Londonderry: Papa Gino’s

The skinny: There was quite a bit of discussion between us on whether we should review chains or not. There are local, regional and national chains to choose from, and many are well received by N.H. residents. But our second celebrity recommendation immediately tipped us in one direction.

Comedian/actress Sarah Silverman (@sarahksilverman), a Bedford native,Papa Gino's Londonderry NH Paparoni pepperoni pizza responded to a tweet asking what her favorite Granite State pizza place was. And here’s what she told us:

So, obviously, we were headed to one of the 16 Papa Gino’s locations in New Hampshire after that.

Where do we start with Papa Gino’s? If you’re reading this site, you’ve most likely been to a location — and many times. We have been here plenty of times, too. In fact, Deidre liked Papa Gino’s so much as a kid that she had her third-grade birthday party there. (C’mon, you get to pin the toppings on the pizza! And then make your own pizza!)

Papa Gino’s pizzas are pretty simple. They come in small ($7.69), large ($11.99) and X-large ($13.99). And each topping is $1, $1.50 and $1.75, respectively.

Papa Gino’s is a fairly standard place, and it’s toppings aren’t all that out of the ordinary: Hot capicola, broccoli and chicken are among them.

There’s also the Rustic Pizza option: At $13.29, it’s a bit crispier and adds Asiago cheese to make a four-cheese blend.

There are nine specialty pizzas to choose from, and all come in large (though for a little extra, you can make it an X-large or Rustic). The Works, at $15.99, is covered in pepperoni, Italian sausage, hamburger, mushrooms, onions and peppers. The Cheddar Bruschetta ($15.99) boasts of 50 percent more cheese — featuring Vermont cheddar — as well as diced tomatoes tossed in olive oil, basil and garlic. And the Build Your Own ($15.99) allows you to choose your six favorite toppings.

There are also a number of slice deals, and if you sign up for the Papa Gino’s rewards card, you can save a little bit of cash, too.

Review: Since we were at such a classic New England pizza place, we had to go with a classic among the specialty pies: the Paparoni ($14.99), which has 50 percent more cheese and pepperoni.

It had actually been a while since we’d ordered a whole pizza and not just slices at Papa Gino’s, so we were excited to see how great an entire pie looked.

This pizza was loaded with pepperoni. Deidre¬†loved the extra pepperoni, but thought the amount of cheese bordered on just a little too much. Andrew couldn’t help but notice all the grease. With pepperoni, though, grease just seems unavoidable.

Papa Gino’s crust is a classic — especially in a region that was much more familiar with Greek-style crusts for so long. It’s a thin crust on bottom, with crispy, slightly charred edges and just a bit of cornmeal covering it all to give it a bit of grittiness. When pizzas here are cooked well, the crust is pretty close to perfect, as it was during this meal.

The sauce is known for being thin — just like all elements of the pizza here. We occasionally bit into tomato skin pieces, which we don’t get very often. We think of it as old-school sauce, with hints of oregano and just a touch of sweetness. We love it.

Andrew thought the cheese — a blend of mozzarella, cheddar and romano — didn’t really stand out all that much. And in this case, the oil released by the melted cheddar cheese just added to the pepperoni grease and made the pizza a bit of a mess.

By the time Andrew dug in for the cold pizza test, the grease had pretty much hardened up on top of the cheese. That left the cheese sort of overwhelmed by grease, and really just without much flavor. Luckily the pepperoni and sauce were plenty flavorful and the crust was still just doughy and chewy enough for a good experience.

Rating: Deidre: 4 / Andrew: 3.5 = 7.5/10 slices

Papa Gino’s
44 Nashua Road, Londonderry
434-8555, www.papaginos.com

Comments

  1. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the pizza.

    -Papa Gino’s

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