The title of this blog was the first thing that came to mind after my trip down to NJ this past weekend. We went to a very large, very ornate, very expensive, VERY “NJ Italian” wedding. Lots of food, lots of drink, lots of fun!
For the heck of it, I looked up “Bada Bing” on Wikipedia. Aside from being a go-go bar (a true NJ-ism) in the Soprano’s, it is also used as an exclamation to emphasise that something will happen effortlessly and predictably. That’s what this wedding was… effortless and predictable… in a good way!
On the way back through (my home town) of Flemington, NJ, I couldn’t resist stopping at Frank’s Pizza to order a large cheese pie to go. Frank’s pizza is the best (and my personal favorite) in the area. I feel compelled to have at least a slice every time we go down to see my family. Funny thing is, one time I ordered a “cheese pie” from our local pizza place in West Roxbury and they had NO IDEA what the hell I was talking about. I guess it’s a Jersey thing.
Speaking of which, why is this blog relevant to dining in Boston? Well I’ll tell you… coming from NJ where Pizza is KNOWN to be good, I have struggled for over 10 years to find a pizza place that even comes close in comparison to “Jersey Pizza”. To be honest (and I may offend a bunch of you), I have yet to find one. I don’t know what it is, but the pizza in NJ is just so much better than everywhere else we’ve been (except NYC). I’ve thought about this a lot of over the last decade and believe it’s a combination of several things… the sauce, the crust and the fact that all pizza in NJ is made by Italian’s rather than Greek’s (as it is here in MA)…and there may be a bit of nostalgia and homesickness thrown in there as well.
In any case, most pizza in this area is mediocre at best. Much of it actually sucks… I mean, how hard is it to make pizza? I will say that I have actually found a few places where I truly enjoy the pizza. Thus… the purpose of this blog post is to share these locations with you.
If you are from the NY/NJ/PA area and you really miss that traditional, thin crust (not crunchy), sloppy pizza from home, try Deno’s Pizza in West Roxbury. While this place is not Italian, there thin-crust pizza is as good as it gets in the area. The sauce is good, the crust is pretty good and they deliver. If you don’t live close to West Roxbury, I also enjoy Cafe Pizzeria Regina — a long-time North End favorite. It’s Italian and pretty good… but still not as good as home! If all else fails, believe it or not, one pizza that comes close to NJ-style is Sbarro’s (yes, the food court chain!). That said… it’s not worth the almost $3/slice unless you really have a hankering!
If it’s just GOOD PIZZA you want and it doesn’t need to “be like home”, then you must try Bill’s Pizzeria in Newton Centre. I love this place. The crust is a little thicker than I usually prefer, but it’s very tasty and has the thinnest layer of crunch on the very bottom. The toppings they offer are interesting and gourmet… my personal favorite combo is caramelized onions and pineapple (my own concoction). Sound gross? Just try it… it’s delicious! They don’t deliver to West Roxbury, but it’s worth the drive… plus, you can actually order online! About a year ago, they acquired the space next to them… doubling their seating area… so it’s a great place for take-out or dine-in and was pretty kid-friendly last time we were there.
I also love Figs for pizza and was very disappointed when the spot in Chestnut Hill closed. Now you need to go to Beacon Hill or Charlestown. One cool thing about their website is that you can get some actual pizza recipes (including their famous crust). I remember once having a pizza there that was topped with arugula, fried rock shrimp and crispy onion strings… it was absolutely delicious!
Lastly, I have a heard a lot of great things about the Upper Crust. I have not been to one yet, but I am dying to try it out. They have won Best of Boston several times and have many locations. When feasible (like in Brookline and on Newbury Street), they actually deliver their pizza via bicycle… a very green mode of transportation indeed!