Not just pepperoni! New All Star Pizza Bar draws inspiration from 'The Dukes of Hazzard' and the Muppets
After months of progress and quite a few date changes, All Star Pizza Bar opens its doors today to great fanfare. But for those in the know -- the loyal devotees who follow sister restaurant All Star Sandwich Bar on Twitter -- free pizza and PBR awaited at the restaurant’s pre-opening party, hosted this past Tuesday by owners and brothers Kosta and Johnny Diamantopoulos, as well as John Hendron, the restaurant’s executive chef.
The pizza party preview garnered lines that stretched down the block, even in food-filled Inman Square, and the restaurant served about 1,200 slices to those who were willing to wait long enough. But, oh, was it worth the wait.
“It took us about two weeks to get that crust right,” Kosta Diamantopoulos told a crowd of bloggers, press members, and followers who gathered inside the new restaurant last night for another pre-opening event. A perfect pizza needs both a crust that doesn’t bend when you scoop up a slice and an exact formula of ingredients so that it stays upright when you lift it, Diamantopoulos said. The art of pizza is all a science.
Science, however, was thrown to the wind when it came to the different pizza concoctions that the chefs presented. Atomic Meatloaf Pizza, a play on All Star Sandwich Bar’s popular Atomic Meatloaf sandwich, includes marinara sauce, a house blend of cheese, caramelized onions, and All Star Meatloaf, all finished with Inner Beauty Hot Sauce. Diamantopoulos described the combination as simply “tantalizing” and expects this pie to be the most popular.
The Chile Relleno pie was one of my favorites. It brings together, according to the menu description, “Rustic Tomatillo Salsa Verde, House Blend Cheese, Fire Roasted Poblano Peppers, Grilled Chorizo Sausage, Sweet Corn, [and] Cotija Cheese[, which is] then Finished [with] Fresh Cilantro” and was the perfect mixture of ingredients, with just a little spice and a lot of complex flavor. The Dukes of Hazzard, on the other hand, packs creamy hominy ricotta grits and a house blend of cheese with maple breakfast sausage and soft baked eggs, then adds some pickled Fresno chiles on top for heat. The pizza takes its inspiration from the Diamantopoulos brothers’ favorite TV show growing up.
“At one point, we had Dukes of Hazzard plastic trikes that we would race around the house,” Kosta Diamantopoulos said.
While the pizza was inspired by children’s activities, it sounds like a decidedly adult hangover cure. The combination itself was a little heavy and perhaps almost too carb-filled, but at the same time, I cannot fault the pure creativity of this pizza.
If those three options aren’t enough, you can always check out the Buffalo Duck Confit pizza, Ms. Piggy’s Fig pie, or a slice of the Romesco Ratatouille -- “for our vegetarian friends,” as Diamantopoulos said. Or you can devise your own combination with any one of the many toppings ASPB offers. In the coming months, the restaurant might also spotlight organic toppings, tableside preparations, fruits, and smoked meats -- whatever Chef Hendron can “create up on the fly,” said Diamantopoulos.
Although ASPB is more restaurant or takeout shop than bar, guests are still welcome to pair their pizzas with an adult beverage. The spot serves PBR by the bucket, as well as five beers on tap, sangria, and wine. The restaurant’s weekend hours (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) do not necessarily make it a late-night hangout, but perhaps that will change if the owners discover that patrons are sweating for an egg or meat loaf pizza slice after a night of partying.
Johnny Diamantopoulos said he expects about 70 percent of ASPB’s business to come from takeout orders, which makes sense given the restaurant’s small size. With 5,000 orange-and-purple-striped pizza boxes ready to go, the staff is awaiting your order.
And while they may have literally just opened the doors on their new venture this morning, the Diamantopoulos brothers said that they already have the wheels turning on their next restaurant -- just let them get All Star Pizza Bar up and thriving first. But rest assured, the creativity, whimsy, and kids’ TV show inspirations will certainly continue.
Photo by Ali Robbins Hyatt
About Ali -- I am a Boston-based strategist and innovator originally from the Metrowest 'burbs. I'm passionate about stellar brand and retail experiences and active in the Boston tech and innovation community. You can find me traveling for fun and searching for spectacular authentic eats or traveling for work and searching for worthwhile airport eats. Find me on Twitter @arrobbins.
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