In my experience, pizza has always been a great equalizer. It’s a food people can gather around, eat with their hands, share with everyone. It’s easy and comforting and intimate. “Let’s just order a pizza” implies a casual ease, a laid-back dinner followed by a true heart-to-heart. There is decadence and joy in cold pizza for breakfast. There is care and love in making pizza dough at home. Even the pizza stone itself is a touching artifact – sturdy and imperfect, marked by charred crusts and marbled colors faded from repeated exposure to hot ovens.

Pizza has always been a big part of my life with my husband. We are forever tasting new slices, and returning to our old favorites in Westchester, New York, and New York City itself. We’ve tried close to every pizza shop in Portland, and have driven to Boston more than once just to eat at the classic, storied Santarpio’s. When I was pregnant with my son, and we were making frequent trips to see my doctor at Mass General Hospital, Santarpio’s pizza was all I ate. For us, pizza is not just pizza. It’s joy and birth and family and comfort and a symbolic coming in from the cold.

 

For these details alone, it could be said that all pizza is good pizza. But alas, it is not only emotion that goes into the making of an excellent pie. That’s why my husband and I were overjoyed when Tipo Restaurant opened in the Back Cove, and we tasted their Le Panyol wood oven-fired pizza.

One rule my husband lives by is that a good slice of pizza requires no additional toppings, the usual suspects like pepperoni, mushrooms or onions. Tipo’s Margherita ($10) is no exception. It is fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil, olive oil and a thin, perfectly textured crust – a touch crisp, a touch chewy. The sauce is airy and delicate and not at all sweet, the cheese light and expertly melted. The pizza arrives on a muted silvery tray, a masterpiece of a pie you might even find in Tuscany, with uneven edges and the scattered scent of fresh vegetables. It’s the kind of pizza that has you reaching for a second slice before you’ve finished the first, the kind that, once you’ve tried it, inspires the decision, “Let’s just get two whole ones,” whenever we order. “We can always eat it for breakfast.”

Anna Stoessinger lives in Maine with her husband, Keith, her son, Henry, and their dog, Bess. She is a writer who works in advertising. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @astoessinger.