Wicked Pissah

I’m out here in Boston during this lovely Nor’Easter. As a true-hearted girl from Minny, it’s my duty to throw a few What’s-The-Big-Deals around and trudge through the slush in just a fleece declaring the 33 degrees to be a bit "balmy". I wear my Northern pride and January birthday like a fierce badge.

But on to the eats…

Last week, the city happily basked in warmer than normal weather, which made it the perfect walking city. I had pizza on the brain and my local pal Alex told me to walk to the North End and find Regina’s.

The North End is the Little Italy of Boston. Down the main drag of Hanover Street, little restaurants and pastry shops glow through the late hours, welcoming locals and tourists alike. Despite the bright neon and hanging Christmas lights, the North End feels less of a tourist trap than Mulberry St. in NYC. We had to ask a few locals for directions to Regina as it wasn’t on the main street.

The side streets in the North End are crooked and twisty, just like you want them to be. We passed apartment buildings that were so close together that we imagined neighbors hanging out the windows having a chat. In the middle of a five-way intersection, on the corner of Thacher Street we found Regina’s.

Since 1926, Regina’s has been serving up brick-oven pizza. Walking into the dingy, tightly packed room, that seemed evident. The room was covered with black and white photographs showing stern waitresses and proud pizza cooks. The yellow walls were framed with woodwork that had seen many coats of dark paint and the booth tops were marked from years of hungry patrons waiting for their pizza.

We were brusquely waved to a booth that could seat two larger people, or four in a pinch (we smashed in, we’re low-maintenance like that). Three waitresses worked the room and managed to deliver drinks and take orders while holding a converstion with each other, at top voice. Before we even got our taps of Moretti and Peroni (we’d ordered bottles, but whatever, beer is beer), we’d heard about how one girl had taken a few days off and the others had begrudgingly covered her shifts. "It’s a wicked pissah when you can’t even say thanks!" she shouted as she dropped our pizzas on the table.

The pies were beautiful. The Pomodoro Formaggio was covered with dappled cheese and freshly torn leaves of basil. It was simple and salty and completely fresh. The Capricciosa was an ode to the perfect bite with a mouthful of fluffy ricotta, soft mushroom, prosciutto and their wonderfully tangy tomato sauce. With just a touch of char of the bottom, the crust held a nice balance between soft and crunchy.

Our waitress sloshed a measure of beer from the glasses as she plonked down our second round. We were left to deal with it, and we did. When the barman told her it was last call, she turned to the room and to all of us shouted "You done, right?" A couple of hands shot up for a few more Buds and we paid our bill. Walking out, the pizza man in the kitchen shouted a Thanks as he threw another disc of dough into the air, and we left Regina feeling great.

Regina Pizza has grown into a local chain with quite a few locations. I don’t know if any of them could live up to the night we had on Thacher Street, so I’m afraid I’ll have to pass them by. What a wicked pissah.