OTTO featured in ‘Crusts: The Ultimate Baker’s Book’

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OTTO founders Anthony Allen and Mike Keon are featured in Crusts, a brand new, 848-page baking book from Cider Mill Press.

Crusts: The Ultimate Baker’s Book features over 300 recipes from expert bakers around the world, covering breads, croissants, pizzas, pies, and more. The publisher describes the cookbook as “the ultimate resource for every level chef, and is a keystone addition to your cookbook library.”

Written by Barbara Elisi Caracciolo, owner of Spigamadre bakery in Sweden and blogger behind Bread and Companatico, Crusts runs the gamut, featuring: gluten-free, Paleo, vegetarian, and vegan recipes; complete how-to sections on making your own dough, bread, and pizzas with easy-to-follow instructions; helpful tips and techniques from expert bakers and chefs; culinary histories behind your favorite loaves and pastries; an illustrated catalog of more than 100 grains from around the world and throughout time, and much more.

IMG_7097The book features a profile on OTTO, an interview with owners Mike and Anthony, and the recipe for OTTO’s signature ‘Masher’ pie (Mashed Potato, Bacon & Scallion), which has been named one of the best pizzas in America by The Food Network.

It’s an elegant and informative book, packed with a wealth of insight and inspiration. Pick it up at your local independent bookstore, directly from the publisher, or anywhere books are sold.

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Ready for Our Closeup: OTTO Pizza’s Gonna Be on TV!

We’re gonna be on TV! The Phantom Gourmet is going to run a segment on OTTO Pizza this Saturday at 11 a.m. on myTV38.

Regular readers of the OTTO Blog may recall that a few months ago, a crew from the Phantom Gourmet stopped by to see first-hand how the OTTO PIzza magic happens.

For those of you who don’t live in the Boston area, the Phantom Gourmet is a legendary television show that consistently features the best the Boston food scene has to offer. It airs on myTV38 on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. You can catch the show in Maine now, too, on WPME-TV on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Earlier this summer, the Phantom Gourmet crew spent an afternoon at the OTTO Pizza shop in Coolidge Corner, talking with co-owners Anthony Allen and Mike Keon and shooting footage that will give their viewers an up-close and personal take on the backstory behind our award-winning pies.

Catch the Phantom Gourmet – and the segment about OTTO Pizza – on Saturday and Sunday morning at 11 a.m on myTV38.

They took a good look at one of our most popular slices: The Masher, which features mashed Maine potatoes, bacon and scallions, learned about a couple of other OTTO Pizza specialties, including the Pulled Pork & Mango and the Butternut Squash, Ricotta and Cranberry, and it was great hanging out with them, too.

We can’t wait to see what airs.

You can catch our segment this Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

Win An OTTO Pizza Hat Just Like the Ones Worn by the Folks Behind the Counter!

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Here’s your chance to win an official OTTO Pizza hat, just like the ones worn by the folks who work there!

If you’ve been to OTTO Pizza, or had OTTO Pizza delivered to you, you’ve probably seen them — those sylish, white hats that the kitchen and delivery staff wear. Here’s your chance to get one for yourself!

To snag one, all you’ve got to do is visit our Facebook page, click on the “OTTO Hat Contest” link and fill  out the form by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 1, 2012. We’ll select a winner at random from among the entries on Monday, July 2, and the lucky entrant should be sporting that new cap by the weekend!

These are great hats, featuring the OTTO Pizza logo embroidered in black thread on the front of a 100-percent cotton, pure white cap, and until now the only way to get one has been to work at OTTO Pizza — which is a possibility. We’re always looking for good help.

But if you’ve got a job, or are otherwise occupied in that respect, this is your best bet to get an OTTO Pizza hat. We’ve got no plans to offer them for sale. So get on over to our Facebook page and enter! You can’t win if ya don’t play.

Tony Hawk Twitter Hunt Winner Claims the Prize at OTTO Pizza in Portland, Maine

If you’re into skateboarding, or even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard of Tony Hawk, who is without question the most popular skateboarder in the world.

Craid Candage found the Tony Hawk Twitter Hunt box that had been stashed at OTTO Pizza in Portland, Maine.

Every year, Tony Hawk stashes a bunch of boxes, filled with swag — skateboard gear from his company, Birdhouse Skateboards, autographed items, and other cool stuff — at various locations around the country. You may have read about it in USA Today or on ESPN. This year, he hid 45 boxes in cities throughout the country and a handful in various other English-speaking countries throughout the world.

More specifically, he stashed one at OTTO Pizza‘s shop on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine.

And about five minutes after the shop opened this morning, Craig Candage, of Portland, Maine, walked in and asked for the “Birdhouse Special.”

He got it: a big ol’ box full of swag, courtesy of Tony Hawk and his skateboard company, Birdhouse Skateboards.

So, what was in the box? All sorts of cool stuff: some T-shirts and other apparel gear, some skate gear … too much to describe, really.

Craig Candage, who found the Tony Hawk Twitter Hunt box that had been stashed in Portland, Maine, as part of the 2012 event, displays the load of swag that had been packed into the prize box.

Check out the photo to get a sense of what the winner walked off with.

You can see a video of Craig unpacking his box here.

And if you want to see if you can find one of these wicked cool boxes next year, make sure you follow @tonyhawk on Twitter so you can track the clues.

Good luck.

What do the Maine High School Basketball State Champs Have in Common with OTTO Pizza?

OTTO Pizza co-owners Mike Keon (L) and Anthony Allen (C) receive kudos from Portland Mayor Michael Brennan Monday evening at City Hall in Portland, Maine.

