Emilio’s Pizza a tasty Tremont Street institution
Walking into Emilio’s Pizza was like stepping into a fond memory. The Tremont Street parlor bears many characteristics of my favorite childhood pizza place in Nonantum: the wood paneling, classic checkerboard floor, and delectable Greek-style pie.
Founder Emilio Ventouris emigrated from Greece — his native flag hangs alongside the Stars and Stripes next to a flatscreen TV, above the refrigerator — and opened this eponymous institution in 1979. He and his family also own and operate Sophia Italian Steakhouse in West Roxbury and Alfredo’s Restaurant and Lounge in Quincy.
Those establishments are more upscale than the South End pizza joint, but Emilio’s is the original, and on a weekday afternoon, Ventouris himself is still the man taking orders behind the counter.
“Are the mushrooms canned or fresh?” a customer asks, her eyes paused on Emilio’s popular steak, mushroom and cheese sub, after scanning the menu board.
“Fresh!” Ventouris exclaims, barely letting her complete the question. Canned food clearly has no place in his kitchen.
High-quality ingredients and simple flavors make eating a slice of Emilio’s pizza a familiar flavor experience. These pies are not exotic, just well executed. The crust is medium, somewhere between Pizzeria Uno and Papa Gino’s, and the sauce is slightly sweet. And, in a key display of restraint, Emilio’s avoids the overly liberal dousing of oil that sometimes foils even the best Greek pizzas.
With seating for 40, Emilio’s is big enough to accommodate a small crowd, but delivery and takeout form the foundation of its business. Emilio’s serves as many as 300 large pies on a busy weekend night, according to Ventouris.
Address: 536 Tremont Street, Boston
Phone: (617) 423-4083
Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. daily
Plain slice: $2
Pepperoni slice: $2.50
Student discount: N/A
Signature dish(es): hot steak, mushroom and cheese sub; chicken parmesan dinner; ziti, chicken and broccoli alfredo
Vegan option(s): salads