Salem: NH Beach Pizza

beach pizza, nh, beach, pizza, square slices, salemThe skinny: Now that summer’s settling in, it’s time to enjoy all of our favorite warm-weather treats: hot dogs, corn on the cob, ice cream cones and, yes, beach pizza. And what better place would there be to chow down on a few slices than… Salem?

You read that right. We did a double-take when we heard about this place, as well.

Located right behind busy South Broadway, this building even has a beachy feel — and the bonus is that an ice-cream shop shares the same address. Can you get more beachy than that?

Beach pizza – for those who aren’t in the know – is a super simple pie that’s well known around New Hampshire’s Seacoast and Massachusetts’ North Shore. It has a cult following, and fans are known to buy lots of these square slices and freeze them to eat later.

And the menu here truly is simple: You can buy pizza by the slice (starting at $1.65), by the Box of 8 Slices (starting at $12) or the Full Tray of 20 slices (starting at $28). Want toppings? Well, there are a whopping six here (25 cents each per slice): pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, pineapple, provolone and American cheese.

Review: On a recent 97-degree afternoon, we wanted nothing to do with the kitchen or grill, and we ordered a Box of 8 Slices – half cheese, half extra provolone cheese ($13).

Deidre knew the crust would make or break her opinion. But with the first bite she took, she heard that loud crunchy sound. There are no “soggier” parts to this crust — and it certainly doesn’t require silverware. Andrew thought the little squares were the perfect size for the beach — even if we weren’t there at that moment. Deidre found the end crusts to also have a great crunch, and even managed to find a little doughiness in some of the thicker end crusts. Deidre’s only complaint was that the crust was just the smallest tad on the bland side.

NH Beach Pizza’s sauce was seriously sweet. Seriously. Like, dessert sweet. Deidre actually likened this tomato sauce to something she would want for dessert. (Hey, if there have been occasions where we’ve only had dessert for supper, then why not have pizza for dessert?!) The sauce was noticeably filled with herbs, but all she could taste was… sweetness. To Andrew, the sweetness just seemed to feel right for summer, especially on a day that almost reached 100 degrees.

This place has an open kitchen, so you can easily watch the pizzas being made. Andrew noted that the regular cheese pizza actually comes out of the oven without cheese on it. With steam rising off the sauce, they sprinkle on the cheese very sparingly, and since the pieces are so small, it all melts right before your eyes. Andrew thought the light amount of cheese was pretty spot on, as it allowed that crazy sweet sauce to do its thing.

While Andrew thought the plain cheese was perfect, Deidre preferred the slices that had provolone added. If it weren’t for the thick slice of the tasty cheese added on top, the taste of the sauce would have been too much for Deidre. But the provolone balanced it out nicely, and the sweet sauce taste wasn’t so much at the forefront. In addition, the provolone slices were so huge that some overlapped the crust, which was a fun piece to bite into.

Andrew discovered this is a pizza best devoured hot. The sauce/cheese combo was still very much to his liking when he had a slice for breakfast the next morning, but the crust was kind of soggy and bland. Lesson learned: Next time, we won’t leave any for breakfast.

Rating: Deidre: 4 / Andrew: 4.5 = 8.5/10 slices

NH Beach Pizza
5 Kelly Road, Salem
458-2184

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