It is always interesting to see a ‘local flavor’ story, a positive human interest story with no downside. These stories remind us that there is good in the world, that in spite of recession and war and political strife and violence and natural disasters, there remains the possibility for the small and simpler pleasures often though to be the purview of forgotten times. And when one of those stories touches close to home, all the better. Such is the case in a story being featured on CNN, Good Morning America and other places – the story of a man who traveled 1400 miles and bought 150 pizzas!
Growing up in the suburban Boston town of Stoughton, one of the institutions was Town Spa Pizza just off the center on Porter Street (to anyone from the area I just showed my age as it relocated 25 years ago). Diagonally across the street from another in-town icon Americas (which also moved and is now Noceras), the Town Spa was a bar that had grown into an extremely popular pizza place, and ended up opening up an upstairs dining area.
When I was young, the pizza didn’t come in boxes … no, they had the cardboard plates common at fish fry places, but in larger sizes. You got your pizza to go between two of those stuffed in a paper bag! Often when we were old enough that my parents could go out and leave us alone, they would go to Americas and then at a pre-arranged time have us call Town Spa for take-out (remember, this was long before cell phones).
The Town Spa is a local cultural icon as much as a pizza place. While there are the normal MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Dominos, Pizza Hut, and on and on … none of them have managed to stop Town Spa from remaining a thriving business for decades. In response to rampant growth, 25 years ago the Town Spa relocated to a much larger and more modern (and cleaner!) facility where it remains today.
The restaurant has always been a local and regional favorite, but has garnered recent national attention by being named one of the nations Boston Herald., according to the
But for those who grew up in the Stoughton area, Town Spa tastes like HOME. In a world where it feels like every eatery is some generic chain tha is homogenizing our national palate, it is great to see that not only can a local flavor thrive – it can inspire loyalty that crosses hundreds and even thousands of miles! Here is a snip from the article:
Stoughton native David Schuler made headlines when he drove from his home in Jackson, Miss. to Town Spa and back again to pick up an order of 150 pizzas this past weekend. The frozen pizzas were vacuum sealed and cost Schuler about $1,200.
His brother, Richard, still lives in Framingham with his wife Pat, and the two were at Town Spa Monday evening. Richard had helped his brother pack his SUV full of pizzas on Saturday and was back in town to satisfy his own Town Spa hankering.
The Schulers lived on Ash Street while in Stoughton and had a family tradition of ordering Town Spa on Fridays.
Richard Schuler moved back to Massachusetts and eats at Town Spa about once a month, but for his siblings still down south they would typically bring some pizzas back home with them when they visited Stoughton. Richard said it became a challenge among his siblings to see who could bring the most back, with his brothers and sisters bringing only a few back at a time at first.
Then David upped the ante. He brought 40 home; then 100 on his last trip two years ago; and then 150 this time around.
“It’s what you’re brought up with,” Richard Schuler said. “It’s not just the pizza—it’s the memories; spending time with family.”
Showing the local nature, the Linguiça Schuler favors is a Portuguese sausage that is very popular on the Massachusetts south shore and in Stoughton, where there is a large Portuguese community from the Azores.
While this article is grabbing loads of attention and curiosity from those I have talked to in western New York, it didn’t surprise me one bit – grabbing frozen Town Spa pizzas is a very regular occurrence among my friends, and as my brother said “I never miss a trip to the Spa when I make it to Boston.” He also brings frozen ones to my parents who have relocated to South Carolina whenever he can.
As for me … order me up my fave – extra cheese with onions, peppers, hamburg and linguica!