With the city of Somerville changing so much over recent times, it is easy to forget that there are still pockets of "old" Somerville within the city, and this certainly applies to some of its eating and drinking spots if you look hard enough. One neighborhood that has been relatively untouched by gentrification (up to this point) is Winter Hill, and while this mostly working-class area on the Medford line has relatively few dining options, it is home to one real gem called Leone's Sub and Pizza that has been serving up good food (including a relatively rare type of pizza) at cheap prices for a long, long time.
Leone's Sub and Pizza is old-school in many ways, and this includes its wonderful sign out front; a Winter Hill beacon of sorts since the 1950s, the huge vertical "Leone's Subs" sign is a classic, looking like the type of sign you might see in parts of New Jersey or New York City. The interior of the eatery is much less interesting than the sign, as it consists of...well, nothing, really; you walk into the place, go up to the counter, pick up your food, and leave. There are no tables and no seats inside Leone's, making this a true takeout spot.
The close-knit neighborhood of South Medford, which borders Somerville's Winter Hill, is known in part for its Sicilian eateries, pastry shops, and bakeries, and this influence indeed extends into Winter Hill--and Leone's. Some of the best Sicilian pizza in the Boston area can be found at this shop, with the chewy crust having a yeasty taste, the sauce having a sweet flavor, and the cheese being nutty-tasting and slightly oily. [Another view of the slices.] The slices at Leone's are best if you get them slightly well-done (as is the case with other types of pizza as well), which adds a char to the crust and turns the cheese golden-brown. For those who aren't in the mood for pizza, the subs here are terrific, with highlights being the hearty chicken parm, the overstuffed Italian, and the outstanding meatball sub, along with the eggplant and the steak and cheese, and a variety of "egg" subs (pastrami and egg, ham and egg, pepper and egg, etc.). Calzones are also offered at Leone's as well as salads.
The Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville may not exactly be a dining destination, but it is a place where you can get good food without breaking the bank by way of Leone's Sub and Pizza. If you like Sicilian slices, this local favorite is a can't-miss spot, but even if you don't, the subs at this shop are also well worth getting (though just remember--Leone's is cash-only).
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