Daily Slice: Parziale's Bakery, Boston
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
I thought I had the pizza scene all mapped out in Boston's North End. There's Umberto's for Sicilians, Regina's for thin-crusted cheese pizzas, Ernesto's for giant gourmet topped slices, Antico Forno for brick oven pies, etc. But there was one Italian pizza staple missing from list: the bakery slice. And the missing shop I had previously overlooked, Parziale's Bakery, provides the missing piece of the pie.
According to the website, the bakery was the "first to introduce pizza to the New England area." Now that's quite a claim! The family business was opened when the Parizale patriarch, grandpa Joe, moved to the North End from Naples in 1907. In which case, that is around the time the first mention of pizza licenses are made in the US (specifically the Lombardi's pizza license of 1905). So all the more shame to only now being introduced to Parizale's.
In typical bakery style, the slices are served room temp straight from the case. The marinara style sauce judiciously covers the top of the slab and has a rich, deep tomato flavor that tastes naturally sweet from a slow cook. The cheese here provides a salty underpinning but definitely plays a supporting role to the dominate flavors of the sauce. Leaning more towards the blond end of the spectrum, the crust is of the soft, squishy bread variety that most resembles the Philadelphia style of bakery pizza known as tomato pie.
Even standing in front of the case, you could miss the pizza. For holding such a prominent place in Boston pizza history, it's a shame that the sheet tray of bakery slices are tucked in, almost like an afterthought, among the cookies, pastries, and confections. But after grabbing a slice, there is no way that this doughy square will be overlooked on future visits to the neighborhood.