The Hippo


Mar 17, 2018








Bianca, ham and pesto pizza. Courtesy photo.

Pizza Allegria

An opening date will be announced via social media in March. Visit the website or Facebook page, or call for updates.
Where: 390 Main St., Salem
Anticipated hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
Visit:, find them on Facebook at, or call 912-5198

Any way you slice it
Pizza Allegria set to open in Salem

By Matt Ingersoll

 More than 35 years ago, Pelham resident Haytham Kandil had his first job in the restaurant business as a pizza maker at Milan Pizza in Lowell, Mass.. After a career spanning three decades in hospitality and banquet directing at several hotels in the Boston area like InterContinental, the Marriott and the Park Plaza Hotel, Kandil is returning to his pizza-making roots — this time as owner of a new farm-to-table pizzeria in Salem.

Pizza Allegria is a new 30-seat pizzeria set to open later in March, and Kandil has big plans for the space. In addition to dine-in, take-out and delivery services, the new restaurant will be offering catering, pizza-making classes for kids, festivals and other specialty events Kandil hopes to host for the community.
Kandil took over the site of the former Orange Leaf frozen yogurt store on Main Street in Salem in early December and transformed it into a pizzeria, complete with new wall designs and custom-made red lighting. Pizza Allegria takes its name from the Latin word meaning “happiness,” he said.
Pizzas can either be ordered as a specialty menu flavor, or you can create your own. All of the topping ingredients — as well as the pizza oven — are visible to the customer who dines in, something Kandil said he felt was important.
“We’re trying to create an atmosphere where you walk in here and feel like you’re at home,” he said. “You know, the people give you eye contact, they know your name, you feel like you’re loyal. We don’t want people to feel like we’re hiding anything. You can see everything.”
The wood-fired pizza oven, Kandil said, is imported from Italy and can reach up to 1,500 degrees, cooking pies in just four minutes. Specialty pizzas on the menu include a margherita with tomato, mozzarella, basil and olive oil; a meat lover’s with marinara sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, soppressata and shredded mozzarella; and a Mediterranean with crushed tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, Kalamata olives, red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, spinach, mushrooms and feta cheese.
Kandil said creating your own pizza comes with the added benefit of not being charged extra per topping that you want. Instead, there is just a $2 add-on for unlimited topping options.
On days you don’t want pizza, other options available include cold subs like Italian, turkey and vegetarian, as well as hot subs that are also cooked in the wood-fired oven, like hot pastrami, sausage, meatball and Buffalo chicken. The menu also features several salads, like a Mediterranean chicken salad with romaine lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, feta cheese, tomatoes and Athenian dressing, and an Asiago garden salad with mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, mixed greens and a balsamic dressing.
For sides, staples include garlic bread, wood-fired chicken wings, spinach pie with Greek spices, feta cheese and gyro sauce, and meat pie with beef, pork and potato.
A kid’s menu has options like macaroni and cheese, specialty pies like Angry Bee (pepperoni, banana peppers and honey) and a “Make Your Mark” pizza, in which kids can choose any topping for the same price.
Kandil said the goal was to have a simple menu featuring products from local farms.
“Simplicity is the best thing,” he said. “You walk into a place like Chili’s or Applebee’s and they give you a book that’s bigger than my history book. You waste like 20 minutes flipping through pages. So I want to have everything easy for everybody.”
Pizza Allegria is going to offer delivery services to everyone living within a six-mile radius, according to Kandil. Take-out and catering will also be available and, in the summer, additional seating will be set up along the front patio facing the street.
Kandil said beginning about a month after the opening date of Pizza Allegria, two-hour pizza-making classes will be available for kids ages 4 to 10 on the first Sunday of every month.
“Kids can make whatever they want with the dough and actually get to cook and create their own pizza,” he said.
Kandil is also looking to use the parking lot space outside his storefront to host community events. One that he has in mind for the late spring or summer is a pizza-themed festival featuring several other local pizzerias.
“What I would like is to have every pizza maker or every pizza place [in this area] come here and make it an event to bring the town here,” he said.

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