Imagine a bright, airy Italian restaurant within driving distance of Boston, complete with tiled floors, long benches, outdoor seating along a lazy river, Frank Sinatra piped through the sound system, and pizza that will probably knock your socks off. Where might you find this place? Manhattan? Providence? Montreal? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Try the historic mill city of Lawrence, a mere half hour north of Boston, and the home of Sal's Pizza and Italian Restaurant, a wonderful spot along the scenic Merrimac River.
Sal's Pizza and Italian Restaurant (the official restaurant name is actually Salvatore's) is a favorite among residents of Lawrence, as well as those who work in the nearby converted mill buildings. Part of Sal's is set up cafeteria-style, with diners ordering pizza and other Italian dishes, grabbing their orders, and sitting at the many indoor or outdoor tables in this spacious restaurant. Another part of the restaurant has table service, with the menu offering much of the same terrific food that people order at the counter.
While the Italian entrees at Sal's are decent, it is the pizza that brings most people to this dining spot. Their thin-crust pizza is truly delicious stuff, similar in style to what you might find in Manhattan or Brooklyn (the pizza is served on metal stands, which is how it is typically served in the Big Apple). The pepperoni pizza may be the best type to get at Sal's, as the hearty taste of the pepperoni mixes perfectly with the tangy cheese and sauce.
Lawrence might seem a strange place to go for pizza, especially if you live in the immediate Boston area (which is home to Santarpio's and Pizzeria Regina, two of the best pizza joints in New England). But Sal's has some of the best pizza north of Boston, and since it isn't all that far away from Beantown, there is really no reason not to go if you are anywhere near Routes 93 or 495. If you like good pizza, good music, and dining alongside a river, Sal's Pizza and Italian Restaurant is certainly worth the trip.
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