There is no shortage of pizza joints in the greater Boston area, that's for damn sure. But Stone Hearth Pizza —with locations in Cambridge, Needham, Belmont, and, as of a few weeks ago, Lower Allston — is the front-runner for guilt-free, locally sourced pizza pies.
Housed in a renovated Citgo station off Western Avenue, Stone Hearth mixes class with comfort. The décor gives an industrial nod to the venue's former purpose — all steel beams and sleek angles — but the burnt-orange walls and wine racks soften the edges. The menu is extensive, and well priced for the quality of the ingredients, which hail from farms all over the eastern seaboard.
First things first: the beer selection here is phenomenal. Not only do they offer the standard Harpoon IPA, but Rapscallion, Pretty Things, and Allagash Tripel were also featured on our visit — something a craft-beer hound more than appreciates in a casual weekday-dinner setting. The selection apparently changes by the month.
We went for the arugula and portabella mushroom salad ($6.95) with chardonnay-tarragon dressing to start. While we wished the dressing had been a bit more flavorful, the salad was balanced and tasty, featuring shavings of local cheese and perfectly grilled mushrooms. Choosing a pizza was more difficult: faced with a handful of unique riffs on classics, we did the easiest thing and ordered one healthy, and one not-so-healthy. "The Bean" ($8.25/small; $12.95/medium; $17.95/large), with a white-bean spread, fresh mozzarella, and red onion, topped with spinach tossed in a pesto sauce, was our virtuous choice. It was light, reminding me of a dressed-up version of pita chips and hummus. The only server working the entire floor on a relatively busy Tuesday (doing a great job, I'll add) graciously offered to keep our leftovers under a warmer while we pigged out on our second choice, the age-old pairing of ham and pineapple ($8.50; $13.50; $18.75) — with the ham upgraded to prime prosciutto.
Don't go judging us, but after housing a salad and two pizzas, we still felt good enough to glance over the dessert menu, and settled on the homemade tiramisu ($5). Totally worth it. Making good tiramisu is not an easy task, and this one was well executed.
Stone Hearth is still very much in its infancy in its new location, but there is palpable potential for it to become a staple in the neighborhood.
Stone Hearth Pizza is located at 182 Western Avenue, Allston. Open Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am–11 pm, Friday-Saturday, 11:30 am–11 pm. Call 617.903.4680 or visit stonehearthpizza.com.