Dave Portnoy reviews Denneno’s Pizza in Stoughton

STOUGHTON — When Dave Portnoy visits a pizza place for a review, normally all eyes are on him as the star of the show.

That wasn’t the case when he recently stopped at Denneno’s Pizza in Stoughton.

The star? Canton resident Kristen Gunning.

Because without Gunning’s generosity, the review might not have happened. And if it did still happen, Portnoy might have been waiting nearly two hours for his cheese pie and who knows how different the review may have been.

Gunning was at Denneno’s on Saturday, Dec. 9, when Portnoy — the founder of Barstool Sports and One Bite — stopped by after the Army vs. Navy game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Portnoy said he wanted to try the pizza, but there was an hour and a half wait, so they drove to Stoughton and went inside to see if they could sit and wait.

That’s when he met Gunning, who offered him one of the two pizzas she had just purchased. She said her boyfriend wanted the hamburger and onion pizza, so she offered him her cheese pie for free.

Gunning was featured throughout the entire video review, which Portnoy posted on Wednesday.

Did Dave Portnoy like the pizza?

“One bite, everybody knows the rules,” Portnoy said while standing outside the Pearl Street business.

“Bar pie — great,” Portnoy said as he took a bite of the cheese pizza. “The sauce is very good.”

His only gripe? The pizza could’ve used “a tiny bit more crisp.”

What score did Denneno’s get?

Portnoy admitted he felt some pressure “to boost the score a little bit,” given how nice Gunning was and the fact that Denneno’s is closing on Dec. 30 after nearly 70 years in business.

The score — 8.1, a very respectable score on Portnoy’s scale up to 10, with only about 20 ever rated in the 9s. And Portnoy said recently that his scale has gotten stricter the more pizzas he’s tried.

For David Denneno, one of the co-owners, he said it was “a pretty amazing” experience. He said the stop was very unexpected and the shop was so busy they didn’t even know what was happening until they looked outside and saw someone videotaping.

“It’s an honor,” Denneno said. “I’m going to be prideful and say we got a good review and we should get a good review because we’ve always had a good pizza. It’s always nice to have people from the outside recognize you and your family’s product and your legacy. We’ve been around for 69 years, so something must have been right if we’re there that long.”

Why is Denneno’s closing?

The Denneno family announced in November that it would be closing its doors at the end of December.

Denneno’s mother, longtime owner Carmella Denneno, wanted them to close the business when she died in 2017.

“She was 86 years old, still working at her pizza shop. She passed away going on seven years ago. We decided to keep the shop going,” David Denneno said. “Now, the siblings, there are five of us that are considered the owners. My oldest brother, Mark, was born the year the shop opened up. My brother Mark runs the shop, that’s his career. He’s now 69 years old and he’s ready to retire.”

One of the siblings is a nurse, another is a teacher and another a firefighter. Their children also all have careers.

“There’s really not a legacy to take it over,” David Denneno said.

Since announcing the closure, he said there have been many returning customers and well-wishers.

“We’re getting a lot of people that are buying numerous pizzas to put in their freezer,” he said.

David Denneno said he’s been called back to duty on weekends with how busy the shop is, often with a two-hour wait for pizzas.

“We’re all pitching in and making that last hurrah to keep all of our customers happy and fed until the doors close,” he said.

Enterprise senior reporter Cody Shepard can be reached by email at cshepard@enterprisenews.com.


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