Angelo’s Pizza in Canton, MA

Angelo’s Pizza
1 Beaumont St, Canton, MA 02021
781-828-3600
Hours: TU-TH: 11a-9p; F-Sat: 11a-10p; Sun: 12p-8p
Delivery Minimum: $10
Menu: Click here
Website: AngelosNow.com

Here’s a story for you: I commute from Boston on the commuter rail, Franklin line, to Norwood; however, the last peak-hour train out of South Station is at 6:15pm and the next one doesn’t come around until 7:35pm!!! What to do? Well, if you know of a charitable soul who could do you a favor, you could always take the next Providence/Stoughton train to Canton Junction, and they could pick you up (10-15 min ride home, guaranteed). That’s what happened to me on a rainy evening last week. Not wanting to wait in the rain (the station doesn’t provide much of a shelter), I looked around for a warm place to stand… and lo and behold, enter Angelo’s Pizza!

Angelo's Pizza is right across the street from the Canton Junction Station

I ordered a cheeseless Granny’s Garden pizza, and a small cheese for my husband. To pass the time, I also ordered a cheeseless garlic bread. All the while, I was watching Angelo make a taco pizza and my mouth was WATERING! (one thing the menu doesn’t mention is that they squirt melted queso on the pizza — YUM). Full of curiosity, I took one look at the menu, and I was HOOKED. They had the typical pizzas you will find anywhere (for people like my husband, who just like to stick with cheese or pepperoni), in addition to some specialties (for adventurous souls like myself) which, in my humble opinion, should forever on be added to all pizza parlor menus. I especially loved their intentionally unclever names for some of their favorites: The CPA (Chicken, Peppers, Artichokes), or the C.B.A. (Chicken, Broccoli, Alfredo sauce). I have to try all of these!!!

Angelo!

They had opened just 9 days before (so that must be some time the first week of May 2011). Angelo and his girlfriend, Emily, decided to put up a pizza place and found this building pretty quickly. They cleaned it all up themselves, ordered some new equipment, and 1 month later they were in business! I was genuinely happy for them for making this happen in such a tough economy, and I wish them all the best in their new endeavor.

By the way, the garlic bread was OUT OF THIS WORLD. I know what you’re thinking: “you can’t really mess up garlic bread… she must be related to this Angelo dude.” Well, Mr. and Mrs. Skeptical, YES YOU CAN, and NO I’M NOT. Usually the garlic bread will set the tone for the entire meal: too hard? too much garlic? too little butter? Well, this bread was perfect in every way: soft, warm, just garlicky enough, and I pretty much ate the whole thing standing there waiting for my pizzas.

They do deliver in Norwood, although it will depend on the exact address. Call them and find out!

ina

View my review on Yelp here!

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Best Pizza in Norwood, MA – Express Pizza (A+++)

Express Pizza
119 Central St, Norwood, MA 02062
781-255-2007
Hours: M-TH: 11a-10p; F-Sat: 11a-10:30p; Sun: 12p-10p
Delivery Minimum: $10 (Norwood & Westwood)
Menu: Click here
Website: ExpressPizzaNorwood.com

My husband and I moved to Norwood back in 2009. The first order of business was to find a suitable pizza place. We tried EVERY possibility around to no avail (sidenote: stay away from Sokos Pizza and 1A Pizza)… and then we discovered Express through our neighbors. We wish we had started the search there! Would have saved us a LOT of grief over the following year!

I have had the opportunity to meet the owner, Mike, and his wife, Emma. They are good people and treat everyone like family. The business is small, to the point that you might get the owner himself delivering pizza at your doorstep! It feels good knowing my pizza is in good hands 🙂

We usually get the cheese pizza, which is amazing. My husband is also fond of their pepperoni, and I have been known to order their chicken alfredo spaguetti in the past. They never disappoint.

The only thing is that I have tried calling at 8pm or 9pm on a Sunday, and although their menu claims they are still open, I haven’t been able to reach anyone. Other than that, this has become our favorite place for reliably good pizza and other quick meals.

We recommend this place a million times over. Definitely the best pizza in Norwood.

ina

View my review on Yelp here!

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Yankee Renovations / Frank Judge A+++

Yankee Renovation / Frank Judge
Contact: Frank Judge
781-329-1113
7 Willow St
Dedham MA 02026
Look them up on Angie’s List

It’s no surprise that the evil floods destroyed our basement. Well, the new basement is completely done and BEAUTIFUL! I thought I’d put in my two cents on the company we went with: Yankee Renovations (owned and operated by a good man named Frank Judge).

This is a copy of my very thorough review at Angie’s List:

Yankee Renovation, Frank Judge

Completed: January 17, 2011
Approximate Cost: $40,000.00
Original quote: $36,000.00

Summary of the work done:
Rebuild gutted basement: put up walls, new floors, remove walls, replace furnace, move furnace orientation, insulate outside facing walls, lay down carpet in the study.

