Rush Hour: a Pizza Party at Area Four

A look at how the rustic salads and pizzas at the Kendall Square restaurant come together.

As someone who was born and bred in New Jersey, I grew up with my fair share of good pizza. When I moved to Boston, however, I quickly gave up on finding a place that lived up to my expectations. Sure, there are some fantastic local joints that do a nice job, but they always fell short of being able to create what I think of as the perfect slice.

I find the pies at Kendall Square’s Area Four to be stellar, and I headed over on a recent afternoon to see how the team handles a lunchtime crowd of pizza and salad-hungry local businessmen and women. The room is bright and airy, and the young and energetic staff keep Area Four pleasant. The first thing you notice when you walk through the door is the massive wood fire oven blazing away.

The dishes are rustic, but full of flair. Business partners Michael Krupp (who was kind enough to model the pizza pictured at the bottom of this post) and Chef Michael Leviton obviously care about what they put into their food. See it all come together ahead.

The hardest component of the pizza to master was the dough, Krupp says. Clearly they’ve done something right—the team goes through 50-75 pies per lunch service on average.

The chefs behind the line, working in a kitchen that is open to the dining room, all have their own specific jobs: one person is flinging pizza dough, another is topping it with goodies, and someone else mans the oven.

The roaring Wood Stone pizza oven.

Putting the final flourishes on a classic margherita pie, the restaurant’s most popular version.

“When we opened we thought we were going to be a restaurant with substantial pizza program,” Krupp says. “People liked the pie so much, that now we’re a pizza place with a substantial restaurant program.”

The restaurant is also big on salads; in the top photo are salads of arugula, shaved fennel, cremini mushrooms, Pecorino, and peppered almonds (left) and beets, watercress, walnuts, dill, and feta (right). Directly above is a squid salad special.

Much of the staff has worked together since Michael Krupp and Michael Leviton’s previous restaurant, Persephone, so they operate like a well-oiled machine.

A completed caramelized onion and Gorgonzola pie topped with peppered walnuts and scallions.

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