The toughest table in town these days? No, it’s not at a swanky downtown restaurant — it’s at Sally’s Apizza. The celebrated, 85-year-old New Haven pizzeria opened its first Massachusetts location in Woburn in December, with lines out the door and around the block. I know; I saw them every time I scooted into HomeGoods next door to do my holiday shopping.
Not long after, an e-mail arrived from a reader, who had unsuccessfully attempted to order a takeout pie at 5 p.m., when the restaurant opened (they’ll launch lunch service soon).
“I had tried ordering a pizza online, but kept getting a message that read, ‘Something is wrong. [We] won’t be able to start processing your order until 8:00.’ I was grocery shopping in the nearby Market Basket, so I decided to just go over to the restaurant and order a pizza in person. . . . They told me it was very busy and the pizza wouldn’t be ready until 9. ‘Is that OK?’ one of the women asked. ‘No,’ I replied. ‘I’m not going to wait four hours for a pizza.’ I left and ordered a pizza elsewhere,” the reader lamented.
“I don’t know if this was a one off, attributable to a few bumps in the road of starting a new business, or if their pizza is so good there’s always going to be a long wait. It might be of benefit to your readers to look into this and see what’s going on.”
What’s going on is that Sally’s thin-crust pizza has lots of fans and is therefore swamped. I’ve experienced the crush firsthand. I first attempted to dine in with a party of five — arriving right when doors opened — and was quoted a nearly three-hour wait. I was advised to make a reservation next time, but be forewarned: Sally’s only takes reservations for parties of four or fewer.
Undaunted, my family spent the next week or so trying to snag takeout. I would log on as if I were trying to get Taylor Swift tickets, ready to pounce and place my online order as soon as doors opened. But no: I also received a message saying that due to high demand, my pie wouldn’t be ready until 9 p.m. This was too late for my hungry brood, but even if it hadn’t been, I wasn’t given the option of ordering and waiting.
Clearly, the hungry Globe reader and I aren’t alone: Sally’s has posted a user guide on social media because of the demand. Tips include the fact that “takeout is limited” and “be prepared to order fast.” There’s also the option of calling in an order, but this didn’t work for me, either: When I called, I was given the choice of visiting the restaurant in person to place my order — which I would’ve loved to do, if only I could get a reservation.
That said: The holidays are over, and it looks like tables are opening up. Tonight, I have my pick of seats. And a Sally’s rep says that they’ll soon lift takeout limitations. So, if you hanker for an authentic New Haven slice — that isn’t from Frank Pepe, which also now has locations throughout the area — don’t give up hope.
And if a trip to Woburn isn’t in your future? A Seaport location is in the offing. Just book your reservations in advance. 300 Mishawum Road, Woburn, 781-399-5264, www.sallysapizza.com