features online ordering courtesy of a pedal-operated computer powered by horses.
Featured by Billy Costa on the show TV Diner, on which Costa calls the restaurant a landmark and a legend, Prince Pizzeria has been slinging sauce over pies for half a century. Beneath the unmistakable soaring model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, owners Steven and Trisha Castraberti oversee a menu piled with homemade marinara and pies lauded as the Best Pizza of the North Shore. Diners bite into specialty pies such as the greek, whose spinach and feta cheese combine with black olives and tomatoes ($15.95), or the primavera, on which eggplant and roasted red peppers lounge. Arturo’s classic marinara ladles daily-made tomato sauce over spaghetti or ziti ($8.99), and patrons lounging amid yellow and red walls slice into a tender, breaded veal cutlet hiding beneath red sauce and mozzarella ($13.99).
Though Bacci’s is in Saugus, a car ride or several Orange Line stops away from the North End, its menu of Sicilian-style pizzas and pasta dishes adheres to the historic Boston neighborhood’s renowned culinary tradition. The family-owned shop bursts with the aroma of baking dough and simmering Italian sauces. The chefs toss specialty pizzas by hand and layer subs, wraps, and paninis with an array of mozzarella, meats, and vegetables. Bacci’s also hosts “Make Your Own Pizza” parties, during which diners can try their hand at designing their own pies without the hassle of milking the dough from the cows themselves.
Owner Alessandra Siniscalco, a first generation Italian, opened Caf? Piazza Dolce as a business school graduate with a passion for food, but ended up becoming the chef of a celebrated Italian trattoria. While the restaurant originally sold only espresso, gelato, and fresh baked goods, Caf? Piazza Dolce's popularity soon transformed it into a cozy eatery serving authentic Italian pastas, pizzas, and grilled dishes. The menu, comprised of both a weekend brunch and daily dinner selections, brings together entrees from every region of Italy. Caprese salads often start dinners, followed by house-made pastas for main courses. Hand-tossed pizzas rise in wood-fired ovens, topping with ingredients such as egg, prosciutto, or bacon pesto, and the kitchen's grill chars a wide range of proteins from steak to salmon. On the weekends, the chefs have a sleepover at the restaurant so they can be up early preparing pancakes, poutine, and gourmet egg sandwiches for brunch.
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.
Michael Falzone is so steeped in Italian culinary traditions that his name rhymes with "calzone." It's been his plight since 1978, when his father opened John's Pizza. Since that time, Michael has made sure that the process for creating each hand-tossed pie hasn't changed much. He still uses his father's recipes for the dough and tomato sauce, and his staff shreds the cheese daily to ensure freshness. Calzones, oven-baked subs, and pastas round out this old-school Italian menu, which also features handy icons, such as a red pepper to indicate spicy items and a thumbs up to designate the most popular choices.