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Santarpios in East Boston

Best Pizza in North America

By: Charles Giuliano - 10/01/2007

During that last visit to Santarpios Pizza, in East Boston, Joya Santarpio, my former art history student back in the day at Salem State, gave me a hug. Just like she always did over the years. She was surprised when I told her that we were selling the house, leaving East Boston where we lived for thirteen years, and moving to the Berkshires.

"You'll be back" she said. Well, yeah, fer sure. In my dreams at least as has been the case all too often. Haven't had a decent pie since the end of June when we finally emptied the house after those grueling weekly round trips of loading a truck and van. It knocked the stuffing out of us and we ended up in the Berkshires around the beginning of July with a sea of boxes to navigate. 

During a visit to Hudson, New York, this summer we made the fatal mistake of getting a pizza at Baba Louie's (now also in Pittsfield) a fancy dancy place. I should have walked out on the spot when the menu touted whole wheat crust. Good heavens. And all these toppings from hell. Like new age pizza with goat cheese and arugula or some god awful stuff. Fugeddahboutit. The crust was tough and almost broke my molars. And it was expensive which didn't seem to bother anyone as the joint was packed with patrons. But, what do they know. They've obviously never been to Santarpios. Which is like having a Philly cheese steak in Philly, a Po Boy in the Crescent City, clams at Woodman's in Ipswich, oysters and crabs in Maryland, or a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's in Montreal.

If you want real Pizza, man, you have to visit Santarpios in Easta Bost. You get there by driving through the tunnel toward Logan Airport but hang a sharp right just as you exit. Then at the light straight ahead there it is. Pizza heaven.

I took starving artists to lunch. It was a perk to the crew helping us move to the Berkshires.

The menu at Santarpios is real basic. The pies are thin crust and come in only one size. The toppings are traditional. No pineapple and ham or any of that crap. Mike is a vegetarian so we always got one with just mushroom and garlic. Then one with pepperoni, or sausage and mushrooms, and one with anchovies. Jim wanted onions but I don't like onions on pizza. Some weeks I relented. Also Santarpios serves barbecue either skewers of lamb or sausage. We always got double orders of both. It comes with great fresh bread and hot bell peppers. The guys just fell on the food and we washed it down with rounds of coke. No beer. We were working.

I should have put one in the freezer. Man do I miss that pizza. But our next one will be ordered in Italy where we will be catching the end of the Venice Biennale. It will be interesting if genuine Italian pizza, like from Italy, the old country, stacks up to Santarpios. We'll see but I ain't getting my hopes up. As to pizza in the Berkshires? Fuggeddahboutit.

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