When it comes to dining spots, what makes a true hidden gem? Well, being in a residential neighborhood and/or an area that is off the beaten path definitely helps, as does a lack of reviews by food critics and a plain-looking storefront that renders the place all but invisible. And all of these come into play in the case of Nana's Pizza, a humble little eatery on Main Street in Everett near the Malden border, and what makes this one especially interesting is the fact that the place has a connection to a much better-known pizzeria in the heart of Boston.
From the outside, Nana's Pizza looks like your basic pizzeria/sub shop and indeed looks a lot like several such businesses on Main Street, Broadway, and other roads in Everett. The interior continues this theme, with a basic ordering section to the left that includes a counter and a cooking area, and a separate room to the right that is rather spartan in its setup, with a few tables and not much else. The eatery seems to do much (if not most) of its business as takeout, as even on a weekend night the dining area can be nearly empty while the counter is hopping.
Few people seem to know about Nana's, and even fewer know that the place is actually owned by the same family behind the iconic Ernesto's Pizza in the North End of Boston (along with a new location at Somerville's Assembly Row). And while the pizza at the two places isn't exactly the same, there are definitely similarities, with both having a flavorful house-made crust with just a hint of a char, a rich-tasting sauce with herbs and spices, and freshly-grated cheese. The Italian-style pizza compares favorably with some of the best pies in the Boston area (as does Ernesto's), but the Sicilian pizza here is equally good--and the Sicilian slices are quite large, with the size and thickness of the squares making it tough to eat more than two at a time. For those who might not be looking for pizza, the calzones at Nana's are excellent, with options including ham and cheese, chicken parmigiana, Italian cold cuts, meatballs, and more, and appetizers, salads, and subs are also available, as are beer and wine. (By the way, Nana's also offers gluten-free pizza.)
Nana's Pizzeria may not look like much from the outside (or the inside, for that matter), but it has all the makings of your classic hidden gem--and it also happens to be affiliated with one of the most beloved pizzerias in the Boston area. If you like Ernesto's but don't want to deal with going into the North End for pizza, this little shop in a relatively quiet part of Everett should certainly be on your list of places to try.
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