The VIP Lounge is a weekly Boston Globe interview of a usually D-list celebrity with some passing connection to Boston. The same eight travel-themed questions are asked of each interviewee — Aisle or window? Guilty pleasure when traveling? This week the VIP is Gary Bimonte, one of seven grandchildren of Frank Pepe, founder of the greatest pizzeria in the country, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, CT. There are now eight Pepe’s pizzeria’s in the northeast, the most recent of which opened, very successfully, in Chestnut Hill mall in Boston. Mr. Bimonte is manager of quality control, popping around to the eight restaurants to ensure the pies are up to New Haven standards. Check out his VIP Lounge interview here.
Stop in at Nick’s Original Coney Island Weiners of Fall River, MA and the first thing you’ll be asked is whether you’d like fries with your order. That’s because your fries are cut and fried to order, in a fryer reserved solely for spuds, from potatoes grown on a farm six miles away in Westport. Old-timers dress their potatoes with salt and malt vinegar, while the kids go for cheese and ketchup. However you garnish your fries, they’re the perfect accompaniment to those weiners topped with sauce made from a recipe that founder Nicholas Pappas brought with him in 1920 from Philadelphia. Read more about Nick’s hand-cut fries in this Wicked Local story.
The owners of Nick’s Famous Roast Beef of Beverly, Massachusetts have been charged with hiding about a million dollars a year for six years from the IRS (Nick’s is cash only; no credit cards accepted). The son of two of the owners has been charged with making phony register receipts to fake out the IRS. This does not look good for the future of Nick’s, one of the most respected of the dozens of roast beef sandwich purveyors north of Boston. If the owners are found guilty, what will it mean to Nick’s? Do they transfer it to a relative? Sell it? Close it? Or will they eventually be absolved? Stay tuned.
We’re big fans of the Agawam Diner of Rowley, Massachusetts. The Agawam was founded in 1940, bounced around The Bay State, and settled in a 1950s-model Fodero before resting in the town of Rowley. We’ve enjoyed dishes like hot dogs with homemade potato salad and mile-high banana pie at the Agawam but now want to return to try their chicken pie, which is good, old-fashioned chicken pie with one innovation: it’s served upside down. Also, it’s been named one of the country’s five best diner dishes by The Food Network. Continue reading
It sometimes seemed like it would never really happen, but all doubts have been erased: Pepe’s will be bringing their incomparable New Haven pizza to Boston in two weeks. The Mall at Chestnut Hill opening is scheduled for December 16th. The oven will be identical to the New Haven original but word is there will be new toppings and salads. The char will remain. If it’s a success, there could be further Pepe’s openings in the Boston area. For you first-time Boston visitors, here’s some advice: no matter what else you get, order a white clam pie!
For us, there is nothing as seasonally evocative — not eggnog, not strawberry shortcake, not ripe fresh-from-the-tree peaches — as cold, crisp, and fragrant fresh-pressed apple cider. The cider presses have been operating for weeks now but the apples that make up the autumn elixir are always changing, depending on what the trees are offering. Right now, cider is at its best. As Cider Hill Farm of Amesbury, Massachusetts says, “October and November ciders pick up the fruitiest, deepest, and most complex flavors.” Continue reading
Savenor’s Butcher Shop of Cambridge, MA is not listed on any “Best Burger in Boston” list. You won’t find it on one of those sprawling “Best Burgers in New England” lists from some obscure blog that pops up on your Facebook feed. They don’t even have the best burger in America. What they do have, however, is this: Savenor’s has the best burger in the universe. And it’s only available on Fridays (and now Saturdays) from noon to 3 p.m. Continue reading
The Italian-American fishing community of Gloucester, Massachusetts has sponsored an annual festival to honor the patron saint of fishermen, St. Peter, since the early 1900s. The Italian section of Gloucester will be decorated with colored lights, fifty archways, flowers, and a life-size statue of St. Peter from Wednesday, June 22nd through Sunday, June 26th. There will be five days of live musical entertainment and sporting competitions, including the famed Greasy Pole Contest and the Seine Boat Races. Continue reading
Fall River, Massachusetts is one of our favorite towns to enjoy a day grazing. From urban hot dog joints topped with sweet-spiced chili to substantial British pork pies to the Portuguese specialties emblematic of its cultural heritage, there’s no dearth of options in Fall River for the adventurous omnivore. At the end of the day’s buffet (and probably smack in the middle of it, too), a visit to one of the region’s many ice cream spots sounds like a terrific idea. Here’s a story from The Herald News detailing ten worthy candidates.
Eater spoke with Gary Bimonte of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (originally of New Haven, CT). If you are a pizza fanatic who swears by Pepe’s pies (we are and we do!), it’s required reading. Some key points: the current expansion to eight restaurants was spurred on by the fact that Frank Pepe has seven grandchildren, and one store won’t support seven families. They hope to open a new store every 18 months, reaching a total of 20-30 restaurants in the northeast (not, in our view, the “massive expansion” of the Eater headline, but significant). They’ll focus on college towns, with three to five total in the Boston region.
A regional taste recently made its first appearance on our LAF radar, at White Farms Ice Cream in Ipswich. One of their flavors is called Frozen Pudding, which we assumed was some sort of chocolate pudding-pop-like flavor. We didn’t try any. Then we saw it on other Eastern Massachusetts ice cream rosters so, curiosity piqued, we finally asked someone about it. Continue reading
There’s a rule to maple sugaring: the sap flows when daytime temperatures rise above freezing and nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. When nighttime temps stay above 32°, sugaring season is over. This time of year in the Pioneer Valley, a section of Massachusetts along the Connecticut River centered on Springfield, they are usually reaching the end of sugaring season, but consistent cold weather has meant that the local sugar bushes have only just now started to deliver their sap. Continue reading
Tripoli Bakery is a decades-old Italian/American bakery in the old Italian section of Lawrence. Most Northeast industrial cities have such a neighborhood, in varying stages of transition, and there’s usually a bakery or two that remain open. Some of these bakeries maintain the old traditions while others have seen better days. Tripoli is one of the good ones. Continue reading
In the on-again, off-again saga of Pepe’s Pizzeria‘s entry into the Boston market, the latest news is that Pepe’s (of New Haven, Connecticut, and America’s greatest pizzeria) really has found a home and really is coming. Last year, they had intended to set up shop in Brookline, until the occupant of the space they were moving into decided not to vacate. The location they found to replace it is in Chestnut Hill, in the mall, in the space formerly occupied by Papa Razzi. We relayed the news here last month but it sounded very tentative at the time. This news sounds more certain. Opening date is sometime this fall.