Working in Boston for most of my career, I got to know the great local food places most tourists wish they knew about.

There was always one place to get pizza everyone talked about.  I thought, there's no way this place has the best pizza.  It's a pain to get to and there's no place to park.  How do people even park to pick up a "to-go" order?

My friend, who was a true local, told me to just try it.  In fact, he drove me to the famed pizza shop, we picked up a pie, and ate it in the car after we found a spot on the street.

I am Italian.  I've been to Italy many times, and know good pizza.  It has to be truly special to even rate on my pizza radar.   Yup, I am a pizza snob.

Amirali Mirhashemian via, and Anna Church via
Amirali Mirhashemian via, and Anna Church via

Here's the thing.  This was the best pizza I had experienced in a long time, and I couldn't figure out why it was so good, because it was so simple.

This East Boston pizzeria started as a bakery in 1903.  The owner's son had an offer to play baseball with the New York Yankees, but was coerced to stay and run the family bakery business, which later became a world-famous pizza shop.

Of course we are talking about Santarpio's Pizza, named #7 in the country in's list of top local pizza shops in America.

It's still cash only, and they added a second location in Peabody, Massachusetts, in 2010, but the OG Santarpio's is still iconic, and still has no parking.

I figured out why the pizza is so good.  According to, Santarpio's makes their pizza "upside-down".  The bakers put the toppings on first, then fresh cut mozzarella, and finally a plain sauce on top.  It's cooked "until the crust because crusty and crispy", according to Joia Santarpio, the 4th generation co-owner with siblings Frank, Carla, and Joe.

So next time you're in Eastie (nickname for East Boston), you have to visit Santarpio's Pizza.  America agrees that it's one of the best.

And if you're in New Hampshire, check out the #1 pizza spot here.

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