Rizzo’s Pizza and Subs: Looking for Mushrooms in All the Weird Places.

Hey everyone. Sorry about not posting last week. Had to do my taxes. Fun.

My brother and I went to Rizzo’s last weekend, on the first day of spring. But of course, we live in Boston, and Boston apparently doesn’t care much about seasonal divisions. Case in point, it was snowing on the first day of Spring. I really do love this city, but she certainly tests the bounds of that love in the winter/early spring.

Anyhow, Caleb and I step into Rizzo’s. It’s not the most clean looking place. Yellow and black tiles that probably are from the 80s. But definitely more upscale (I use that word a bit ironically) than Cappy’s. The first thing I notice is a piece of paper taped to the menu that says “Rizzo’s does not tolerate the use of vulgar language. Violators will be asked to leave the premise. Thank you.” To be honest, that surprises me. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a sign like that; definitely not in a run-of-the-mill pizza joint. But I respect it. Trying to keep things PG.

Rizzo's Menu. Gotta wear your shoes.
Rizzo’s Menu. Gotta wear your shoes.

My brother, on the other hand, sees the text on the bottom of the menu that says “Shirt & Shoes Required,” adding his own comment, “Just in case you want to go barefoot in the snow.” That might be funnier if I weren’t still a little bitter about the fact that it is snowing in the first place.

Caleb asks me, “You know what you want to order?”

“No,” I answer. “That’s the whole point.”

“Oh right,” he says, remembering that my goal is to get the person taking my order to decide for me. He steps up and says, “I’m going to get a hot sandwich. Steak onion pepper and cheese.”

The man taking his order asks, “Do you want it toasted?”

I, for one, am not entirely certain how a sandwich is supposed to be a “hot sandwich” if it is not toasted. The same thought must have gone through Caleb’s head when he bemusedly responds, “Uh…yes?”

Okay, my turn. Honestly, I tend to get a bit nervous at this point because I never know how much work it’s going to take to weasel out a recommendation from workers. Weasel probably isn’t a very nice term to use here. My apologies.

“What do you recommend?” I ask.

The man smiles rather awkwardly and averts his eyes, responding with a slight laugh, “Everything.” My favorite answer. Okay, let’s rephrase.

“Okay, then what’s your personal favorite?”

“Uhh…I kinda like, the uhh,” he stammers, searching for an answer, “the meatball and mushroom is pretty good.”

I must have misheard him. I’m sure he is saying “mozzarella,” not “mushroom.”

“I’m sorry, the meatball and what?”




“And that’s pretty good?”


“I’ll take that then.”

A couple things. I am assuming this whole time that he and I are discussing a sandwich, but it occurs to me when I sit down to wait that perhaps I have just ordered a pizza. Honestly, that makes a bit more sense to me. I have had plenty of meatball and mozzarella subs, but I have never heard of a meatball and mushroom sub. Is that a thing that I just don’t know about? In fact, after reviewing the menu, there is no meatball sub under the hot sandwiches menu. This should be interesting.

The wait isn’t too long. Probably somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. I get my sandwich, yes, it is a sandwich, not a pizza, and all I see are meatballs and mozzarella cheese. I must have just misheard him…multiple times.

My meatball sub (left) and Caleb's steak sub (right).
My meatball sub (left) and Caleb’s steak sub (right).

The sandwich cost me $7, which is really not bad at all. It was a pretty sizable meal.

I try Caleb’s sandwich first. This thing is truly enormous. I have to contemplate the thing for a good 15 seconds in order to figure out the best plan of attack. The first bite: not great. Caleb should not have gotten pickles. They are too strong; they ruin it. Caleb tells me to just try the top, since the pickles are on bottom. The second bite: very good. The cheese melts nicely in with the steak, which is very tender and juicy. Not a bad choice.

Okay, time for my sandwich. It’s not exactly small either. I take a bite. As it turns out, I did not mishear the guy who took my order. There really are mushrooms, tucked away on the bottom of the sandwich. Now, I am not particularly fond of mushrooms. I don’t like the slimy texture, and the flavor is not particularly appealing to me either. But, whereas they used to make me gag when I was a brat…er…kid, I can at least handle them now, even if I don’t like them, per se. However, in this sandwich, I don’t mind. Since I’m eating the mushrooms along with the meatballs, the texture doesn’t bother me, and the flavor is overpowered by the meatballs and marinara. Now, that’s not to say that I can’t taste the mushrooms. They actually do add positively, albeit subtly, to the flavor of the classic meatball, marinara, mozzarella combination. The mushrooms sort of keep the sandwich on the ground, tying all the other ingredients together. The meatballs themselves are pretty standard. Good, but nothing special. Yet, the mixture of the meatballs, marinara, mozzarella, and mushrooms really produces a good experience. This is no mind-blowing meal, but I am pleased to have been able to try what is to me a novel variation of a classic sandwich.

Overall, Rizzo’s is a good, and apparently family friendly, place to get some reasonably priced food. It’s not exactly on my list of places to frequent, but it was a pleasant meal.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Arnie says:

    Wow, what an adventure!


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