Usually, when people talk about the best places for pizza in the Greater Boston area, they think of spots that are specific pizzerias (Regina's, Ernesto's), bars that focus on pizza (Lynwood Cafe, Santarpio's), sub shops (Armando's, Pinocchio's), or bakeries (La Cascia, Parziale's). But there are other types of places where you can get excellent pizza as well, including a slightly upscale restaurant and beer garden in Charlestown whose name--the Brewer's Fork--almost completely hides the fact that it focuses to a great extent on pizza. And we're not talking just any pizza, either, as this sleek little spot happens to make some of the best pizza ever tried for this site, which is saying a lot.
For such a small neighborhood, Charlestown can be a confusing place to get around in, with its crooked one-way streets, steep hills, and lack of landmarks other than the Bunker Hill Monument. And while most of its handful of dining spots can be found on or near Main Street, some of its other restaurants in residential areas can be extremely tough to find if you don't know the lay of the land, and the Brewer's Fork is certainly one such place. Hidden away by Hayes Square about a half mile north of Main Street, the eatery tends to be mainly a local hangout in part because it is so much off the beaten path. And this neighborhood vibe can definitely be felt upon walking into the place, as its main room is often packed with people living in--or working in--Charlestown, helping give it a dynamic, energetic feel on most nights. The space itself is attractive in an industrial way, with plenty of exposed brick, pipes, and beams, lots of dark woods, old-fashioned hanging lights, and a granite-topped bar along the left side of the space. The private-feeling seasonal beer garden is set up to the right of the room (and it has powerful heat lamps for chilly nights), while a large wood-fired oven can be seen in the back.
Speaking of the wood-fired oven, this is where much of the Brewer's Fork's magic comes from, including, of course, its pizza. Because the oven is white-hot (as wood-fired ovens tend to be), the pizzas here take maybe a couple of minutes to cook, and because of the high heat, the crust chars and blisters in such as way that a wonderful smoky flavor is imparted into the crust. This smokiness, in combination with the high-quality ingredients used from local businesses, results in a pizza that honestly spoils you for so many of the others out there, including some of the best of the best in the region. A few of the options for toppings (depending on the season) include meatball, mushroom, bacon and potatoes, smoked chicken, salami, clams, smoked pork, and sausage with a slow-cooked egg (this last one is sinfully amazing), though the humble margherita certainly holds its own against the other pizzas with various toppings. Pizza isn't the only thing on the menu at the Brewer's Fork, however, so for those in the mood for something else, there are a few other options here, including a tasty plate of wood-fired meatballs along with such items as oysters, locally-sourced charcuterie and cheese boards, wood-roasted mussels, a Cubano, pulled pork, a grass-fed burger, a red-beet falafel, and a wood-fired chicken thigh plate with salsa, avocado, and pickled onions. Beer, wine, and liqueurs are available at the Brewer's Fork, and the beer list rivals that of some of the best gastropubs in the Boston area, with a great mix of local standouts (Night Shift, Trillium, and Jack's Abby are possible options) and beers from breweries located elsewhere in the U.S. and overseas.
The Brewer's Fork is in some ways the ultimate neighborhood spot, with outstanding pizza, terrific beers, and a hip but unpretentious overall feel to it. The place may be tough to find at first, but once you know where it is, it turns out to be pretty easy to get to both by car and by public transportation, and if you're driving to it, parking usually isn't much of an issue. And while it is by no means a hidden gem to those who live nearby, for most others it is a true hidden gem that is a definite can't-miss spot.
Copyright © 2016-2018, Boston's Hidden Restaurants (www.hiddenboston.com).