“BEFORE” Video

Full Feedback:
Frank Judge, owner and general contractor at Yankee Renovations, made a great impression from the start: not only was he the only contractor we interviewed (out of 5) who was able to bring forward a quote within a week, but he was the ONLY general contractor who brought in his HVAC and electrical contractors in to see the work within that week, only to make sure his quote would be as accurate as possible. By the end of quote week, he had been to our house 3 times (compared to the other contractors who just came in once for a look). Although we did receive other quotes that were considerably lower than Frank’s, we felt strongly that Frank’s was the only quote we could trust. When Frank gives you a price, he will try to stick to it throughout. In our case, the original quote was for $36,000. However, due to (inevitable) adjustments and a few structural surprises, the final price ended at $40,000. Any job should budget for these “surprises,” and we knew that going in. But that was better than accepting a quote for $27,000 and watch it balloon up to $40,000. The expectations must be set realistically, and Frank was the only one that gave us a realistic price.

As opposed to other contractors, Frank never nudged us against getting permits. He was always 100% ready to go to the town hall and get his papers and inspections in order. This was a KEY selling point for us. In fact, the day I called him to give him the job, I had a surprise for him: we had just found out that we needed a permit by the NEXT DAY in order to apply for a certain loan at a specific interest rate. He immediately flew down to Norwood city hall and worked his magic even though he had not previously had a relationship with any of the inspectors in this town. Miraculously, he was able to get the permit that same day (they normally take anywhere from a week to a month).

The basement was completely gutted. We had already taken care of removing asbestos tiling and old studs off the walls. Frank’s job was to take our architect’s design, and make it work. This included installing a brand new furnace (in a different orientation as the last one, making the job more difficult), create a big closet space, tear down a couple of walls, lay down tile floor, put up walls and insulation around the house, and paint/insulate and lay down carpet in a room in the basement. It was not a small project.

Frank’s crew started work on the last week of October, and gave us a quote for 90 days. He finished the work completely by January 17th, marking 84 days of work. He is likely to quote a high date range, and strive for finishing weeks early. In our case, we were out of town for part of December, and for the last few weeks of those 84 days we were waiting for the right time to complete the inspections. However, the actual work was done within 60-70 days from the start, which pleased us very much.

Frank’s team was clean and efficient. They kept a neat work site, and always worked during the day, such that we were never bothered in the evenings.

Frank was always in touch. He picked up his phone 90% of the time, and the rest of the time he replied to voicemails on the same day or the day after. He made sure we always knew what was going on with the basement. We felt communicated to every step of the way.

Frank also was willing to work with us on paying for certain things with a credit card, such that we wouldn’t have to wait around for a building loan to come through to come up with the cash for the job. For instance, we paid for the floor tile and the furnace by credit card on our own.

Not only was he willing to work with us on a realistic payment schedule (which was based purely on building milestones), but he also looked for the best deal for us. For instance, the floor tile was the same kind he used in a previous job, and he found out that the company was discontinuing that particular color. So he got a 50% discount on the tile, which saved us an important amount of money. He also helped us pick a carpet that was to our liking, and he alerted us that there was a particular color that was on sale. He tried to help us save money wherever he could.

He was also very open to suggestion. I am not an easy customer. When I set my mind to one way, it is very hard to change my mind. With Frank, it was never him against me. It was always “how are WE going to make that happen in a realistic fashion?” He had great points and showed an immense amount of patience with me. He talked me out of having hard wood floor in the basement, and he was right. We could not be happier with the results.

We have had no issues with the end result of the work, and we feel very lucky to have found Frank to guide us through it and to help us accomplish it in just 2 whole months of actual labor. We were never disturbed, and we were communicated to every step of the way. I always said I would pay a premium for hiring someone who could give me the same peace of mind as Mike Holmes gives to his clients on his famous HGTV show. I would dare to put Frank Judge on the same level.

Now, Frank isn’t perfect! His flaw? The man talks! You’ll know what I mean if you do choose to call him up 🙂 We were able to live with it. It’s a small price to pay for such incredible work quality and ethic.

We are still in touch with Frank, and we do hope he will help us build a master suite addition in a few years. He has built his business on relationships, and we are comfortable entrusting him with any job that may pop up in our home.

We would recommend Frank Judge for any remodeling job.

“AFTER” Pictures

Sump pump casing

Sump pump is at the floor level inside the casing

View of the laundry room from the living room

Brand new furnace: new orientation

Floor tile

ina

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Drycrete Waterproofing (A+++)

Drycrete Waterproofing
Contact: John
781-899-9080
877-379-2738
774-277-2448
552 Main St, Unit 4
Waltham, MA 02452
http://drycretewp.com

Services Performed:
Installation of 2 sump pumps in bottom level of raised ranch house.

