>> Monday, May 10, 2010
Local, sustainable, and organic ingredients? Gourmet salads and pizzas? Kid-friendly? In the middle of Cambridge in a happening neighborhood???
Usually these descriptors are mutually exclusive of each other, which is why it was such a surprise to see this little gem in Porter Square.
Stone Hearth Pizza was started by two dads with a vision to create a restaurant that sourced sustainable, organic and local ingredients; served high quality yet affordable food; and emphasized the importance of friends and family. Stone Hearth focuses on Neapolitan-style pizzas with both traditional ingredients and local farm-fresh toppings. They also have homemade sandwiches, gourmet salads, and a few pasta dishes - not to mention dessert!
Spinach & Avocado – Fresh spinach served with sliced avocado and shaved red onion - $6.95
This nice simple salad was fresh, healthy, and very reasonably priced. Not bad for under $7!
Pizzas come in three different sizes: 8" junior, 10" regular, or 12" large. Since it was just the two of us, we opted for two 8" junior pizzas.
Margherita Pizza ($6.45, $9.75, or $14.75 depending on size)
I almost always order the Margherita at any pizza establishment I visit. This pizza was pretty good. The crust was very thin, and the simple, fresh ingredients lent plenty of flavor to this classic Neapolitan pizza.
Farm Fresh – Garlic oil, roasted cherry tomatoes, charred red/yellow peppers, Yukon gold potatoes, artichoke hearts, green/black olives, fresh mozzarella, topped with salad of arugula/red onion/prosciutto ($7.95, $12.50, or $17.80 depending on size)
I remembered having this pizza in the Needham location back in 2007 and really loving it. This time, it was still good, although Bryan thought the ratio of topping to crust was a bit overwhelming. Too much crunchy arugula! We saw the same pizza in a larger size at another table. The middle "pile" of vegetables was about the same size as ours, but it had a bigger crust, which was "a much better ratio" (according to Bryan). We both agreed that the flavors of the Margherita pizza, overall, were better balanced. Still, I loved having such a wide variety of local, farm fresh vegetables on my pizza!
I think this place is a great addition to Cambridge and it will not have trouble competing, despite the plethora of good pizza places around. I like how they are able to keep the prices very reasonable while at the same time making a commitment to purchase sustainable produce from local farmers. They are also quite sensitive to people with dietary needs, including several vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu.
The place does have more kids than an average Cambridge restaurant, so it might not be your first choice for a romantic dinner. I still stand by my original assessment. Although it's quite good, places like The Upper Crust, Emma's, and Gran Gusto still have quite an edge when it comes to total pizza quality. Nevertheless, the food is healthy and tasty, the prices are great, and I really like the overall vision of the restaurant. I would definitely come again if I were in the neighborhood.
Stone Hearth Pizza (Needham)
The Upper Crust (Harvard Square, Lexington)
Zing (Porter Square)
Stone Hearth Pizza
1782 Mass Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139