New Mattapoisett Pizza Place
Will the possibility of a Mattapoisett pizza war finally bring delivery to the sleepy, seaside town?
How can you measure the dominance of Nick's Pizza in Mattapoisett? One of the easiest ways to truly understand their grip is to take a ride around the town on trash day. Every. Single House. Every single one has a Nick's Pizza box...or five...placed out by the curb. The Nick's Pizza box and the accompanying empty bottle of wine is a sure sign you are in Mattapoisett.
It's not often that a new pizza place pops up in a town like Mattapoisett. Nick's Pizza has been king...reigning supreme in the shadow of Salty The Seahorse for 40 years. There have been challengers (like the brick oven in the 'new'...now defunct...Mattapoisett Chowder House), but they have come and gone, just flashes in the pizza pan.
That's why there were so many eyebrows raised when news spread this weekend about a new pizza place opening up in the former How On Earth building across from Turk's Seafood. Who'd dare take on the kraken? Who'd dare take on Nick's Pizza?
Rustico (pronounced Roos-Tick-Co) opened quietly on Friday night. Al Menino says he didn't want to make a big deal out of the opening until they knew they had worked out the kinks.
Good luck with that in Mattapoisett. It doesn't take much to get a headline in a town that size.
Menino says he got the idea for the pizza shop after meeting his chef and business partner, William "Gui" Aguiar. Both owners emphasize that they are in a "totally different lane than Nick's Pizza.
"We're focused on artisan pizza, roasted ingredients, great dough, and fresh EVERYTHING," says Menino. "I was a Nick's Pizza customer for a long, long time. I like those guys a lot. This is just a different type of pizza altogether. I didn't go into this because I didn't think Nick's Pizza was any good. I got into this because I met our chef, Gui."
Meanwhile, down Route 6, news of the new competition had not yet hit Nick's Pizza. Thanasi Vrakas told us that he was sorry to see How On Earth close, and was genuinely happy to hear about the new pizza store in town.
"It's good to have variety in the town," he said. "More business is a good thing for everyone." I could tell by the sound of his voice that there was sincerity behind those words.
I hit Thanasi with the million dollar question burning on everyone's mind. Will Nick's Pizza start delivering now that a new pizza place has popped up?
"It's honestly something we've been thinking about since our renovation last year," he said. "We weren't built to handle delivery prior to our renovations, but now we are in a position that we could consider it. It's probably the next step for us."
Menino says he's not ready to commit to delivery, yet.
"We're just trying to make sure we've got the pizza process down before we expand our services. We're in our infancy at this point...we're just getting started," he said. He noted he has future goals of expanding the business to the adjacent dining room that was previously used by How On Earth.
So, the questions remain. Is there room for two pizza places in Mattapoisett? And which will be the first to bring something that has long been missing from the landscape in Mattapoisett...pizza delivery?
One question was definitively answered, however. In the eyes of both Rustico and Nick's Pizza...there will be no Mattapoisett Pizza Wars.
Something tells me that's just how this sleepy town would want it.