The work was finished early at 2 days of work (original estimate was 3-4 days).
The first day, a team of 3 workers and a supervisor (owner of the company, John), set up shop.

Day 1 (9am-4pm) was mostly devoted to drilling through the cement foundation and carving out about 2 feet of dirt, where the pipe would go (worker 1 drilled, worker 2 dug, and worker 3 hauled away the big rocks, dirt and cement).

Day 2 (8:30am-8pm), also 3 workers, was devoted to finishing the digging, putting the pipes in, filling with gravel, placing the pumps and buckets in the ground, and cementing over the entire perimeter, as well as putting down the discharge pipes outside the house (hidden in the ground). The supervisor stopped by a few times to make sure the team and work were under control.

At the end of Day 2, the team dropped a bucket of water into each pump bucket, and we watched them work perfectly. At that time, we paid in full. No down payment or advance was ever requested from us.

The Story:
Our house was not spared by the rains in Massachusetts in March 2010, and our first story took in a great deal of ground water; so, along with other 1500 homeowners, we called a different company (not Drycrete) immediately to install a sump pump. After 2 cancellations on their part (one a no-show), and $3000 of down-payment later, we terminated the contract with them and decided to shop around.

We found Drycrete on the Better Business Bureau and noticed it had an A+ rating. We were a bit skeptical at first, since it had only been in the system for a year or so, but we went with them anyway because of the service we had received in the estimate process. It was NOT the cheapest one we found, but it was worth it to know we would get a trustworthy contact on the other side, and we are happy to report we made the right choice.

The foreman, and owner of the company, John, picked up the phone himself. He stopped by the same week and gave us an estimate. After shopping around with other companies, we decided to go with John due to his immediate responsiveness and no-nonsense approach to the work. He was very honest and definitely knew what he was talking about after having been in the business since his father started it 30 years ago. We also appreciated the fact that he himself would supervise the job on site, and that we had access to his cellphone, which rarely went to voicemail. When it did, we consistently received a call back the same day. He was committed to making sure we had a positive experience.

On the day of the job, John walked me through the entire process. We discussed the location of the discharge pipes and agreed on the terms. His workers were a pleasure to be around. Not only were they very kind and polite, but they also made sure the work area remained clean and organized (I later found out that they actually get measured on this, and they were meticulous about the cleanliness of the job site). They were most certainly not sloppy, and made us feel extremely comfortable with having them do work in our home. They were even comfortable allowing me to record video of the process, which I plan on sending to them in a CD for their use.

We were extremely satisfied with the results. The pumps work great, the area is all picked up and simply perfect. Exactly what we were expecting.

If I had to find one let down, I’d probably have to say that John said he would arrive between 7:30 and 8:30 on the first day, but actually called me at 8:45 to say he’d be here in 5-10min, which he was. I guess I just mention it so that others don’t hold this against him. The actual job was worth gold and we were willing to overlook the tardiness on day 1. They did arrive at 8:30 on day 2.

For any kind of waterproofing needs, I recommend John and his crew from Drycrete. I even created an AngiesList account and signed up for membership ONLY so that I could give them a positive review. I wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Click here to see them in the Better Business Bureau page

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Nealco II Asbestos Removal (C+)

NealcoToo, Inc
781-794-1432
5 Caspian Way
Braintree, MA 02125
http://www.nealcotoo.com

Like many basements in Norwood, ours took in water during the March rains. We have a raised ranch, so our basement is not only our bottom floor, it is our first floor and living area. Once a beautifully finished basement was now gutted to the bone.

Like everyone else without a sump pump, we called up a company to get one installed. We learned that the process required them to tear up the cement around the house where the wall meets the floor plate. This meant jack-hammering through the tile that we were advised not to disturb on the basement floor, as it may contain asbestos (our house was built in 1960). So we decided to call an air quality company to remove the floor for us, as the toxic asbestos tile require special handling.

Collecting Quotes

We called three companies for an estimate, and had 3 different experiences:

  1. Neal Co II: Bob Swanbeck came over in a company van and uniform. He explained the process and I got the impression that this was a very standard job. He said they could take care of it in 1 day. I was impressed by his professionalism, and put his quote in my back pocket: $2,800 for removing the tile ($1,800) and the mastic ($1,000).
  2. Dudley Services: Sam Nigro came to check out our basement. He seemed to ask all the right questions, but he hesitated with some of mine. He didn’t behave as confidently as Bob had, which really undermined his experience. He said the job would take 2-3 days. His quote was lower: $2,350 for the tile removal ($1,200), the MA license hygienist ($150), and removing the mastic ($1,000).
  3. Air Safe: David Walsh called an hour before our appointment to reschedule for the afternoon. Fortunately I was working from home and it was not a problem. Even then, he was late to our rescheduled appointment. He took a look around and said this was a very standard job. He didn’t ask any questions or take any measurements. He simply wrote his name and number on a post-it and handed it to me to follow up. Despite multiple phone calls to David, he failed to ever give us a quote.

