Food & dining

North End’s Galleria Umberto wins James Beard America’s Classics award

Customers line up at Galleria Umberto.
Lane Turner/Globe Staff/file
Customers line up at Galleria Umberto.

Chances are you’ve stood in line for one of their hubcap-size, spongy squares of Sicilian pizza. And chances are it’s been worth it, even if you did take a longer-than-planned lunch.

Now the James Beard Foundation has honored the North End’s Galleria Umberto with an America’s Classics award. The award recognizes regional restaurants, often family-owned, which have “quality food, local character, and lasting appeal.” Think of the James Beard awards as the Oscars of the food world. Sub in “Martin Scorsese” for “Galleria Umberto,” and you get the idea.

The restaurant has outlived many neighborhood businesses: It started as a bakery in 1965 and launched its current iteration in 1974. In a restaurant landscape that’s constantly changing, the restaurant’s recipe for success is simple: Pizza, arancini, and calzones, served midday for cash, not credit, until the food runs out.

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“It’s always nice to get an award, a prestigious one. Usually you don’t expect an award like this, because we’re not high-end. We’re just a family business: We prepare our food, sell it, and clean up after,” says owner Paul Deuterio. “We try to please our customers, and we try to be polite.”

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Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com.