For those who live on the South Shore, it is no secret that bar pizza pops up--or has popped up in the past--in some rather unusual places, including inside an American Veterans post (the always terrific Hoey's in Randolph), at a dispensary (Ermont in Quincy, which has been known for making a THC-laced version), and underneath a Sons of Italy Hall (Kings Hill Pizza in Braintree, which is so hidden that it's not known if the pizza spot even exists anymore). And while pizza from a backroom within a sports bar might not be quite so unusual compared to these, Braintree Brewhouse can certainly be seen as a hidden gem because not only is their takeout room almost completely unknown, but the recipe used to make the bar pizza here happens to be a legendary one.
Braintree isn't really known for its bar scene, though it does have a few places where you can belly up for a beer, and the Braintree Brewhouse is one of two true barrooms in town (the other being the Southside in South Braintree Square). The Brewhouse is very easy to miss, as it sits off to the side in the Granite Plaza, an old shopping center that is near the Randolph line, away from both Braintree Square and South Braintree Square as well as the South Shore Plaza and other commercial districts near Routes 128, 93, and 3. The interior of the place is pure sports bar, with a huge oval bar dominating the space and televisions everywhere, and the noise level can be a bit on the high side--especially when there's a big game on. If you walk to the back of the room, you'll see a little entryway that looks like it could be a back exit or an office area, but this is the aforementioned takeout room which also happens to be where the pizza ovens are. Customers looking to take pizza home can either order from this room or call in their orders for pickup, and since it is a sports bar, if you place your order when you get there, you can have a drink at the bar while waiting for your order to be ready.
So what's so special about the bar pizza at the Braintree Brewhouse? Well, for those who remember the old Alumni Cafe in Quincy, the recipe used to make the Brewhouse pizzas is the same one as that of the now-closed Alumni, which is a pretty big deal because back in the day, the Alumni was considered by many to be as good as--if not better then--the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, which is often considered as the standard-bearer for South Shore bar pizza. The pies at the Brewhouse carry on the tradition of upper-echelon bar pizza that the Alumni once did, with the thin, cracker-like crust, moderately spicy sauce, and mix of cheeses that extend to the very end of the crust all working together perfectly to make these individual pies an almost perfect food to go with a beer (or two) and since they are individually wrapped and easily transportable, they are perfect for parties, family gatherings, or any other events with groups of people. Options for toppings include all the familiar ones, such as hamburger, onion, pepperoni, basil, sausage, roasted red peppers, bacon, anchovies, garlic, mushroom, and black olives, and there are also specialty pies such as one with chicken, bacon, and chipotle ranch dressing and another with pastrami, bacon, and pineapple. The Alumni recipe, by the way, can also be found at other places in the area, including S6 and Rag's Tavern in Quincy and a revamped version of the Alumni in Weymouth, so for those who live in those two communities, there's no need to travel to Braintree for an Alumni-style bar pizza fix.
The South Shore has a lot of great spots for bar pizza, including some very offbeat places for it and more traditional restaurants and drinking spots that offer it as well, and Braintree Brewhouse has quietly become one of the best of them all for this tasty regional food item. If you've never heard of the place and love bar pies, it is definitely worth the drive from wherever you are, and if you have no place to eat it for takeout, hanging out in the sports bar area instead of picking up the pies in the backroom is certainly a decent enough option.
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