Food & dining

Quick Bite

At Mortadella Head, you can go wild

The “Mortadella Head” sandwich with potato chips and giadiniera.
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
The “Mortadella Head” sandwich with potato chips and giadiniera.

Where to Mortadella Head in Davis Square, a quasi-Italian venture from Boston Burger Company’s Charles Sillari and Sebastian Fricia.

What for Boston Burger Company serves eccentrically topped burgers with things like peanut butter and fried bananas; Mortadella Head has a similar philosophy when it comes to lavishly accessorized sandwiches, fries, and rectangular, Roman-style pizzas.

The scene Easygoing. Small. The soundtrack is synth-y, brassy jazz, like the opening shots from a 1970s cop show. A dude behind the counter dons a leather jacket and fastens his hood, prepping to make a big delivery. College students in wooly hats gather at a window-front table, discussing airfare. Messages are artfully written on the walls: I Came, I Saw, I Ate and Wanna Pizza Me? This place doesn’t take itself too seriously — hence the name.

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What you’re eating Meals that would make 1970s Elvis Presley blush. This is the type of haunt every college town needs, one of those restaurants where it’s possible to overdo it late at night, combining ingredients that one might regret in the harsh morning light. (They deliver, and Tufts is not far.) Top your pizza with sauerkraut, French fries, scrambled eggs, honey, iceberg lettuce — “go wild,” the menu suggests. Or choose from more than 25 signature sandwiches, served with chips and pickled vegetables, on breads from Winter Hill Bakery: The namesake Mortadella Head, a chicken cutlet topped with fried eggplant, roasted red peppers, mortadella, ricotta, vodka sauce, and provolone, is their signature. There are also many varieties of fries, from Disco (mozzarella, gravy) to Rhode Rage (fried calamari, banana peppers) to Mayflower (turkey, fried stuffing, cranberry sauce). If all this leaves you overwhelmed, saunter up to the counter and point at a husky, square display slice for $5.50: Buffalo chicken coated in creamy gorgonzola; mortadella and brie; BLT with a crisscross of mayonnaise drizzle. If you’re somehow desirous of dessert, there is fried dough.

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Care for a drink? Grab waters or soda from a little cooler up front.

Overheard Improbable orders; weather woes; airfare agitation. A young woman approaches the counter. “May I have the Baller, please?” she says sweetly. A woman behind the counter wonders where the lettuce for the BLT pizza has gone. “I knew it was missing something,” she says when her colleague arrives with a bowl of it. A group of students greet a classmate and bemoan the upcoming forecast: sleet and snow. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” says one. “It’s impossible to fly in December. My sister won’t visit me,” someone else complains. An employee sings the praises of pastrami to a customer. “We make it in-house!” he says.

20 College Ave., Davis Square, Somerville, 617-996-6680,
mortadellahead.com

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.