In a market where limited-time offerings (LTOs) are distinct for being different, where experimental ingredients, clever combinations, and offbeat selections are the norm, Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar has taken a different approach.
“Our dough is our hero. It’s in our DNA,” says Brad Bevill, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications. As Bevill waxes on about Boston’s signature product, its 1964 inception, the 24—sometimes 48—hours of labor love, the 7 million pounds of flour used in a year, how it cooks to an airy, slightly sweeter, more earthy taste, it becomes easy to understand why.
“I think what we discovered is that the dough works so well with so many different food items, the options are sort of endless,” he says. “When we started this, we weren’t really sure how we could use the dough, but we started getting pretty far out there. We ended up figuring out that our dough is very, very versatile. It’s just an awesome product. We need to really own it, educate people on it, and use it more often.”
Through November 8, Boston’s, which currently has 28 locations operating in 23 states, will showcase its dough with an LTO menu centered around the time-tested ingredient.
The new items are: Chicken Caesar Panini—pizza dough filled with marinated, grilled 6-ounce chicken breast, fresh spinach, Mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper, oregano, grated Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing; Chicken Bacon Pizza Taco—pizza sauce topped with diced chicken breast, bacon crumbles, and chipotle seasoning over pizza dough, topped with fresh, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of nacho cheese; and the Apple Dessert Pizza—a mixture of cream cheese, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and diced apples served over pizza dough, topped with granola, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.
Additionally, two popular past items—The Original Pizzaburger, which is, as it sounds, a cheeseburger wrapped in a pepperoni pizza—and it’s slider option, are also being featured.
Bevill says the company pulled inspiration from different places. The taco came from the brand’s sister operation, the 375-unit Boston Pizza in Canada, while the Panini was developed in the Dallas office, and the dessert “just makes sense.” Either way, testing out the products was, understandably, “a lot of fun,” and led to a handful of future options Bevill notes will stay secret for now.
“We went into this dough mode and started thinking of all these food items that are well-known that people love and that contain some kind of bread, and thought, ‘Can we use our dough to replace the bread or replace the tortilla, or whatever it is?’ It was all delicious.”
Pride in the product was the culprit, Bevill says. When he arrived at Boston’s, the brand was starting to wander from its core, and his goal was to pull customers back to the center. Pizza, which also features a 40-year-old recipe, is the brand’s backbone, he explains. “From day one, when I came in, I wanted to own pizza. That’s what we do. That’s what we do best. It’s what makes our franchise more profitable,” he says.
Gus Agioritis, a Greek immigrant and the founder of Boston’s Pizza, began the dough focus in 1964, when he let it sit or “proof” for eight hours or more. The dough is still kneaded by hand daily, and the staff measures the temperature of the air, wheat flour mix, and water to make sure the combination stays true. The wheat is sifted and individually streamed by the layer. Bevill says employees arrive “before the rooster crows” each morning, perhaps as early as 5:30 a.m. to begin the process.
“It just made sense to feature the dough and make sure that everyone knows it’s made from scratch every day, that it sits for 24 hours, and that we use it in 40 percent of the products on our menu,” Bevill says.
Boston’s is also donating a percentage of pizza sales at participating restaurants during the fall campaign to No Kid Hungry’s Dine Out Month, and is collecting funds through Round Up, which allows diners to round up their checks to the nearest dollar, to contribute as well.