The Boston Phoenix
December 18 - 25, 1997

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Emma's Pizza

The quest for the perfect crust

On the Cheap by Danielle Svetcov

"The crust drives people crazy," says David, the lanky pizza man with the salt-and-paprika beard rolling out dough at Emma's Pizza. "They can't figure out how I do it." And to think, David had never even made pizza before snatching up the barbershop-size eatery near Fresh Pond two years ago. His paper-thin crust bubbles up crispy along the edges; even weighed down with gorgonzola, Yukon gold potatoes, mozzarella, broccoli, garlic, and red peppers (a house favorite combo), it's chewy, not soggy, in the middle. And then there are the sharply flavored tomato sauces -- one accented with fresh rosemary, the other with garlic and basil -- brushed on just thick enough to mingle with, rather than overpower, the eclectic toppings (of which there are nearly 40 to choose from). The mushrooms in the "mystery" mushroom pie are infused with flavor from visible strips of fresh basil and bits of garlic and cracked black pepper. Plain cheese pizzas cost $8 to $10; extra toppings are $1.25 to $1.75 apiece. Many customers call ahead for takeout, but if you're lucky you can snag one of the five red stools and chat with the smiling pizza cooks as they slide their pies around the deck oven. Maybe it's the way the screen door wheezes shut; maybe it's the old-fashioned cash register, or the crayon-decorated pizza boxes that deck the walls, but you'll end up lingering.

Emma's Pizza, located at 370 Huron Avenue, in North Cambridge, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. Call (617) 864-8534.

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