Wings and pizza. Pizza and wings. It’s hard to get excited about the frat house classic. Sure, pizza has been gourmandized, but wings haven’t deserved a second look in years. Last time we checked, they were bright orange, served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. A combination better suited for 1988. Or is it?
At Angela’s Coal Fired Pizza in Tyngsboro, this typical pub grub has been reinvented into a succulent Sicilian feast. The chicken wings are exemplary, and deserve to share top billing with the pies. Perhaps a name change is too wordy, but don’t dismiss them because you are in a pizza place.
Flecked with rosemary, brined in olive oil and doused in lemon juice, these wings are savory and moist. Like everything on the menu, except for salad, it’s coal-fired. And this is Angela’s genius.
Because the ovens can reach 1,000 scorching degrees, nothing in the kitchen is typical. Ingredients are selected for their ability to endure the heat, such as pizza dough made from high-gluten flour. But you wouldn’t expect chicken wings to fare so well. They come out juicy and hot, with meat that slides off the bone. Topped with sweet, caramelized onions and toasted focaccia bread, this is a distinct combination that’s hard to stop eating. But stop you must to save room for pie.
Although the restaurant describes its pizza as thin crust, it isn’t. Not the kind that was made famous by Todd English at Figs and put New Haven, Conn., on the culinary map. No, this is a proper pie, a proud pie; this is not a trendy pie. I discovered later that the dough is made daily, which explains why the crust is so exceptional.
You can customize your pie, which we did with spinach, sausage and mushrooms, or order from a half dozen specialties, such as meatball and ricotta, chicken Parmesan, or chicken breast with broccoli and mozzarella topped with Alfredo sauce and Romano cheese. The pizza of the month will appeal to the gourmet in your group. “The Figaro” has mission figs, prosciutto, mozzarella, shaved Parmesan, blue cheese, wild arugula and olive oil. “My motto is to be the Capital Grill of pizza,” said Al Guevara, the restaurants vice president of operations.
We visited on a Wednesday before the holidays and practically had the place to ourselves. And this place sprawls. The capaciousness allowed us to disappear into a booth and gorge in peace. Angela’s is an ideal spot for those moments when you don’t want to cook and don’t crave a scene. The elevated bar area is decidedly more lively, but the ambiance is easily forgotten. The pizza is not.
All pies are available at 14 or 18 inches. If you create your own, a personal 10-inch pie is offered. We were packing some hunger, so we opted for the 18-incher. It could have fed two more of us, easily. It’s an astonishing value at $13.50
Our pizza arrived swiftly and crisply. It was loaded with cheese and a suggestion of tomato sauce. I would have preferred more but was so beguiled by the crust that I soon forgot about it. The wonderfully smoky taste of the blackened edges inspired me to polish off the entire slice, leaving no doughy odds and ends. The elasticity of the crust is a sensorial joy. If I sound a bit pie-eyed, I was. I didn’t even need the pint of Shock Top, a wheat beer on draft, but it sure went down nicely.
A string of establishments have failed in this space just off the Daniel Webster Highway, including a wine/jazz bar and strip club that the town shuttered in early 2000. Here’s hoping the 2-year-old Angela’s Coal Fired Pizza rises above the ashes and becomes a Tyngsboro mainstay.
Angela’s Coal Fired Pizza is located at 361 Middlesex Road, Tyngsboro. The restaurant is open Sunday and Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(978) 649-8312 www.AngelasCFP.com