Will Wood-Fire Oven Restaurants Battle for Business? Can Marino's, Bertucci's and the New CPK All Survive?

The Yuppification of Pizza Changes the Face Of the Harvard Square Dining Out Scene

For some years now, Harvard Square has been known as a haven for ice cream lovers and bookstore aficionados.

Now, with the opening of two new area restaurants that specialize in wood-fire cooking--raising the total to three--the Square may well become a hot spot for wood-fire cooking lovers as well.

While Bertucci's has been at its home on Brattle Street for five years, both the California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) across from the Charles Hotel and Caffe Marino in Holyoke Center have recently opened their doors to the public.

All boast wood-fired cooking as a featured specialty. It would seem that the war of the wood-burning stoves, coming close on the heels of the specialty coffee turf struggle and the all-natural personal beauty products battle, is on.

Satisfying Different Palates

But staff at all three establishments say no cease-fire will be necessary. "CPK has a totally different style from us," Peter Sliker, Bertucci's assistant manager said.

"We serve more traditional, authentic Italian-style food," Sliker said. Bertucci's focuses on tried and true Italian recipes, Sliker said; CPK's melanzana pizza, with eggplant, and marengo pizza, with roasted peppers, sells best.

Fred Oram, the general manager at CPK, agreed that CPK and Bertucci's satisfy different markets. "Unlike Bertucci's, we're California from the crust up."

California pizza, Oram said, is known for its multiculturalism. "We have individual sizes and unique toppings," Oram said. "Most of what we serve is not so traditional."

For example, CPK serves such delicacies as Peking Duck Pizza and Rosemary Chicken Potato Pizza.

As for Caffe Marino? Despite sporting a brick oven as part of its logo, it doesn't serve brick-oven pizza. In fact, Caffe Marino doesn't have a brick oven at all.

"We serve wood-fired rotisserie chicken," Ron Palermo, Caffe Marino's general manager said. "You can't get brick-oven pizza here."

However, Caffe Marino's fresh food, all grown at the Marino Lookout Farm in Natick, served inexpensively and quickly will build up a cadre of loyal, "knowing customers," Palermo said.

"Also, we get a lot of people eating here who work at Holyoke Center," Palermo said. "I guess it's convenient."

The Yuppification of Pizza

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