Pizza is a food to revel in, to rejoice at. Italian, Greek, golden brown or even cold, it's the friendliest of foods. Were there a God, there would be no more dry cleaners or used record stores, only pizzerias.
And by that reckoning Harvard and environs is about as close as you can get to the pearly gates. For $3, there are pizza places at every turn. Many come from the traditional model--white signs with red letters and owners named Kelly. But some are truly superlative.
If you call Pinnochio's (74 Winthrop St.) and order a pizza, the man at the other end of the phone will say "numma sity-fif," which is your number, necessary for collection of the pie. "Ten, fifteen minutes," he will add. It will always take at least 15 minutes, but Pinnochio's is worth the wait. The pacesetter in the Square, Pinnochio's serves consistently well-cooked pizza, and offers generous portions at reasonable prices. There used to be two Pinnochio's, but Harvard, landlord at one of the locations, decided it had other plans for the building. It is still vacant, a gastronomic loss of despairing proportions.
Harvard Pizza, just back of the Lampoon Castle, is open late almost every night. Should you be strolling past late one Saturday night and see activity inside, go in. Pizza spread out on formica, the t.v. on top of the Coke machine, this is the only place to watch Saturday Night Live.
Traveling farther afield, the city's only high school--one block east of Harvard Yard--is ringed by pizza places. Black students congregate at one and whites frequent another, but late nights both Angelos and Mass House of Pizza are accessible to all. Get a roast beef sub at Angelos, then wander across the high school campus for a large cheese pie at "Mass House of."
Down Mass Ave toward Central Square, Bel Canto cooks the currently chic deep dish pizzas. This is plain and simple gluttony, and to compound the crime, Bel Canto features limousine liberal toppings like broccoli, raisins and spinach. Pretty soon they'll be using brie cheese.
The Deep Dish cult hit Boston last year too. Straight from the Italian metropolis of Chicago, Pizzeria Uno took fish city by strom with a massive media blitz. Now you have to line up on Boylston St. near Copley Square even to get inside, much less get a seat. And only to be greeted by a soggy mass of heated tomato puree.
But Boston does boast some of the best real pizza in Monroe Doctrine precincts. The North End--the Italian section--Six Flags Over Italian Cuisine, an amusement park for the palate. The best pizza, the best beer, the best atmosphere--all belong to Regina's, the uncontested queen of North End fare.
Regina's features highbacked wooden benches, draft beer, a crowded floor alive with Italian chatter. It also often features a 15-minute wait, but it's worth it. Eat huge pizzas, with deliciously seasoned crispy-but-doughy crust. Pour on the hot peppers. Live a little. Die happy, and go to the Hanover St. in the sky with a bloated smile on your face.
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