Bob Dylan, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and writer-producer David Simon are in good company. They love Matthew's Pizza. The popular pizzeria was founded in 1943 by Matthew Cacciolo, who brought his recipes from his native Italy. Says current owner Chris Maler (whose uncle Jesse Cox is a partner): "We like to say that he built the foundation, and we built the house."
When Pete Coruzzi came from Abruzzi, Italy, in 1966 to join his brother, John, as a partner in Pizza John's, the Essex spot was 600-square feet with no ventilation system. Customers would faint from the heat, recalls Coruzzzi. These days, customers simply swoon over the scrumptious pizzas with homemade sauce and dough made daily. Says Coruzzi: "Our philosophy has always been to stay consistent."
BOP Brick Oven Pizza
Cheese steak and mac and cheese—anything goes on BOP pizzas. "The sky is the limit," Michael Beckner says. But the best pizza comes from making dough the traditional way, he says. Practice has made perfect. "Domino's [Pizza] did a survey on how many pizzas they've sold," he says. "It inspired us to figure out we've sold roughly one billion pizzas!"
One night in the summer of 2005, Joe Edwardsen and roommate Joe LaRosa talked about opening a pizza place. "We named the place Joe Squared since there were two of us." Within days, LaRosa decided to keep his day job as a computer programmer, but Edwardsen says, "I liked the name, so I made it work by making the pizzas square."
Lisa Heckman's pizzas were born out of using whatever she had on hand. "Most of the pizzas came out of leftovers found in my fridge," she says. "The duck-confit pizza came about because I was making a ravioli filling and tried putting it on pizza." There's an invisible ingredient, too. "It sounds corny, but every pizza is cooked with a lot of love," she says.