A decades-old pizzeria that few seem to know about
The Greater Boston area is home to a number of very old pizzerias, including such well-known spots as Santarpio’s in East Boston, Regina’s in the North End, and the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, along with some slightly lesser-known places such as Denly’s in Weymouth, Bianchi’s at Revere Beach, and the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale. There are also some great pizza spots that are almost completely unknown outside of their respective neighborhoods, including a tiny little place in East Watertown called Stella’s Pizza. And “Seinfeld” jokes aside, this Mount Auburn Street gem rivals some of the best that the region has to offer, but for some reason, even after more than a half century in business, it doesn’t seem to get the credit that it deserves.
Stella’s really doesn’t look like much from the outside, and in fact it is very easy to miss as it is just one of many little independent storefronts found in the Coolidge Square section of Watertown. It also tends to look like the countless houses of pizzas and sub shops scattered throughout the Boston area, which can easily mislead people into thinking that this is a Greek pizza spot (it isn’t). The interior is as unassuming as the exterior, as Stella’s is really more of a takeout spot with a few booths inside, a counter where customers place their orders/do pickup, and a small area by the front window where workers can be seen making the pizza dough. Perhaps the only thing of interest about Stella’s space is the rather old-school Coca-Cola sign above the entrance, which hints that this place has been around awhile, and it has, having first opened back in 1961.
As hinted at earlier, while Stella’s looks like it could be a Greek pizza spot, looks can be deceiving, as the pizza here is closer in style to the aforementioned Regina’s, Bianchi’s, and Denly’s. It is difficult to find pizza similar to the thin-crust style found in New York, but the pizza here isn’t all that far off, with the pies having slices that are foldable and with a good amount of char and bubbles from the very hot gas-fired oven. Three sizes are available, with the small being 12 inches, the large being 16 inches, and the extra large being 18 inches, the latter of which is certainly of the foldable slice variety, though it is a bit more crisp than your typical New York-style pizza. (Individual pizza slices are also available.) Plain and pepperoni are good options at Stella’s, which ultimately makes simple pies, but the margherita with ricotta and basil is also an excellent choice. For those who would rather opt for something other than pizza, you can also get calzones and sandwiches here, along with salads, wings, onion rings, fries, and a few other items.
Stella’s doesn’t have the name recognition that Regina’s and Santarp’s have, but you know what? If you ate all three pizzas side by side (and wouldn’t that be fun), this little spot would certainly hold its own against its much more famous competitors. If you don’t mind doing takeout—or you’re OK with sitting in a basic space with little in the way of atmosphere—Stella’s is really tough to beat.
STELLA’S PIZZA. 605 MT. AUBURN ST., WATERTOWN. STELLASPIZZA.COM
Marc is the founder of @hiddenboston, a textbook editor, a hike leader for @AppMtnClub, and a food and travel writer and commenter for DigBoston, NBC/NECN, WBZ, WMFO and indie617.