Southborough House of Pizza's original 1974 location was teeny tiny. With one table and six stools at the counter, only 10 customers could comfortably fit inside at a time. But people were so crazy for their pizzas that in 1984, the restaurant moved to its current home, a renovated town fire station. Now there's plenty of room for the pizzeria's faithful customers, who come for the inventive specialty pizzas such as the Cheeseburger topped with pickles, ketchup, and mustard. Another favorite is the Garlic Infusion, with just enough garlic flavor to balance its ripe tomatoes and olives. Diners can also stuff themselves with other Italian-inspired delights, such as hefty grinders on french bread and hearty pasta dishes that will make your fork question whether it's good enough for the job.
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.
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.
Pizza Peddler and Deli's amiable dough-slingers spin out an extensive menu of pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and other savory delectables. Sate cavernous appetites with a bevy of specialty tomato-pasted pies, including the greek pizza, a circular sensation doused in a pantheon of feta, olives, and spinach and carried to each table upon the back of a lightning bolt (small $10.49, large $14.99). The eatery's equally exotic Bella Italiana sandwich stacks prosciutto di parma, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil into a leaning tower of taste ($6.99). Those searching for a tongue-dazing meal can suck down a serving of slow-smoked baby back ribs ($9.99 for half, $17.99 for full), then swath taste buds in heaping scoops of gelato, available in an array of flavors, such as blackberry, chocolate, and victory (small $2.99, large $3.99).
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 doors of Lena’s Original Pizza & Sub Shop have been open since 1945, and little has changed since then. The pizzas, sub sandwiches, and homemade pasta dishes are all still made fresh to order. One thing that has changed? Lena’s window décor—the eatery has racked up "Waltham's Best" awards for 15 years running. Built on regular, whole wheat, or thick, square, Sicilian-style crusts, Lena's pizzas can be customized with the customer's choice of toppings, though the list of 21 specialty pizzas––meatball pomodoro, bacon double cheeseburger, white buffalo––is sure to speak to more adventurous appetites. Sub sandwiches are stuffed with classic ingredients like tuna salad, pastrami, or turkey or specialty fillings like chicken margarita, steak tips, and hand-breaded haddock, and party subs can be built up to six feet long, big enough to feed 30 guests or fill one giant, oblong pinata. Of course, Lena's also has dinner covered: warm garlic bread accompanies a number of homemade pasta dishes, from chicken pesto to classic spaghetti and meatballs, and cooks fire up the charcoal grill to create marinated chicken or steak-tip dinners.