i am still pinching myself to see if it's all real--i almost ALWAYS go to pick up my pies in person for my various OCD reasons, including getting it as hot and fresh as possible, as well as resisting the siren song of delivery which would, if taken to its ultimate conclusion with the cornucopia of amazing food we have here in downtown lowell, result in my never leaving the apartment. but this time we ordered in, as they say, and so i can't swear that i actually saw the actual 'za coming out of the actual oven to know it's all true. (nor ask the folks there for all the juicy and delicious details on the change). but, presuming this was not just a one-time lightning strike of gustatory goodness, we now have, if you're asking me, a clear winner.
up 'til now, espresso pizza held the niche on italian crust downtown. it was my first lowell pizza experience, and i very much liked what i tasted right from the start. but two things: first of all, what is it with sweet sauce around here? (maybe, like salmon and their home streams, i'll never quite get it). second is that their sandwiches and other menu items are nothing special--not bad, just like greek pizza isn't bad, but nothing special. sammy's may have lacked that crust thing, which is, when you get right down to it, the heart and soul of a pizza joint for me, but they did and do have something that really, really rocks, and i mean ROCKS: sammy's can roll out a calzone. they finish theirs with a butter and parmesan glazing that has to be experienced to be appreciated, and theirs are a sublime and perfect mix of cheese and fill-ins underneath, too. (you have to have cheese everywhere you bite--it's a rule). you put that beside a quality pie, and you indeed would have something to appreciate.
so it was that my loyalty was divided until the new sammy's crust came together. their sauce is, as i prefer it, not overly sweet as is espresso's and subtley delicious. (mind you, we're talking relative here--espresso's still kicks ass over all the other greek crust joints). and they still make those mean calzones, just like before. (you gotta order both when you're ordering--it's a rule). and now i don't know if it's an ownership change, a menu change, or just a one-time aligning of the planets thing, but this kind of pizza is worth celebrating when it arrives in the neighborhood.
get there and try it and let me know what you think! i'm already planning dinners this week around it.