Pizza for the Masses

Okay, it's around midnight and you're hungry. What do you do? If you're a true American youth, you'll head for the junk food. And the Square is replete with junk food, particularly that all-American favorite, pizza. Some people, you know, just don't feel their days (or nights) are complete unless they get to fry the roofs of their mouths with hot tomato sauce and gooey cheese. So for those fanatics, and even for normal folks who like to challenge their alimentary canals now and then, here's the scoop on pizzerias in the Square and environs.

Joe's Pizza--Linden St. Once upon a time there was this guy named Joe who owned a pizzeria across Mass Ave from the Yard. Joe was, to put it mildly, something of an eccentric--he drove a hearse to work, for example. And he decorated his place with portraits of all the presidents, an incredibly tacky nude, and a salute to Christopher Columbus (the godfather of pizza, apparently). Oh yeah, he also served pizza, and would, on request, launch into half-English, half-Italian tirades about anything and nothing. His pizza was something less than great--greasy, soggy and altogether none too appetizing, but people used to go there, because Joe himself was worth the price of admissions.

One day about two years ago, Joe revved up his hearse and cruised on to new adventures. He left his legacy, though, and so his little pizzeria, conveniently situated above Felix's Shoe Repair, still serves the worst pizza in town to a dwindling number of loyalists. If you want to eat in solitude, try Joe's but if you want to eat good pizza, go somewhere else. The subs, however, are pretty good, particularly the veal parmigiana. But the place just isn't the same without Joe...

Harvard Pizza--Plympton St. at Mt. Auburn. This is the median of pizzerias: Roman Hruska, former senator from Nebraska and author of a famous speech in defense of mediocrity, would love this place. It serves the standard American pizza--hot, cheesy and with a tasty crust--but it's nothing special. The folks behind the counter are affable though, and the place features a tiny television perched atop the Coke machine. That tube is always, come hell, high water or the Yale game, and it's usually tuned to either a ballgame (if one is on) or re-runs of The Munsters. You won't be disappointed, but you won't be pleasantly surprised, either.

Pinocchio's--Eliot St. near Boylston St. Here it is fans, the best pizza in the Square. Somehow these guys do it just right every time...perfect crust, just the right combination of cheese and sauce, and always expertly cooked. You can't beat it, even if it is a little expensive, and often very crowded.


Bel Canto's--Mass Ave near City Hall, Pizza for the hip. Not hip as in pelvis, kids; hip as in Definitely worth a try, but be forwarned--the is the pizza of the '70s, and it's really good. Where else can you get a deep-dish whole wheat-crust pizza topped with (mmm) walnuts and broccoli? Nowhere! Seriously, though, Bel Canto's offers an interesting, tasty and rather expensive variation on the all-American dish. Definitely worth a try but be forewarned--the place is tiny, the service is slow, and at peak times you have to wait a while before you can even order. It's worth it.

Three Aces--Mass Ave past the Holiday Inn. Avoid.

33 Dunster St.--Dunster St. (of course). The best non-pizzeria pizza around, although it's expensive and only comes in cheese (sorry, anchovy fans). 33-D, as the preppies call it, has an atmosphere of its own--see Bars--and some of the best action around