Many long with nostalgia for ‘just one more slice’
It was the place where Jumbos ordered pizza their first weekend on the Hill; where they met after class; where they celebrated taking the bar exam even after they’d graduated; and more.
Espresso Pizza, a Medford restaurant popular among generations of Tufts students, permanently closed in December 2021. The shop is remembered as a touchstone of the Tufts experience for over 40 years.
The news of Espresso Pizza’s closing was announced in a Facebook post on December 21, 2021. Owned by Anthony Salvato Jr., for 35 years until he died in 2010, and then by Salvato’s sister Patty Moore, the restaurant’s location at 336 Boston Ave. in Medford was just steps from the Medford/Somerville campus and a favorite of the Tufts community.
In its years of business, Espresso Pizza became a staple not only for the food it served but also for the welcoming atmosphere that alumni still recall fondly.
“Espresso Pizza is a huge part of my college memories and will always be,” said Howard Simons, A86. “My friends and Miller Hall neighbors and I ordered delivery nearly every weeknight freshman and sophomore year. The owner, Anthony, was super nice and I was delighted that he remembered me when I stopped by years later.”
Espresso Pizza likewise served as a landmark where friends readily gathered for meals. “It was one of those places that, for me and my friends, helped define a time and place in our lives,” noted Elliot Spieler, A82. “I met my friends Scott Buckner, A82, A10P, and Yale Pearlson, A81, in the fall of 1977, when we were all freshmen. During our time at Tufts, especially our freshmen and sophomore years when we all lived in dorms, going out for pizza after an evening of studying was something we did very often. The staff knew us because we were there so often and always greeted us with a smile.”
“To find this gem, this family run business, it was such a cool family experience being there, and I just loved it,” said Laurie Jones, J96. “Me and my friends would say ‘let’s meet at Espresso after class.’ It was kind of our place.”
It was also a place that some alumni would come back to in order to once again eat their favorite dishes as Jumbos. Added Jones, “For the several times I’ve been back, I would make a point specifically to come back and get the broccoli chicken cheese calzone. A few years ago, my last visit to Boston, I didn’t even stay in Medford and I had the Uber take me there at midnight.”
“As a still-17-year-old navigating the first weeks of college, I felt independent and somehow vaguely knowledgeable about the local food scene when I called from my dorm room—on a landline—to order a pizza, mozzarella sticks, the first of many mushroom calzones, and the all-important Ben & Jerry's pints for me and my hallmates to share,” recalled Emily Woodward, J96. “After I graduated from Tufts, I lived just off Curtis Street for years, and they were still my go-to delivery spot, as well as for my 5th reunion weekend, when I finished taking the bar exam, and when packing up boxes to move in with my now-husband in 2004.”
“The Hill has changed so much, but Espresso Pizza remained a touchstone for so long—I wish I'd stopped in for just one more slice,” said Woodward.
Sara Norberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.