The Boston Pizza Festival will return to City Hall Plaza on Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, and will feature East Boston’s own Kelley Square Pub.
Kelley’s will be one of the 30 pizzerias in attendance for the event to showcase their unique style of pizza to a massive audience.
“We have an impressive roster of pizzerias representing the best Boston has to offer,” said Giancarlo Natale, co-director of Boston Pizza Festival. “If ticket sales keep up at this rate, we will break last year’s attendance record and have our biggest and best Boston Pizza Festival to-date.”
Kelley Square Pub started over three decades ago as an idea to provide great food at filling portions and at affordable price.
John Mastrangelo Sr., a native East Bostonian, grew up in the neighborhood with a passion to be a professional boxer.
In 1984 after a stint in boxing his idea to open a restaurant in Eastie became a reality. Mastrangelo started up a small pizza and BBQ joint called Kelley Square Pub in Central Square.
Now located at 84 Bennington St., the walls of the Pub is filled with original photos of sports figures to movie stars who have either eaten in the establishment or who are personal friends of Mastrangelo.
“I know that you might be thinking, Why Kelley Square Pub?” he said. “The original Kelley Square Pub was located in what is now called Central Square in East Boston. After researching, Central Square was originally called Kelley Square in 1900s.”
While there are many offering from BBQ to pasta dishes the pizza at Kelley’s has always been a hit with customers and many argue they created the shrimp scampi pizza.
For decades Kelley Square Pub has been a family run business that includes Mastrangelo’s three sons, John his oldest son, Rock who is a schoolteacher in the town of Winthrop, and Steven.
Since its opening the Mastrangelo’s work together to provide their customers an outstanding dining experience.
“Kelley Square Pub has grown to be a home for anyone who wants to have a warm, friendly, safe and delicious dining experience,” said Mastrangelo. “If that’s what you want, you will be in the right place.”
Boston Pizza Festival co-director, Raffaele Scalzi said there has been a lot of planning and preparation over the last few weeks to ensure everyone has a great experience and access to pizzerias they’ve been anxious with as short of lines as possible.
“We know that the hard work has paid off when Giancarlo and I get a chance to walk the festival grounds, seeing and hearing the genuine happiness of families and children as they experience everything the Boston Pizza Festival has to offer,” he said.
For the past three years, 30 of the best pizzerias in the region along with a few from Naples, Italy gather together to create New England’s largest consumer pizza event. Indulge in Boston classics like Regina Pizzeria, Sal’s, and Florina along with favorites from Rhode Island, New Jersey, and even Naples, Italy. The two-day celebration will also showcase pizza acrobatics performed by the Jersey Pizza Boys, a children’s pizza tossing station, pizza making demonstrations by world famous pizza makers and live music and entertainment.
General admission tickets are $15 each with fresh slices starting at $2 per slice. A VIP option is also available, which allows early access into the festival, unlimited free pizza for the first hour, and a VIP gift bag featuring gift cards and items from participating pizzerias, sponsors and vendors.
Boston Pizza Festival directors Raffaele Scalzi and Giancarlo Natale both have worked in the food and beverage industry for a number of years. Raffaele Scalzi is the owner of Casa Mia Cucina Italiana in Marblehead, Mass., and Giancarlo has an extensive background in event coordination. With family ties in Italy they created this unique event to showcase Boston’s best pizza and to show their Italian roots.