After what seemed like 20 years of building, refurbishing, tweaking the building, and parking lot, has only been two years, or so. The new restaurant opened at 376 Main Street in front of the Yankee Spirits liquor store yesterday, November 17.
So, what to do on a dark, and drizzly Tuesday evening? We went to check out Sal's.
Mary came home around 5:30, and Jen, Mary and I hopped in the truck and drove over. First thing that greeted us was the parking lot, obviously. The way the parking is set up is a great, and efficient use of the limited space they have, and as long as folks stay within the lines, it will be fine.
Inside the restaurant it was clean, and new, but lacked the warmth one would expect from a pizzeria inspired by Boston's historic North End, but it was the recipes from the North End that was the true inspiration, not the brick and mortar, and that shows.
We ordered two slices of pizza each, a Greek Salad, two bottles of water, and a bottle of iced tea, for $20.00.
A "slice" is equivalent of 1/4 of one of Sal's large pizza's, and the Greek Salad was large inside its plastic container. I do like having the option of having a slice, and not a whole pizza with leftovers to bring home. The pizza was good.
Sal's is a chain of restaurants, a franchise, with over 30 locations in New England, and other locations as far south as Florida, and one in California. As a franchise it lives up to what one would expect inside: effective furniture, easy maintenance surfaces, and floors, and a neutral color scheme. Very franchise like. Very corporate like.
Beyond the franchise feeling, the employees we encountered, all knew what to do, and went out of their way to serve their customers, and above all, they smiled while doing it. Very nice.
Although we have several pizzerias here in town, each one offers something the other one doesn't. If you want your pizza delivered you will call one place, if you want an enormous pizza, you will go to another, a great sandwich and a pizza may beckon you to another store. All of the pizza places in town are individually owned, and not franchises. We have burger franchises, sandwich franchises, it was only a matter of time before the pizza franchise arrived.
I wish Sal's Pizza luck on their endeavor here in Sturbridge. They'll have a tough, loyal local audience with specific allegiances to their own special pizza place, but Sal's location will insure a great deal of traffic from the conventions at the Host Hotel, tourists as well "the locals".
Welcome to Sturbridge, Sal's. Good luck.