The truth is that we don’t write about pizza nearly enough. Considering that pies made of tomato and cheese account for approximately half of the food consumed by reporters, you’d think that we would take it much more seriously. With that said, no two slices are the same, and this is an attempt to hold a few of our faves up to the light. It’s by no means the first time that we’ve put pizzerias head-to-head, and it won’t be the last either. In fact, we already have a sequel lined up in which we will be comparing some of the best Sicilian slices around town (for those who haven’t been to New York City, those are the thick and delicious square ones). But for now, without further ado, here’s our quick spotlight on Mission Hill. -Dig editors
Crispy Dough Pizzeria (1514 Tremont St, Boston)
Evenings on Mission Hill would not be the same without the warm glow that emanates year-round from the glass facade of Crispy Dough Pizzeria. A neighborhood institution, Crispy Dough functions as an oasis at night; on a busy evening, the sound of customers bunched inside carries down the block. One of only a few restaurants in the area that stays open until midnight, it routinely attracts a large and diverse crowd of everyone from students to longtime locals who hail from the front of the Hill as well as Roxbury. And then there’s the product itself.
The masses that flock to 1514 Tremont do not simply do so for its hours. The ovens in the back are manned constantly and expertly, and crank out dozens of large fresh sizzling pies with serious flavor. Especially popular among customers are the buffalo chicken, barbecue chicken, and chicken bacon ranch—sure, you can find such varieties elsewhere, but this is where the flavor is, as well as a lot of freshness. And fret not, vegans and vegetarians, the menu, which is impressively large and stretches across the majority of the wall next to the entrance, has something to accommodate virtually any customer, but not at the expense of an incredible traditional pizza experience.
Noble Roman’s Pizza & Tuscano’s Subs
One of only two restaurants located inside the Ruggles T station, Noble Roman’s Pizza & Tuscano’s Subs is a go-to destination for Orange Line commuters looking to grab a quick and affordable bite on their way to and from work. An Indianapolis-based chain, it sells a wide assortment of fresh, daily made pizzas and subs, including a seven-inch personal pie for only $5. Perhaps the most unique—and delicious—of the offerings, however, isn’t from the franchise’s official menu, and in fact isn’t pizza at all. You see, the Noble Roman’s inside Ruggles is different from most others around the country in that it sells freshly baked empanadas, in both chicken and beef varieties.
For those who may be unaware, an empanada is a baked or fried savory pastry popular in Latin American and Filipino cultures, typically stuffed with meat and/or vegetables. As far as taste goes, the ones at Noble Roman’s do a decent job at representing both the dish and the culture. Although mine seemed to be a little greasier than I expected, the first mouthful of tender beef—rich with nutmeg, cumin, garlic and a host of other flavors—offset any of my prior judgments. And I’m not alone in taking notice of the unique offering; as the staff inside reports, many customers routinely stop by in search of the empanadas.
“It’s a popular order because it’s so common in the cultures that many of our customers are a part of,” they report. “In a way, we’re helping to spread the dish to people who are not familiar with it as yet.”