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Posted on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 : 5:50 a.m.

Classic pizzas and friendly atmosphere make Thompson's Pizzeria a Chelsea favorite

By Julie Halpert


Outside of Thompson's Pizzeria in Chelsea.

Angela J. Cesere |

When Lynda Collins purchased Thompson's Pizzeria from Donald Thompson in 2002, he wanted to be sure she would keep his family's restaurant just as it was since it opened in 1970. "He wanted to maintain the local flavor and he knew I would do the right thing," says Collins. She bought the family's special pizza recipe and goes to the same lengths to make it, using homemade dough and grinding fresh cheese for the topping.

Collins explains that though she expanded the menu, adding several additional items including sandwiches and salads, she didn't tinker with the pizza that keeps generations of regulars returning. She recalls one customer, in her fifties, who visited recently, reminiscing about heading to Thompson's after football games in high school.

Thompson's, indeed, has a nostalgic feel. Located in the heart of Chelsea, it looks like it hasn't changed much since it opened. There's just one big room, with a bar in the center, with paneled walls and linoleum-topped tables and booths. This is clearly a popular gathering place. On the night we dined there, it was full of families with young children.


Thompson's Pizzeria
20700 Old U.S. 12, Chelsea
Thompson's Pizzeria in restaurant guide

  • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fridays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.-9 p.m.
  • Plastic: Visa, Mastercard.
  • Liquor: Yes.
  • Prices: Inexpensive to moderate. A small cheese pizza is $8.50. Sandwiches are in the $6.50 range and a quarter-pound hamburger is only $3.95.
  • Value: Good.
  • Noise Level: Loud.
  • Wheelchair access: Yes, though restrooms aren't set up well for wheelchairs.

Though the specialty here is pizza, there are several different types of appetizers, as well as subs and sandwiches. The fried zucchini and cheese sticks that we tried both looked like they were frozen and I later learned from Collins that this is the case. I longed to have ordered the hand-dipped onion rings that I spotted at our adjacent table. Collins told me that both the onion rings and the deep-fried mushrooms are both homemade, so I'd recommend them instead. I did, however, enjoy the pizza sauce that was ideal for dipping the cheese sticks.

Croutons in the salad we ordered didn't have that homemade taste and clearly came from a box, though the greens and vegetables in the salad were fresh and the blue cheese dressing was fine.

But the pizza, of course, is what seems to attract the crowds, and I can understand why. The crust has the look, texture and taste of a pie. It's light but slightly crispy, while the tomato sauce is dense, smooth and has a nice mix of spices.


Pepperoni pizza at Thompson's Pizzeria in Chelsea.

Angela J. Cesere |

The usual choices of toppings are offered, including pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, pineapple and jalapeno peppers. There are also specialty pizzas, like spinach-artichoke and chicken pesto.

We ordered one of our pizzas with just peppers, but when it arrived with onions as well, our server apologized and said she was going to quickly get us our pepper-only pizza. The one she brought was on the house. That was the type of congenial, warm service that we received throughout our visit here. Though the restaurant was packed, we received everything in a very respectable amount of time.

Those around us were clearly happy with their food. If you're up for a journey to Chelsea, or just happen to be in that neighborhood and are craving pizza served in a friendly atmosphere, this place is worth a stop.

Julie Halpert reviews restaurants for




Fri, Jul 2, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

Thompson's has played a role in this community for many years. My parents took us to Thompson's and now we take our kids there. Linda is not only the owner of Thompson's - she is a very important part of our community. She is generous and thoughtful, she has gone out of her way to help others members of the community when they needed help. Thompson's has always been a supporter of the youth recreation leagues, the Chelsea Fair and the 4-H programs. They are not just a business - they are what makes Chelsea the wonderful community that it is.


Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Absolutely agree! Linda has also kept true to the original pizza made by the Thompson family. Simply one of the best pizzas we have ever had. She and her kids do a wonderful job running this family oriented business. Always top notch service with a smile. We always stop in when in town, for their great variety, service and family atmosphere.