Pini’s Pizzeria is new to Boston Avenue, having recently moved into the location that previously housed the beloved Espresso Pizza. Espresso Pizza’sowner, Patty Moore, announced she was retiring in December 2021. Moore had taken over Espresso after the passing of the pizzeria's previous owner, her brother,Anthony Salvato Jr. in 2010. Luckily for all pizza lovers in the area, Pini’s hopes to bring the same good food and sense of community that was previously offered by Espresso.
Pini’s Pizzeria has been around for nearly 27 years. The pizzeria was formerly located in Magoun Square in Somerville and has a second location in Billerica. The owner, Serina Nazzaro, has been running the establishment for 17 years.
Pini’s was first founded by Timothy Connors in the mid-'90s. Nazzaro worked on the Pini's team as Connors’ manager until she bought the place from him in 2004. The name Pini’s comes from Connors' mother Josephine, whose nickname was Pini.
“He named [Pini's] after his mom and I kept the name, of course,”Nazzaro said.
Nazzaro described Pini's as "a family-owned and -operated business." Additionally, many members of her staff are dedicated employees that have worked at the pizzeria for years.
“My manager has been working for me for over 20 years … and my pizza maker's been with me for about 15 years," Nazzaro said. "My whole staff came with me when I moved."
Nazzaro had to leave her previous location in Somerville. When she was looking for a new place for the pizzeria, she heard that Espresso’s owner was retiring and felt the location would be a good fit.
“I found out that [the owner of Espresso] was looking to retire, so I approached her and we made a deal,”Nazzaro said.
Nazzaro knew Espresso Pizza well and was impressed by its good reputation.
“I knew it was a family-owned business and that's what I was looking to take over — something family-owned, that had a good reputation,”Nazzaro said.
Nazzaro is a Medford native and was happy to move her pizzeria back to where she grew up. Espresso Pizza was a large part of her life when she was a teenager.
“[Espresso] was my go-to place when I was a teenager, we all used to hang in here until three in the morning like all you guys do now. So, I knew the place very well,”Nazzaro said.
Nazzaro said the new location allows for expansion. There was no grill at the previous location, and there was also a lack of seating.
“We did 90% delivery at the other location … there was no seating in there at all. We had a little countertop where people could eat a slice of pizza and go,”Nazzaro said.
The Boston Avenue location offers seating for customers who want to enjoy their food straight out of the oven. This new location welcomes new and old customers, since it is not too far from the Somerville location.
“We’re keeping a lot of our Somerville customers,” Nazzaro said. “I know everybody in Medford, so it's just nice to see familiar faces coming in.”
Espresso Pizza was especially popular with Tufts students because of its late business hours. It was great for a late-night slice of pizza after a night out. Pini’s is currently open until 11 p.m. Nazzaro said she does not aim to expandPini’s hours to stay open until 3 a.m. like Espresso Pizza did, but she noted that the pizzeria might stay open until 1 a.m. Nazzaro wants to offer late-night selections for students, but she doesn’t want to put too much stress on her staff.
“It's hard … I want to keep my staff healthy and happy, and staying open that late is not gonna do that,”Nazzaro said.
Nazzaro wants Tufts students to know that Pini’s puts an emphasis on the fact that it is a family-owned and -operated business that uses high-quality ingredients.
She feels optimistic about the move and the new location.
“I just love the vibe here,”Nazzaro said.
Nazzaro said she is excited to see new customers take interest in Pini’s and has already received positive feedback.
“Everybody's welcome here … I love watching all the kids walk around and they're all stopping in and checking us out. And it's been great. We've only been here a week and we are already getting a lot of good feedback, which is nice,”Nazzaro said.
Sean Coughlin, a first-year, rated Pini’s pretty highly.
“Pini’s is great. Quality pizza, great fries and wings as well,” Coughlin said. “Pretty reasonable prices ... I'm very happy that they have made the transition over here.”
Colin Bailey, another first-year, grew up in Medford and has eaten at Pini’s many times. Bailey described the Boston Avenue location, which now houses Pini's, as an essential part of campus life at Tufts.
“[Pini's is] definitely a spot to go to at night,”Bailey said.
Coughlin and Bailey recommended the roasted red pepperoni pizza as well as the Zsa-Zsa, which is a white pizza with fresh tomato chunks and garlic.
Nazzaro recommends that Tufts students stop by and try Pini’s dishes.
“[Students] should definitely come in and try the slices, they’re a quarter of a large pizza … an 18-inch pizza,”Nazzaro said. “We're known for our big slices.”
Her favorite Pini’s pizzas are The Fenway, which includes sausage, roasted red peppers and caramelized onions, as well as the chicken and broccoli alfredo pizza. Pini’s is especially known for its sweet marinated roasted chicken pizza, as it's a special recipe.
“You have to just come try us out … hopefully you love us,”Nazzaro said. “We've been around a long time, a lot of people love us and we have a good reputation. So, hopefully we can keep that here with the students.”