A lot more than you’d think.

F’rinstance, all of ’em are from Portland. For those of you who somehow didn’t see the news, Portland’s Deering High School boys basketball and McCauley High School girls basketball teams were both the best in the state this year — and OTTO Pizza is arguably the best pizza in the state, if not New England.

And all of ’em were at City Hall in Portland, Maine, on Monday night to receive commendations from the members of the City Council and Portland Mayor Michael Brennan; the members of Portland’s championship teams for their outstanding athletic achievement on the court, and OTTO Pizza for supporting the Portland Recreation Department’s after-school program.

And while we certainly didn’t set out seeking such recognition when we became involved with the Rec Department, it was an honor to receive it, nonetheless.

Thank you.

Anthony & Mike

OTTO Pizza to Open in Brookline, Massachusetts

OTTO Pizza is coming to Coolidge Corner in Brookline, MA.

OTTO Pizza is set to open a new store in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood in Brookline, Massachusetts.

“This is a great location,” OTTO Pizza co-owner Anthony Allen said. “Coolidge Corner is a fantastic neighborhood, and when the location opened up it seemed like a natural fit for us.”

The new shop, which received licensing approvals from the Brookline Board of Selectmen last night, will offer OTTO Pizza’s full menu of interesting and unusual pies, including the signature Mashed Potato, Bacon and Scallion pizza that has drawn national media coverage, as well as special creations featuring seasonal ingredients. The menu will also include several salads and desserts.

Allen said the new store, which will be located at 289 Harvard Ave. in Brookline, will have 60 seats when the build-out is complete and is on schedule to open in May  2012.

“We’re going to provide people with a place to come in, sit down and have an excellent meal without breaking the bank,’ Allen said.

Allen’s partner in OTTO Pizza, co-owner Mike Keon, said the new store will also feature a selection of beer and wine available by the glass.

OTTO Pizza is owned by Allen and Keon, both veteran restaurateurs with decades of experience between them, and currently has four locations: two full service restaurants in Portland, a delivery restaurant that is also in Portland, and a Harvard Square shop in Cambridge, Mass., that offers take-out service. The Brookline, Mass., store represents the fifth OTTO Pizza location.

OTTO Pizza’s Lady Zen Has What It Takes — And More

Lady Zen delivers some spoken word truth at the OTTO Pizza Christmas party in December 2011, which took place at the OTTO Pizza on Munjoy Hill.

The folks who work at OTTO Pizza are an eclectic bunch, no doubt, but it’s not often that one of our own gets a cover story in a well-read local mag.

Lady Zen, a jazz singer and poet who also happens to work at OTTO Pizza‘s Munjoy Hill shop at 225 Congress St., in Portland, Maine, got a helluva write-up this month in The Bollard, a monthly magazine in Portland that’s become a must-read for anyone who wants to keep up with the lowdown on what’s going on culturally in this town.

Not only did The Bollard’s publisher, Chris Busby, who wrote the piece himself, manage to convey a compelling account of her life story, he also delivered a convincing argument as to why her shows are quickly becoming can’t-miss events wherever she plays.

From The Bollard piece:

The most powerful voice in Portland belongs to a 40-year-old Brazilian Buddhist from the Bible Belt who makes her living slinging pizza. Her name is Alzenira Santos Amaral Quezada. You may know her as Lady Zen.

Lady Zen’s music mirrors her life: both have been all over the map. On the heels of a heartbreaking year, Lady Zen is poised to make her strongest music yet in 2012. She’s learning how to meld her influences into a sound that’s uniquely her own.

You’ve never heard anyone like Lady Zen around here. And you ain’t heard nothin’ yet.

Lady Zen, who works the OTTO Pizza kitchen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and also takes a turn hosting on Friday nights, has a couple of gigs coming up that promise to showcase different aspects of her amazing talent and engaging persona.

The first is set for Feb. 14, (Valentine’s Day, ya know) at The Big Easy, where she’ll recreate Erykah Badu‘s phenomenal record, “Baduizm,” in its entirety — for the first set. In the second set, she and her band will present a complement of her original tunes, which she said she’s reworking specifically for this performance.

“We’re rearranging the songs to reflect the feel of Erykah Badu’s album, so the show will flow,” Lady Zen said. “This isn’t going to be some sit-down jazz thing, it’s going to be a get-up-and-shake-your-booty kind of thing.”

The second gig on the horizon represents something else entirely — exactly what, however, remains to be seen: Lady Zen will be participating in the Space Gallery’s 48-hour Music Festival, with a show set for Saturday, Feb. 18.

What, you make ask, is the 48-hour Music Festival? Let’s let the folks from the Space Gallery answer that one. From the Space Gallery’s webpage:

Thirty adventurous artists from different Portland bands of all genres agree to step out of their comfort zones and be randomly shuffled into 6 supergroups, announced on Thursday afternoon. No members of these newly formed bands are allowed to have previous musical history with one another. From there, each band has exactly 48 hours to construct and practice a 25 minute set of material, culminating in the Saturday performance.

So, mark the dates down in your datebooks, folks, and try to hit at least one or both, if at possible.

And if you find yourself on Munjoy Hill sometime, stop in at OTTO Pizza, grab a slice and a refreshing beverage, and introduce yourself to Lady Zen — and maybe you’ll be able to say you knew her when …

In the meantime, you can check out a couple of tunes from her recent gig at the Big Easy at The Bollard’s website, or you can go straight to the source at her own website.