A true college town: Pinnochio’s Pizza and Bartley’s Burgers in Cambridge

by Kelsey
Bartley's Burgers, Cambridge

While I have a huge love of the vibrancy of college towns — I still live in UCLA’s Westwood, after all — I have to say that Harvard Square doesn’t have much in the way of classy restaurants. It is, after all, catering to students (and some of the most studious in the country, at that).

Even in my travels, however, I am forever Frugal Nosh and as such always appreciate a good piece of college-town pizza or a big juicy burger that won’t set me back a pretty penny.

That’s why I was overjoyed to nosh on some Harvard Square Bartley’s Burgers after a long day in the Cambridge rain.

The place is small — “cozy” would be a nice word to describe it, “tiny” would be more accurate — but warming. The brick walls are covered with college rivalry paraphernalia and snarky vintage placards. You can read a menu or try and decipher the different one written in chalk on the wall; the service is quick and pleasant and you can tell they’re used to serving people who need to get back to studying.

Burger at Bartley's Burgers

The menu is filled with christened burgers with tongue-in-cheek descriptions. The Barack Obama (“no experience necessary”) is a modest feta cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, red onion ($9.45). The Steve Jobs (“iBURGER”) rolls out with boursin cheese, mushrooms and onions ($9.75), and The Facebook (“connect with this”) is topped with BBQ sauce and cole slaw ($9.75).

All the burgers are served with fries. Substitute onion rings or delicious sweet potato fries for $1.45.

Sweet potato fries at Bartley's Burgers

Their menu changes with the political and social climate, I imagine, since I didn’t see our exact burger we ordered (below) on their online menu. All I remember was creamy boursin cheese…yum. Note that Bartley’s is cash only.

Another Cambridge highlight is Pinnochio’s pizza – affectionately dubbed “Nochs” by my company. They serve hot pizza – Sicilian (deep crust) or regular (thin crust) – by the slice or by the pie, with any number of delicious toppings.

There are, alas, no photos from my delicious slices of lush spinach pizza (Sicilian crust) because when I finally had the chance to eat it after nibbling in the car, I was far more distracted by a long-awaited catch-up session with my second gracious Boston hostess, Emily.

Pinnochio’s pizza, Cambridge
74 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Bartley’s Burgers
1246 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

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1 comment

Rabbittrick August 31, 2010 - 5:06 am

I started travelling only this year and one tip that I learnt was staying in college dorms during their school break. i haven't gotten around to trying it myself, but I must say the experience is greatly intriguing to me. ditto with the college land bar food. it sounds much better than the regular food i have in bars back home!


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