The city of Lawrence is not typically seen as a destination for dining out. This gritty mill town, located about 30 miles north of Boston, has seen good times and bad throughout its history; recently, it has been making a bit of a comeback, with a new transportation center, a reconfigured main street, and several cultural options helping lead the way. And people are slowly discovering some of the restaurants Lawrence has to offer, including the fantastic Mexican restaurant Cafe Azteca; the wonderful Tacos Lupita, an El Salvadorean dining spot; and Salvatore's/Sal's Pizza and Napoli, two great spots for pizza. Across the street from Napoli, however, on an old Italian block near Lawrence center, is perhaps the best pizza place in Lawrence, and possibly the greatest place for Sicilian pizza between, say, Medford and the New Hampshire border. The place is called Tripoli Bakery, and it is something of an institution in Lawrence, though mostly little known outside of the area.
Tripoli Bakery, as its name indicates, is a place to get bread (including a sublime scali bread), pastries, Italian cookies, and much more, with people lining up to order he freshly-made goods, and it a particularly popular place around the holidays. Yet Tripoli also has a small area off to the side that is dedicated mostly to people ordering pizza slices. These aren't just any slices, however; the Sicilian pizza that Tripoli makes is something special, with a rich, sweet sauce, a decent sprinkling of delicious shredded cheese, and a surprisingly thin crust for Sicilian pizza. For those who want a bit more cheese, Tripoli also makes pizza with slices of provolone cheese on top of the shredded cheese. While this may sound like a rather odd style of pizza, it is actually the top pick for more than a few who come here. Frozen slices, by the way, can also be purchased in the bakery section of Tripoli if you would rather cook the pizza up at home.
Tripoli Bakery has existed in the city of Lawrence for a long, long time (since 1924, to be exact), and there is also another branch in Salisbury Beach that has been around for about the same length of time. If you like Sicilian pizza, head over to this special place on Common Street and you'll soon realize why Tripoli is still going strong after all these years. [Ed note: Other locations can be found in North Andover, Methuen, and Seabrook, NH, as well.]
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