GBWC Featured Profile

Josh Huggard

Wheaton Class of '99

by GBWC Committee Member
August 2009

So how does a sociology major end up as a partner in a highly successful and rapidly expanding Boston-area pizza chain? Josh Huggard ‘99 is a majority partner in the award-winning Upper Crust, which has stores throughout the greater Boston area and continues to grow. Critics and patrons rave about its Neopolitan-style pizza (thin crust with chunks of tomatoes) and it’s hip, urban feel. Josh became part the Upper Crust success story thanks to a good friendship and some career soul searching.

After graduating from Wheaton, Josh spent a couple of years working for Reebok and Staples in New Jersey. He found himself unhappy with the “corporate grind” though, and decided to quit his job and pursue his interest in the food industry. He moved back to Boston in 2001 and got his start in the restaurant business by waiting tables. Over a period of two years, he moved into managerial positions gaining a valuable “education.” After his longtime friend, Jordan Tobins, opened the first Upper Crust on Charles Street in Beacon Hill in 2003 followed by the Brookline store, becoming business partners was a natural fit.

Today, Upper Crust has 16 locations in the Greater Boston area. The chain just opened two new locations: in the Fenway and West Roxbury. The chain has franchises as far as Salem and Plymouth and Upper Crust continues to grow the business through corporate catering.

Upper Crust is known for its fresh ingredients and hand-rolled dough, as well as its distinctive look. Each location features an open kitchen, communal tables, and a “metal wave ceiling” made from suspended pizza pans. Their wood-oven thin crust pizza comes with a wide variety of toppings, from standards like pepperoni to more gourmet offerings like arugula, pesto or asiago.

Phantom Gourmet praises the “fantastic thin crust pizza in imaginative toppings” and Upper Crust won Boston’s Best from the Improper Bostonian in 2007 and 2008. The chain’s affordable and family-friendly menu plays an important role in its success, particularly in a tough economy. The average check is around $18 to $20, not including beer or wine, and as Josh points out, “a family of four can go out for pizza for significantly less than they could at other restaurants.”

These days, Josh spends more time at corporate headquarters on Commercial Wharf than in the restaurants. There he focuses on details like vendor relationships and training management to use only the freshest ingredients. Staff is taught to roll out dough that is “never too thick or too thin in the middle”—key to a perfectly crisp thin crust pizza. And the Upper Crust team prides themselves on creating a headquarters that doesn’t feel corporate and “is a fun place to brainstorm.”

As for his personal favorite, Josh can’t decide between Bub’s Barbeque Chicken, the Uncommon (bacon, fresh pineapple, and jalapenos), or a mix of prosciutto, tomatoes and mozzarella. Decide on your favorite by stopping by the Upper Crust for a slice today!


To learn more about The Upper Crust Pizzeria, please visit their web site.