Mission Hill businesses cutting through COVID-19 challenges: Penguin Pizza

Watch how Mission Hill businesses adapt and get creative through challenges posed by COVID-19 to remain open for residents and students.


Editor’s note: 

Mission Hill is one of the most rapidly changing neighborhoods in Boston, as more college students move in and often drive up rents and drive out locals. While the arrival of students has spurred gentrification in the neighborhood, it has also changed the dynamic for small businesses, and those local businesses that cater to college students have flourished. This fall, only a fraction of students returned to Boston as colleges expanded remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing both the flow of customers as well as part-time employees who normally work as cashiers, delivery people or wait staff for local shops. This video series tells stories of four Mission Hill small businesses, beloved by residents and students, and how they are adapting to  the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Penguin Pizza

Pamela Carthy has been the manager of Penguin Pizza in Mission Hill for 11 years, and now is one of the owners of the business. Before the pandemic, the restaurant was regularly packed with students and medical staff. When the lockdown started in March, Carthy said, the shop shifted its business model to be mainly takeout and got creative with their offerings. 

They started packing pizza kits, which include the  dough for the crust, cheese, pizza sauce and proteins like pepperonis, intended for kids to assemble their own pizza at home. 

“The response was absolutely phenomenal,” Carthy said. “We were delivering up to 400 pizza kits a week and then obviously incorporated it with the beer to go, the cocktails to go. It definitely was a huge drive behind why we stayed open.”

Carthy said they were looking forward to September, when the students are usually back in the area. “That would definitely help business,” she said. “It has definitely picked up from March to August but it’s not where it used to be.”

You asked so here they are… homemade pizza kits. These include pizza dough, homemade pizza sauce, cheese blend,…

Posted by Penguin Pizza on Friday, March 20, 2020

Pamela Carthy of Penguin Pizza shares with the Scope how the shop navigated challenges posed by COVID-19 and remained open to Mission Hill residents and students in the video below.


Love this series? Check out the next business featured, In the Cut Barbershop.

Are you a small business owner in Mission Hill wanting to be featured in this series? Let us know at [email protected].

Videos in this series are produced by journalism students in a class at Northeastern University taught by Professor Jody Santos. See more of their videos in our Early Voting series.


Sign up to our montly newsletter on the most important social justice issues in boston right now.