At its best, Armando’s was remarkably good. The cheese they used was the standard-issue, industrial mozzarella brick, but the sauce they made was terrific, as was the dough, and ultimately there was the near-perfect proportion of sauce, cheese and crust. There was no pretension, no fuss. Just fantastic pizza turned out hour after hour, day after day.
Fifteen years ago there was a brief area-competitor in Real Pizza, opened by Rene Becker of Hi Rise across from Fresh Pond (where the Village Kitchen stands today). They made their own mozzarella, and they offered fancy toppings. The pizza was very good, and the nightly dinners that Eduardo Miranda, briefly absconding from Formaggio Kitchen, offered were superb. But the power of Armando could not be denied. Real Pizza lasted about two years.
(Of course, years earlier, Emma’s Pizza was originally in that neighborhood, too, and I assume they and Armando’s co-existed peacefully.)