Soy milk, sprouted oats, and organic red kale are all fine and good, but even the most health-conscious eater plays host to an inner grease monster that stirs from time to time. Itís a good thing, then, that once youíve finished stocking up at Whole Foods, you can scoot across the street to Riverside Pizza.
Still standing in the spot itís occupied for the past 20 years, Riverside represents a rapidly disappearing breed of eatery: the neighborhood pizza joint. The guys behind the counter ask customers about their kids as they scramble skillfully between fryer and grill, oven and cash register. Itís the kind of place we all hoped to go to for a friendís birthday party, complete with a gumball machine full of M&Mís, a sticker dispenser offering sparkly horses and cartoon icons, and, of course, a thin-crusted slice ($1.75) that undoubtedly has a familyís cherished dough-kneading secret behind it. These arenít quite the nouvelle slabs youíll find at more haute kitchens, but with options like the Greek pizza smothered with pepper, onion, mushroom, tomato, feta, and olives ($9.25 small/$13 large), why sacrifice Riversideís homey grit for a gourmet wait?
Here, tradition is king across the board. You can get your heaping plate of spaghetti or ziti with basic tomato sauce ($5.75), eggplant ($7), or the old meatball standby ($6.75). Subs cover the gamut of deli meats and an intriguing assortment of other options, like pepper and egg ($3.75/$5) and crabmeat ($4.35/$5.50). Seafood, you say? If you close your eyes and chow down on the fish and chips ($7.50) or clam-strip plate ($7.50), you could probably convince yourself that youíre at a waterfront oyster shack (without the nuisance of sand). No nuisance, either, if youíre struck by the urge to knock back a cold one: owners Apostolos and Alex Goulopoulos also operate the adjoining bar. If you head next door but havenít had your fill of charcoal-broiled steak tips ($9 with Greek salad and fries), a waitress will bring your order to you.
So go ahead and stock up on meatless-salami slices, non-GMO protein powder, imported fromage blanc, and locally harvested endive. Then sit back and celebrate how well you treat your body with a good old-fashioned slice.
Riverside Pizza, located at 305 River Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call (617) 354-8800.