Manchester: Puritan Backroom

Puritan Backroom Manchester NH syrian garlic bread pizzaThe skinny: The Puritan Backroom in Manchester is pretty famous in the city for two of its menu items: chicken tenders and mudslides. But among its humongous menu is what we’re always searching for: pizza.

This almost-100-year-old landmark serves 10-inch pizzas that start at $7.25. There’s only a handful of specialty pies here, such as the Greek Special ($8.50), with spinach, feta, olives and tomatoes, and the Buffalo Chicken Finger ($7.95), with those famous chicken tenders and diced tomatoes.

Toppings are 80 cents each if you’re looking to build your own pizza; mushrooms, anchovies and ham are among some of the usual suspects.

Review: We ordered the Syrian Garlic Bread Pizza ($7.25). It’s rare to come across pizzas with the typical dough, so we jumped at the chance to eat something different. This simple pizza has cheese, marinara and garlic.

When our pie was served, we both noticed how thin it was. In fact, it’s possible this is the thinnest pizza we’ve eaten in all of our reviews. Deidre could see by the crust that it would be seriously crispy — and she was mostly right. Each darkened bite of the crust had a crunch to it. But in the center of the pizza, it was soft and floppy. Deidre thought each end of the bread was tasty, and the two textures made the experience a little different. Andrew agreed on the interesting texture, but disagreed on the taste; given the promise of Syrian garlic bread in the title, he was expecting a more flavorful crust.

The cheese looked like it may have been a little thick (it is, after all, a Greek restaurant), and, technically, it was thicker than the crust. But tastewise, it worked. Andrew enjoyed the blend of cheeses used, which he thought gave the pizza a complex flavor. Deidre noted it was surprisingly more greasy than other cheese pizzas she’s had.

The sauce, as expected, was a little thinner than we would have liked. To the eye, it wasn’t all that detectable, but Deidre definitely noticed the taste. Not a single tomato chunk was found, and we were really digging the thin theme to this dinner.

Then there was the garlic. The Backroom did this part perfectly. So many other pizzas we’ve had with garlic overload the slices and they become close to inedible, or we have to scrape it off to continue eating. Here, we tasted only the slightest notes of it, making the experience much more bearable.

Andrew was a bit ashamed to admit that after some time in the fridge, this pizza tasted just like Domino’s thin-crust pizza … and he liked it. Not a whole lot of crunch left here, but the pizza still had lots of flavor jammed into a little, thin package.

Rating: Deidre: 4 / Andrew: 4 = 8/10 slices

Puritan Backroom
245 Hooksett Road, Manchester

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