Photo: Hencken & Gaines
I’d driven by Two Boots Pizza on Mt. Royal Avenue dozens of times, but last week I finally had the chance to visit. I worked at MICA a while back, so it was really nice to be back in Bolton Hill, one of Baltimore’s most charming neighborhoods. For old times, I parked in front of my friend’s gorgeous rowhouse around the corner from the Main Building on Lanvale, walked by the (awesomely divey) Mt. Royal Tavern, crossed the light rail tracks and headed into Two Boots for a little weekday lunch.
I have to start by saying that I avoid chains, mainly because living in the city, I can. Which is not to say that I never go to them…every once in a while, I’ll hit my local Chipotle (now that it exists…thank you, fast delicious Mexican food gods.) But since I live near so many locally owned and run spots, I tend to look to those first. Go local! There are 16 Two Boots locations, the first opened in Greenwich Village in 1987. The company was founded by two independent filmmakers who love all things pizza, beer and New Orleans – I think I’d like these guys. Each location is dedicated to becoming a real part of their local community – and for the Two Boots Baltimore people, that means working with local farmers, supporting local charities and more.
The menu is tight. I like that. A huge menu with tons of choices is not my favorite, too overwhelming. There are ten main pizzas that are almost always on the menu, plus seasonal pies. The manager, Ron Cabral told me that The Grandma Bess (organic San Marzano plum tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, parmigiano, on a thin Sicilian crust), The Bird (spicy buffalo wings, blue cheese dressing, jalapeño, white pie) and The Old Bay Beast (crab, crawfish, andouille, jalapeños, mozzarella) are three of their most popular pies. They also always have a Farm Pie, made with ingredients sourced from local farmers like their friends at Two Boots (no relation, they just have the same name…) and Little Gunpowder Farm. Of course, I love that.
I had a slice of two farm pies on my visit. The Boots Farm Pizza was topped with purple potatoes, rosemary olive oil, pickled cayenne pepper, kale pesto, mozzarella and cheddar. The Little Gunpowder Farm Pizza was winter squash, pumpkin pizza sauce, mustard greens, mozzarella, ricotta and black pepper. Ron suggested that I have a Boylan’s Sparkling Cider (limited release flavor only available in the fall) and it was so perfect with the pumpkin and squash flavors. So good.
One very exciting (and scary) thing is that Two Boots offers free delivery ($10 min) to many surrounding neighborhoods, including Hampden. Yikes! Other hoods include Station North, Bolton Hill, Wyman Park, Charles Village, Remington, Reservoir Hill and Downtown.
I really enjoyed myself at Two Boots and think it might be my new place to go before or after shows at the Lyric and the Meyerhoff. And…delivery to my house sounds pretty sweet, too.
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