Magpie Woodfired Pizzeria (Greenfield, MA)

After a recent hiking trip to Mount Holyoke in Hadley, MA, we were looking for a nice spot for dinner on the way home. Luckily, Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley has quite a few great options for dinner. While normally we’d hit up either one of our favorite spots in Northampton, or potentially visit our old favorite The People’s Pint in Greenfield, this time we decided we’d mix it up a bit, and check out a place that had been one our perennial hit list, Magpie Woodfired Pizzeria in Greenfield.

Located just a short bit down the street from People’s Pint after the road transitions from Federal Street to Bank Row, Magpie is situated in a double storefront just south of the old vacant First National Bank and Trust Building (one of several current and former banks that long ago gave name to Bank Row). Magpie is actually the sister restaurant to an older, established Greenfield restaurant, Hope and Olive, and opened in 2010 to start serving up woodfired pizzas showcasing local ingredients. Walking in, you immediate get a nice vibe that’s a combination of “old school New England pizza shop” and “relaxed Italian bistro”, and that’s good, because that’s essentially what the experience it. Magpie is primarily a pizzeria built around a handmade, wood-fired pizza oven, but they also have a very wide selection of cocktails, salads, and a handful of Italian-style dinner entrees in addition to pizza.

While a lot of the entrees looked particularly tempting, we were both in the mood for pizza, ordering up both a fairly classic Pepperoni and Mushroom pizza, and a slightly more adventuresome Broccoli Rabe pizza as well. I then actually wandered back into the hallway between the restrooms and kitchen, which gave a particularly good view of them assembling our pizzas and getting them slid into the woodfired oven.

Returning to the table, the salad we had also ordered had arrived. While we almost ordered the Caesar salad, the daily special board had a salad special that looked particularly good: radicchio, apples, blue cheese, and mixed greens. This turned out to be a good choice since this was an outstanding salad. Both the radicchio and the greens were nicely fresh and crisp, the blue cheese quite flavorful, and a nice light balsamic dressing tied to all together with the apple wedges for a combination of sweetness and texture. Overall, a very satisfying salad.

Since it’s a pretty good woodfired oven at Magpie, the pizzas actually cook really quickly, so we quickly had our pizzas at the table as well. Our first choice was about as close as Magpie gets to a “standard” pizza, their pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Served up with caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella. This was an outstanding pizza. The cornerstone of a good pizza is the crust, and Magpie has a solid show going on here, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and having just the right amount of crisp and char from the wood-fired oven. Add in a good sauce (supplemented by the nice roasted tomatoes also on the pizza), some good cheese, and some very good pepperoni and mushrooms, and this was a very satisfying pizza, and I was glad I could take half of it home for the next day’s lunch.

Those that know about some of my favorite Italian ingredients also know of my love for that distance cousin to broccoli (actually, it’s more closely related to turnips), broccoli rabe. More bitter and herbal than most other cruciferous vegetables, paired with the right acid notes this vegetable shines, and our broccoli rabe pizza from Magpie was a great example of this: served up with a surprisingly pungent garlic oil, caramelized onion, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella, this tied the nicely fire-roasted rabe into a tender and flavorful pizza topping. Overall, another winner.

Really, we loved Magpie. Not only is it great pizza, but they’ve got some nice, well-conceived custom pizza varieties that really delivered on both flavor and texture. I’ll be happy to come back, especially if I use it as an opportunity to try some of their house cocktails or more elaborate dinner entrees. It is definitely one of the gems of the Pioneer Valley.

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