Sometimes kindness is the key ingredient to a tasty meal.
“We just wanted to make really good food and be nice to people. That was our whole plan was let’s open a restaurant and make really good food and just be nice to people.”
And they’re serving up food made with a whole lotta love at Port Pizza.
Located in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Port Pizza is the dream turned into reality for Kelli and Rob Hartley. This cute couple met in the restaurant business and the rest was history.
“So I met Rob, when I was about 20 years old. I was a waitress and he was a chef.”
“Kelly was a server and I was the chef and sparks flew.”
“Later started dating and got married, had kids. He worked at several different restaurants.
“Eventually, Kelly and I had the conversation where it was time for us to do our own thing.”
“And he said what do you think about a pizza shop? And I was like really a pizza shop? And he goes, he goes, ‘Let’s just make great subs and great pizza. And let’s just do it right. I feel like nobody does it right anymore.’ And I said, Okay, let’s do it.”
And what they do is a delicious dance, with Rob manning the kitchen and Kelli out front.
“I’d love to say it’s the food and brag about the food but the reality is the hospitality piece that Kelli is what really makes Port Pizza special.”
“I like to talk to people. I’m the face that you see when you walk through that doorÂ I’m the person that answers the phone… I know most people by name. I know many people by their order. I feel like they are friends and family to us. This is home.”
Ordering from Port Pizza’s menu can be quite the challenge, since there are so many tasty options to choose from, like addictive wings, and rice bowls topped with tender steak tips. There are sandwiches like the Nashville Hot Chicken served on a brioche roll with chopped onions and sliced pickles, an overloaded Italian sub, and one of the best turkey clubs around.
“Our turkey club is all in our turkey. …We roast it here in house, and then we we slice it in it. It looks different. It tastes different. It has that nice kind of thanksgiving flavor…So we pile that high. three pieces of bread, super fresh tomato, super fresh lettuce, nice coat of Mayo on there. And it is just a classic sandwich done right.”
But the absolute must-order sandwich, is the meatball sub.
“So the meatballs are homemade here in house. It is just about my grandmother’s recipe. So we do a nice big meatball and we lay them out in the sub. The sub roll is always toasted. There’s a nice layer of provolone cheese on the bottom. The meatballs are laid out on top of that nice ladle of our marinara sauce and then finished with Parmesan cheese. It takes me back to being a little kid sitting at my grandmother’s house and on Sunday and that’s that’s some warm feeling you get when you eat a nice Italian meatballs sub.”
Other Italian specialties include eggplant, cooked perfectly and served over pasta and a killer plate of chicken parm.
“We use fresh chicken. We pound it out kind of go through the process of breading and cooking. We use that Sunday sauce and a good parm Romano blend and a great piece of cheese on top.”
“I think that that nice salty, crunchy flavor that you get from the breading on it. And you know that marinara sauce really makes it. It’s a real homemade taste that that you get the second you bite into it
The place IS called Port Pizza, and when it CAME to pizza, Rob decided to go with his favorite style- which usually can’t be found in these parts.
“Essentially we’re trying to introduce the South Shore bar pizza style of New England to the North Shore. It’s a cult favorite. People really, really love that style of pizza. And it’s it’s not here in this area right now.”
These crispy discs of deliciousness can be topped in a variety of ways, including the tasty BBQ Chicken Pizza with shredded chicken, red onions and bacon- or you could go with a pizza so special, it bares the restaurant’s name The Port Pizza is a classic meat and vegetable combo. We use a good Italian sausage really good and pepperoni and fresh veggies. It’s a play off of the Supreme that salty the sweet from the roasted vegetables. You know it’s something for everybody on that pie.”
And there really is something for everyone, made with love at Port Pizza.
“I want people to feel like this is their place. I want them to walk in the door, be greeted by friendly faces..who truly appreciate their business. We appreciate every single person that walks through this door.”
“It’s not about being the fastest. It’s not about doing the most volume. It’s it’s about making food that people truly enjoy and want to come back for. It’s craveability. It’s that I want that for lunch. I want that for dinner. And that’s what’s what we’re doing to make it different.”