So we picked NealCo, but only if they would meet us half-way between their quote and Dudley Services’ quote, which they decided to do. We paid $2,600 for the job.

How did it go?

Greg (or was it Craig?) and Robinson, from NealCo, came to the house at around 7am, as scheduled.

Positives:

  • They did a great job at removing the tile and mastic
  • They took away tiles we had removed ourselves
  • They removed the wooden frame of what used to be a closet and the wooden cabinet that surrounded the bathroom sink, with our consent, in order to do the job effectively.

Negatives:

  • Despite our request to work around a couch that had been determined to be too big to be removed from the room, Craig and Robinson decided to try to remove it from the room anyway, without success, to my great aggravation. They were trying to remove the legs of my (very expensive) couch despite my expressing my concerns. Not only that, Craig also opened a closed room (the study — where they were not authorized to go in, since we had our stuff piled up), and he single-handedly piled our stuff in one corner of the room. His goal was to move the couch from the living room to the study so they could work. I was APPALLED AND AGGRAVATED that this person actually MOVED AND TOUCHED my things and entered a room he was NOT authorized to enter without asking me first. I was right there on the top floor and kept checking in with them, but they managed to do this without my knowing until it was too late.
  • They made me feel uncomfortable, as the level of respect for the homeowner simply wasn’t there. I felt I was being treated like “a little lady” when I would ask how they were planning to do their job, and Craig would just answer with a chuckle and a “just trust me.” That is NOT how a professional behaves.

Side Note: When we accepted NealCo’s quote, we received the following email from Sam Nigro from Dudley Services:

“Hi Ina,
I noticed Nealco Too is performing the work in your home.
Here is a link explaining why they are called “Nealco Too” http://www.gsmlaborcouncil.org/node/4270.
My estimate may be expensive, yet the cost is a real representation of my companies expenses.
Thanks,
Sam”

Conclusion:

I would not recommend NealCo to my friends. Although they did an amazing job at what their expertise is (removing tile and mastic), they failed in every other aspect of respect for the home they are working in.

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Come on Down!

Board of Selectmen

Board of Selectmen, June 1, 2010

My first appearance at the meeting of the Board of Selectmen was an enlightening one. There are five selectment who preside over matters in the Town of Norwood (in order of seating from left to right): Mr. Plasko, Mrs Donohue, Chairman Kelleher, Mr Lyons and Mr McQuaid. They are not paid for their services, and they range in ages from around 45 to around 70 years of age. They all appear to be very knowledgeable about the town, and seem to have a great rapport despite their 25 year generational span. The atmosphere is rather formal: all refer to one another as “Mr [name],” and address Mr Kelleher as “Mr Chairman.”

The room is air conditioned, with a high-tech camera system that records the meeting. The selectmen are seated on the same side of a long wooden conference table, while two administrative assistants, Julia Liddy and Frances Jessoe (both in their 60s), interact with them as they go about each business item on the agenda (these are posted for the general public on the Town of Norwood’s website).

In front of the selectmen’s table, there is another conference table where the petitioners sit to present their cases. The whole thing is very American Idol-ish, where Mrs Donohue is a definite Paula (cheerleading kind), Chairman Kelleher is a charming Randy Jackson. Only time will tell who Simon Cowell is played by.

Julia and Frances play the audience. They play a human laugh track, and echo the feeling in the room. They are the Robin to the selectmen’s Howard Stern. It is quite delightful to see them react to the happenings around them.

Ernie Boch Junior

Ernie Boch Jr (source musicdrivesus.org)

In this, my first meeting, we had a celebrity sighting! Ernie Boch Junior made an appearance as first order of business, which started with Chairman Kelleher saying “Come on down!” — an obvious one, but hilarious nonetheless. Ernie Boch Junior donated $30,000 to the Town of Norwood to invest in different town programs. He expressed how much he loves the town and loves to give back, and he hopes that by giving money to the town, as opposed to every single department that knocks on his door for money individually, Norwood would take the ownership of dividing up the donation accordingly. Go Ernie Boch Junior! The girl scouts have him to thank.

Others might find this kind of meeting boring, but I loved hearing about the new bathhouse for the Hawes public pool, or to hear about a new walking path between the towns of Westwood and Norwood, or hear them bicker about whether they should put a four-way stop in the intersection between Nichols and Bond Street. Oh the drama!

In this blog I hope to bring you the latest news around the town. Maybe I could even give some tips about the services I have hired so far. Let me know if there is anything specific you want to learn about, and I’ll see what I can dig up on it!

ina

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