Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They're Here. Finally.

Sal's Pizza is open.  Finally.

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.


  1. Wally,
    We tried Sal's last night, too, and also found the staff to be friendly, and the food good. The pizza had a very pleasant taste, was not oily, and the crust was baked to perfection, with a generously high crispy back edge, which you could break into and find a wonderful warm, soft bread inside. We will be back.

  2. The latest selectmen's meeting is finally here on channel 12! (Thursday 1 P.M.).
    I've just begun to listen to it and am surprised (shocked) to learn that our fees for electrical inspection (new and upgrades) are double to quadruple those of other towns - with 86% going to the electric inspector and 14% going to the town. A previous town administrator (April 2009) set the fees. For details, tune in to channel 12.

  3. The BOS (TA) is looking for a variance to make the main entrance to the town hall the back entrance. The TA said that he's been told that a handicap ramp in the front is "not feasible," and again mentioned that a high cost would be incurred if it was "feasible." Watch the meeting now on channel 12 to get your take on what's going on.

  4. Who said, a front entrance handicap ramp for the town hall is not feasible and why? The town hall is far away from Route 131 so there is room between 131 and the front of the town hall to make a proper entrance and even for handicap parking there. We paid like 4.8 million dollars for what???

  5. If they get a variance they don't need a ramp for the front door. Go for the variance all they can do is say no!

  6. Don't all "entrances" need to be ADA compliant?

  7. Re:
    "If they get a variance they don't need a ramp for the front door. Go for the variance all they can do is say no!"
    What kind of people does it show us top be if we spend $4.8 million on a rehab project and fail to make the front door accessible to everyone? Someone should be fixing this! We should be ashamed and embarrassed each day that goes by with a locked front door.

  8. Excuse me, but this post was about a new pizzeria in town. How did we get on the town hall again?
    I went to Sal's and found the slices were very big, and they tasted very good, too. They weren't oily, or greasy. I also feel that the staff were nice. I also agree that the inside of the restaurant does look like a cafeteria.

  9. Excuse me, Anonymous, are you offended? I thought I was free to blog here.

  10. Of course you are free to comment here. It would be nice to stick to the subject at hand though. I think that the writer is good to allow comments that are off subject. Comments for the town hall and doors can go under those postings, and if you sign up to be notified when a new comment is made you will never miss one. Just trying to be helpful.


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