Still A Neighborhood Tradition – We Return After An Extended Absence
By The BaldOne
On the corner of Margin Street and Endicott Street, a quite prominent Salem spot sits the Salem House of Pizza. Every town seems to have a house of pizza. The menus are generally similar from town to town. Pizza, sandwiches, pasta plates, steak tips and chicken wings, salads, and more. They tend to be an all things for all people sort of stop
The one aspect of these places that makes them different than the many other pizza and sandwich places is the pizza style. Instead of an Italian, or Sicilian, or deep-dish style pie they usually specialize in what my generation calls a Greek Pizza. The difference being the dough style. It usually isn’t super thin, the crust around the edge is generally uniform and evenly cooked, and a bit of a crunch when you bite it is expected.
We had not been into Salem House Of Pizza for a few years, well maybe more like six years. We were overdue, and so on a sunny afternoon we wandered down past the Post Office and made our way to see what we could see.
The exterior has not changed much. Parking in front of a building set back at an angle with the big house of pizza sign across the top.
Once we began to enter the changes became obvious. The door is now more towards the Endicott Street side and there is a handicapped accessible ramp. Sometimes progress is good. Inside the shop the counter is now more towards the middle of the room and the entire space is brighter and cleaner than we remember.
We started with a slice of cheese pizza at just under $2. A slice of pepperoni comes in at a bit over $2. They are not the large 1/4 slices that have become cool in other places but that is still a good price.
The Ziti with Meatballs was the entree of choice. The young lady behind the counter asked if we wanted cheese melted on top and we could not resist that offer. The ziti comes with garlic bread which also has cheese and was listed at $7.75.
A table against the wall where we could watch the TV was selected. Playing was one of the Spiderman movies. Don’t ask which one. We set everything up so as to take some photos and waited as our meal was prepared.
The slice of cheese pizza came first. We noticed that it had a good amount of cheese, but some sauce was visible. That is our preference. As much we like melted cheese a slice of pizza needs to have some sauce on it. Hiding the sauce usually indicates a poor sauce. The slice was hot, but not scalding. A decent sharpness was present in the cheese and the dough had a slight crunch. The slice did not sag at the end as it was brought to the mouth. The sauce was a revelation. Through a slight sweetness you could taste the oregano. It didn’t overpower, it was just there. The sauce on the pizza was the highlight of the day.
As Spiderman was enticing some young lady to climb up into his web the Ziti & Meatballs came out. Two things were obvious as soon as it hit the table. There was a lot of melted cheese, and there were six, yes six good sized meatballs. As we pierced the cheese with the fork, steam rose quickly. This dish would need to cool.
A minute or two was spent mixing the ziti and the cheese to help it cool and spread the flavors and texture around a bit. We also cut a couple of the meatballs up. They cut easily with the plastic knife.
The pasta was cooked a little past al dente and the sauce was a good marinara. It was not at all the same sauce as they use on the pizza. We like that. Sauces can be interchangeable, but it is better when they are not. Each dish has its own requirement even in this Salem House Of Pizza.
We liked the meatballs. They had some flavor and did not have the rubbery texture of a meatball that has been hanging around too long. We did not ask if they make them in-house, but will ask on a later date.
If you haven’t visited these guys lately, give them a try. Don’t let past experience rule the day. Only you know what you like, so don’t take my word for it. They are after all, our Salem House Of Pizza.