Pizza Barbone, we couldn’t have felt lighter, and we can’t wait to return to try all the other pies.
This new outpost on the bustling Main Street in Hyannis is classy and comforting, friendly and fun. The waitstaff wears tees with “Eat Well” printed on their backs. We did.
You can sit outside - fantastic for people-watching - take a stool at the pizza bar or sit at a table. This gem is more restaurant than pizza joint. The faux distressed wood floor is gorgeous, there are funky mirrors and all the tables are white Carrara marble. It’s rustic, urban chic.
At the back, owner Jason O’Toole and his sidekick, Brian Shields, make the pizzas, tossing and stretching dough made with imported Caputo flour to create 12-in. Neapolitan-style pies. (We’ll tell you how to make perfect crust tomorrow when we post our interview with Todd English and O’Toole, who disclose their secrets!).
All the ingredients are fresh or made in house, like the meatballs and sausage. Because of this, O’Toole explains that there’s more moisture in the fresh mozzarella, so the pies tend to be more moist than crispy, more chewy than dry. It’s something you get used to, even seek out when you know the real thing. The pies are baked in a handcrafted Stefano Ferrara oven fueled by wood, which means it's hot, and there’s “leoparding” - bubbling charred spots that add character, texture and flavor. It’s not burnt, people.
Our Forest Mushroom pie - with garlic cream, a mix of shiitake, oyster and wild mushrooms, a touch of rosemary, smoked mozzarella and drippings of truffle oil - elicited an initial OMG. There’s a detectable salt content in the soft, chewy crust. We scanned our pizza memories for other pies we’d tasted in the past. Nothing compared. But we haven’t been to Italy, yet.
There are also salads, desserts and a lunch special Monday through Friday: you get an eight-in. pie with either a salad or soda for $9. Beer and wine is also served. Nothing is over $14, except for a bottle of wine.
Pizza Barbone is O’Toole’s dream come true. He spent years on the market circuit and catering, perfecting his pizza, hence the name “barbone,” which means tramp in Italian. The restaurant does cater, but those who like good pies will want to make the pilgrimage for the full experience.
390 Main St., Hyannis, 508-957-377; pizzabarbone.com
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