Go to Downtown Crossing and ask the locals where to get a great slice of pizza. They will most likely point you toward the North End and tell you to take your pick of neighborhood spots. Ask the same question of people who know Cambridge, and they will send you to Pinocchio’s. Nestled in a corner of Harvard Square on Winthrop Street, this cozy pizza joint turns out slices and subs for its patrons at a furious rate.
The walls of the restaurant are covered with photos of Italy and Italian soccer squads, Harvard sports teams, news clippings, and a colorful mural depicting Pinocchio as a chef tossing slices into the mouth of the great whale. It’s an eat-and-go atmosphere where all orders are taken at the counter and seating can be tight during peak hours.
One glance behind the counter explains the crowd. On display are huge rectangles of Sicilian pizza ($2.20/slice; $3.85/any two slices) covered with healthy doses of mozzarella and peppers, mushrooms, sausage, and other toppings just waiting to be warmed and devoured on order. If you’re lucky enough to arrive when the house-specialty tomato-and-basil Sicilian pie is fresh from the oven, you’d best order it fast. And be sure to request a corner piece.
When you go to Pinocchio’s, you should have an idea what you want when you get there. The line and the gang of cooks move fast and expect the same pace from customers. Not to worry — it’ll be easier the second and third time you go, and by the fourth trip, you’ll be instructing others on proper Pinocchio’s etiquette.
Pinocchio’s, located at 74 Winthrop Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Wednesday, 11 to 1 a.m., Thursday through Saturday, 11 to 2 a.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to midnight. Call (617) 876-4897.