Beach pizza is a style of pizza popular in New England beach towns in northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
Beach pizza is a square, thin crust pizza with slightly sweet tomato sauce, a light sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese and is usually topped with a slice of provolone cheese and cooked on a baking sheet.
History of Beach Pizza:
Beach pizza was actually invented by Angelo Zappala at the Tripoli Bakery in a small city called Lawrence, Mass in 1944.
Although the bakery was established in 1924, it didn’t start offering pizza until 1944. During this post-war era, business was slow during the summer so the Zappala family opened a small pizza stand in Salisbury Beach on Memorial Day in 1945.
The bakery’s square pizza quickly became popular with the beach goers and it soon became their signature item, earning it the nickname “beach pizza.”
It’s for this reason that owner Matthew Zappala said in a recent interview with the Lowell Sun that Tripoli doesn’t consider itself “beach pizza” but rather a bakery-style pizza brought from Lawrence and served at the beach.
In March of 1946, another pizza shop opened up at Salisbury Beach, called Cristy’s, which also began serving beach pizza and thus a friendly rivalry was born.
The pizza at both these shops is considered pretty much the same except for a slight variation in the taste of the sauce, with many people stating that Tripoli’s is slightly sweeter than Cristy’s. Cristy’s is also known for its use of a special cheese blend while Tripoli’s uses more of a zesty cheese blend.
Tripoli bakery is now a fourth-generation family business and has five locations. The current owner of Cristy’s, Ronald Predla, purchased the pizza shop from the original owner over 35 years ago and still owns it today.
Where To Get Beach Pizza:
Cristy’s Pizza is located at 11 Broadway in Salisbury, Mass and Tripoli Bakery is located at 23 Broadway in Salisbury, Mass and also at 418 State Route 286 in Seabrook, NH.
In 2016, beach pizza even spread to the west coast after a New England native, Frederico Santos, who is a former Tripoli employee, opened up a pizza shop selling New England-style beach pizza in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego, California.
The various types of beach pizza for sale at the California pizza shop are even named after New England towns such as Danvers, Amesbury, Hampton, Newburyport and, of course, Salisbury.
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Tierney, Chris. “Remember When? Beach Pizza.” Lowell Sun, 20 May. 2017, lowellsun.com/2017/05/20/remember-when-beach-pizza/
Doyle, Terrence. “The Pizza Rivalry That’s Keeping a Dying Beach Community Afloat.” Vice, 12 Nov. 2015, vice.com/en/article/pgxzm8/the-pizza-rivalry-thats-keeping-a-dying-beach-community-afloat
Doyle, Terrence. “Go to Salisbury Beach and Eat Beach Pizza.” Eater Boston, 31 May. 2018, boston.eater.com/2018/5/31/17393966/salisbury-beach-pizza?_gl=1*10v4tkq*
Selinger, Hannah. “New England Beach Pizza Is Not Very Good. Everyone Should Try It.” Eater, 13 June. 2019, eater.com/2019/6/13/18638168/beach-pizza-cristys-tripoli-salisbury-new-hampshire-massachusets
Selinger, Hannah. “New England’s Embarrassment of Pizza Riches.” Huffington Post, 27 Sept. 2019, huffpost.com/entry/new-england-pizza_l_5d77f96fe4b0fde50c2e8ed1
Dornbusch, Jane. “Tripoli Bakery Put Its Stamp on ‘Beach’ Pizza.” Boston Globe, 1 April. 2014, bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2014/04/01/tripoli-bakery-put-its-stamp-beach-pizza/6fCOlgoLF0W84vfCPrjAmM/story.html
“Our Pizzas.” Square Co Pizza, squarepizzaco.com/our-pizzas
“The Menu at this California Pizza Place Will Give New Englanders a Reason to Smile.” WHOM, 11 Jan. 2022, 949whom.com/the-menu-at-this-california-pizza-place-will-give-new-englanders-a-reason-to-smile/