We got an urgent and high-priority news tip over the phone last week: There’s a new pizza place downtown.
Monitor staffer and resident foodie Hannah Sampadian noticed the new place and called us at once, knowing that we would of course drop everything to go investigate.
Sure enough, there it was – Off Main Pizzeria at 26 Pleasant St., right between Noodles & Pearls and Detailed Stained Glass. Despite this being a new pizza place located in the heart of downtown, this place opened quietly and to little fanfare. It wasn’t even on our radar.
But it is now.
The restaurant has simple offerings: pizza, salads and paninis. They do whole pies, but the draw here is the slices.
Slices are available with zero, one or two toppings, and there are also several specialty slices. When we stopped in last Tuesday, we ordered a slice of buffalo chicken, one of the specialty varieties.
While the slices are displayed in round racks behind the counter, they heat them up for you, which only takes a couple minutes.
While we waited for our slice to warm up, we perused the impressive collection of classic Concord photos adorning the walls. There’s even some cool photography in the bathroom.
After about 3 minutes, our slice was served nice and hot. We added some crushed red pepper immediately, more as a force of habit than anything else.
The first bite was crispy and spicy. There was a satisfying but not challenging crunch, and the buffalo sauce flavor melded with the crunchy crust to make for a lively bite.
Being fans of high heat, we considered this slice to be pretty mild, but that just means it’s easier to eat more of them.
The chicken pieces were big and tender – they didn’t dry out after sitting in the rack or going back in for a reheat. The slice also contained a hefty portion of green onion, which worked really well with this flavor combination. While red onion may be the most obvious pairing with buffalo chicken, this scallion idea was a nice change of pace.
If there’s one complaint, it’s that the slice may have been too crispy. We enjoy some crisp in a pizza crust – they use a medium-thin crust here – but this one was just a little more on the crunchy side than we prefer. We suspect it may have been sitting out for a little bit, making for a harder texture after reheating.
Nonetheless, it’s not like we didn’t finish the thing in about a minute and a half.
As far as the atmosphere is concerned, it has a very Concord feel for a brand-new place. Framed photos covering the walls serve as a visual history of the city, with images from seemingly every era in which photography was a thing. It also has big windows facing Pleasant Street, with bar seating right there so you can people-watch while you have a slice or three.
It could, however, benefit from a little music or a TV, just something to create some background noise. It was silent in there last week except for a pair of women eating lunch at another table whose conversation was impossible not to hear. There was nothing juicy being talked about, but if there were, we would have had a front-row seat.
All in all, this place is certainly worthy of a visit. After all, Off Main Pizzeria is really the only true pizza place in what one likely would consider the heart of downtown.
For more info, call 227-6661.