Where to Union Park Pizza in the South End, in the spot that used to be Harry O’s, adjacent to the former Morse Fish Co., across from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Owners Joe and Maggie Sylva were out walking last year when they saw that it was vacant, inquired, signed a lease, and rolled up their sleeves.
What for Super thin-crust pizza, by the slice or the pie, five choices, a “kid’s cheese” pie, and ingredients to build your own. Hold up a plain slice and the crust doesn’t bend or sag. A house salad is the only other menu item. Joe, who grew up in Bedford, worked for Flatbread Company for eight years, most recently at the Davis Square location.
The scene The old Harry’s was cleaned up, painted, and left quite spare. A few hanging plants in copper pots line the storefront windows, antique pizza paddles are on one wall, shelves of plants on another. The ceiling, which looks tin but isn’t, is painted silver. The place is quiet on a winter day, but with an enthusiastic cashier and pizza makers. Most diners are eating slices, which fill the thin, white scallop-edged paper plates they’re set on.
What you’re eating The limited menu includes The Standard, with red sauce, Parmesan, aged mozzarella, and fresh herbs; The Pepperoni, which is The Standard with Moody’s Deli spicy meat; The Neighborhood with sausage, ricotta, caramelized onions, Mycoterra Farm mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, lion’s mane, chestnut), and sausage; The Mags Supreme, named for Maggie, who likes an everything topping: mushrooms, red onion, green pepper, olives, spinach, pepperoni, and sausage; The Pesto Pie with Parmesan, mozzarella, and nut-free pesto. Top ingredients go into these rounds: Tomato sauce is simmered with imported Italian tomatoes, especially good salad greens come from Little Leaf Farms in Devens (started by the founder of Backyard Farms tomatoes in Maine), the flour in the dough is Italian OO flour mixed with Warthog Bread Flour from Four Star Farms in Northfield.
Care for a drink? The cooler carries sodas and water. The Sylvas are waiting to see if they can get a wine and beer license.
Overheard Talk of government shutdown, financial insecurity, and what makes a perfect slice. “My friend is furloughed and not enjoying himself,” says a diner to his tablemate. “I know a guy who’s a contractor and won’t get a cent of back pay,” says another. “What would you do with weeks off and no pay? I’d clean out all my closets and sell things on eBay.” “I’d start driving for Lyft, except even with GPS I find some areas very confusing. Customers don’t like it when you drive around in circles.” “Oh, are you from New York? You fold your slice in half.” “I’m trying to fold it in half except it’s too firm.” “If the pizza is great, if you hold it up, the tip doesn’t dip down.” “Bostonians have such strong opinions about pizza and how to eat it.” “You don’t?”
1405 Washington St., South End, Boston, 617-855-1100, www.unionparkpizza.com