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You're looking at one of the most tempting arrays of pizza by slice you can find anywhere in New England. Pulled Pork and Mango. Mashed potato and bacon. Butternut Squash and Cranberry. These aren't the kind of slices you'll find at your town's House of Pizza. These pies are all hand-tossed and hand-crafted at place called Otto Pizza.
Owners Anthony Allen and Michael Keon opened their first Otto in Portland, Maine, later expanded to Harvard Square, and now they've opened up a brand new pizzeria in Coolidge Corner Brookline, where customers can either grab and go, or sit down with a glass of wine, a garden-fresh salad, and a fresh-cooked slice that's full of surprises.
Otto offers twenty-four signature pizzas, which are all cycled throughout the day, so you can always try something new. There's baby spinach, chicken and asiago. Eggplant, ricotta and basil. Even apple, bacon, and red onion. But the biggest head-turner in the Three-Cheese Tortellini Pizza, which believe it or not, is incredibly flavorful and remarkably light.
"Pasta on a pizza. It is a ricotta filled pasta and it stays moist. It's very tasty and there's just the right amount on the pizza. It doesn't get overly starchy."
"It's beautiful to look at and usually you can tell from somebody's expression when they take the first bite in it, it's just a lot of flavor... It's delicious."
The mashed potato pizza has a major cult-following, featuring a golden crust, a creamy base, salty smoked bacon and fresh-chopped scallions. But for something a little sweeter, check out the Butternut Squash, Ricotta, and Cranberry Pizza!
"Actually, one of our... managers came up with that and we were opposed to it at first.... But we put it out there and it took off. It's very unusal, it's on the sweeter side...
"It looks odd... It's colorful.... it's a good looking slice.... and and not a combination that many people would have thought of putting together, but once they have it, they're like, 'it really works.'"
Instead of your standard ham and pineapple pizza, Otto serves up a tropical-inspired Pulled Pork and Mango Pizza bursting with fresh fruit flavor. And if you prefer a little bit of heat, there's the spicy pulled pork with scallion and herbs.
But whatever slice you choose, it's always going to be thin, crispy, and irrestistable.
"Mike and I have thought about these pies from the bottom up, building them so that they're number one: delicious, number two: they're reheatable."
"We cook them at a very high temperature, it sears the bottom. It gets them very toasty and crunchy on the bottom.
And we try not to put too many toppings on, we make it a little light so that people can hold it, things aren't sliding off of it... it's not very messy."
The dough is the key to creating a pizza that's both light and flavorful, but it takes a little extra effort.
"All of our dough goes through what we call a cold proofing process. It never reaches room temperature before it hits the oven.... I'm just evening it out, getting all that air out.... Important part, getting all the flour off.... And the final toss whips even more of the flour off. We hit them with olive oil, every pie gets an olive oil base.... Spread evenly to the crust.... Asiago adds a nice sharpness.... Whole milk mozzarella... We don't put sauce on the bottom of our pies, we put it on top.... Some locally sourced pepperoni.... Next we throw it in the oven."
And six minutes later, you end up with what might be the perfect pizza. And for Otto, Coolidge Corner in the perfect location.
"It's a tremendous location for us. It's got visibility on three sides, it's got wonderful windows and setting.
"The whole experience people are coming in wowed. This had been a Friendly's so it could not possibly be more different than it is now.... This is a transformation and... It's good, quick, accessible... they come back."
And with every big, gourmet slice selling for just $3.50, Otto Pizza is a Phan-tastic Meal Deal.