Spending my formative years in Florida, Hungry Howie’s pizza was the go-to for my family. Sure, it’s a chain, but the pizza comes with your choice of flavored crust! You really can’t go wrong with a cheesy pizza with a garlic butter crust. One of my friends from Maryland would rave about the Hungry Howie’s flavored crust and make it a point to order some whenever she visited. When my husband and I visited the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore, we ended the night with giant slices of pizza, channeling our inner Snooki.
And now, as a mom, I’m still finding myself drawn to pizza time and time again. Because pizza, in my opinion, is one of the easiest mom hack foods. Why?
- These days, you can get crusts with veggies already in the dough.
- You can add veggies (pureed or chopped small) into the sauce
- You can layer veggies in between the sauce and the cheese
- You can sprinkle nutritional yeast on top
- You can eat it cold or hot ← (Hi, I’m Courtney, and my son has had cold bar pizza in his lunch bag)
When I first moved to Massachusetts, I had no idea there was a difference between pizza and bar pizza. I will forever remember brainstorming different menu ideas for a restaurant group I worked with for its Quincy location. The manager suggested we start making “bar pizza.” I didn’t even pretend to know what that was and asked, “Why, because it’s for people sitting at the bar?” Little did I know that this is a regional food staple that continues to thrive no matter what is happening in the world.
So what is bar pizza? It’s a personal-style, thin-crust pizza cooked in a deep steel pan.
It doesn’t stop there, though. You can order it “laced” — aka, sauce is put around the crust and burned on the edges. You can even ask for it “well done,” where the bottom is crisped to perfection. Bar pizza slices also lack the flop, meaning you can hold it up and not find your toppings slipping off.
One of my first bar pizza experiences was at a restaurant in Pembroke called Poopsie’s. My mother-in-law ate it when she was pregnant with my husband, he loves it, and it holds the first place spot on his bar pizza ranking. Despite COVID restrictions, they still have an hours-long wait for takeout. There are fewer tables inside and the Pac-Man machine is stored away, but the charm is still there and the pizza is still delicious.
We’ve become a bit obsessed with trying new bar pizzas. We’ve ventured to J’s Flying Pizza, which is made in someone’s garage. We’ve tried Facebook-recommended Johnny Kono’s (yes, there is a bar pizza Facebook group). Boxes are optional, as this pizza usually comes neatly wrapped in brown paper bags like a gift ready to be unwrapped.
Bar pizza is like the little black dress of dining.
You can dress it up with a glass of champagne or keep it grounded with a cold beer. It’s great for families or for eating solo. Its slices are perfect for little hands to enjoy and feel like they’re eating like the grown-ups. It’s a comfort food and a casual food, and it can be enjoyed hot or cold!