By Jorge Calderon
It is one of the top pizza restaurants in New England and one of the oldest in Boston still ran by a family member, Santarpio’s Pizza. Located in one side of the city that has as much history as the restaurant itself, yes we are talking about East Boston or Eastie as it is also commonly referred. The intersection of Porter St. and Chelsea Ave. is the actual location of the restaurant which has been around since 1903. A trip to visit this amazing place is as easy as to get on the train from any point in Boston and head over to Maverick station in the blue line. Maverick station is named after Samuel Maverick who was one of the first residents in the area back in the early 1600’s. Once at Maverick Station, take a stroll on Chelsea Ave for about four blocks and you are there, the place is also accessible by car. The restaurant depicts nothing else but a two story building, an old structure with two entrances, one to the kitchen on the side of Porter St. and the main entry on Chelsea Ave. Upon inside the restaurant, you are welcome by a classic blackboard announcing the specials for the day. The inside of the restaurant makes you feel as if you are in a set or being are part of an Old Italian mafia family movie. It is incredible the feeling that you get in your skin. The place is as if time has never passed. As soon as you step in, the bar awaits for you, it is not modern but is stocked with the popular and finest rums, whiskeys, vodkas and a good beer selection. The decoration of the walls is filled with picture frames from some of the most famous patrons that have visited the restaurants such as, The Sopranos and others. The wall also shows the different awards given by the Boston Magazine. The restaurant offers two seating areas, the bar or a restaurant booth. The bar is comfortable with stools and the booth do their job. The menu includes some delicatessens that are hard not order. Bostonians and public in general have been savoring their brick oven Italian pizza since the 1930’s. The previous year’s Santarpio’s was a bakery. For pizza, they have an ample selection of pizzas such as Italian cheese, sausage and garlic, Italian cheese, mushrooms, onions and peppers and the Works, which includes: mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic, sausage, pepperoni, extra cheese and anchovies among others. Whether you are seating at the bar or the booths, you cannot pass ordering some tapas: Lamb skewers, the famous homemade sausages or the steak tips, which are to die for. All of them are prepared upon order on the grill next to the bar. Funny thing, you can order food to go but you have to wait in the kitchen. All servings include a piece of freshly baked Italian bread and some olives to accompany your meats. Two things to keep in mind, the first one is that they do not accept credit cards, cash only. The other one is that if you forget your cell phone, you don’t have to worry about, they have an old payphone. The service, is fabulous. When asked one of the bartenders (who decline to say his name) what is the secret to the restaurant continuous success, he said that over the years, they keep treating their patrons equally, he said “we don’t care how much money, title, position or how famous or poor you are, we treat everyone the same”. However, he concluded in a jokingly tone “if you treat us like shit, you don’t even get bread from us” He smiled!
Jorge Calderon, visit to Santarpio’s. Photos taken by Jorge Calderon