Boston's Hidden Restaurants includes a number of dining spots that come under the category of "You can't judge a book by its cover." From the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph to The Paddock [NOW CLOSED] in Somerville, there are indeed some terrific places that the general public might shy away from due to their slightly questionable exteriors. With the New Brown Jug in Chelsea, however, the word menacing probably would have been more sufficient than questionable, at least from its outside appearance. That is, until it moved into the back of a shopping center across the Revere Beach Parkway (and across Route 1) to a somewhat more welcoming location. Still, this roadside watering hole in Chelsea remains a bit on the gritty side and might scare people off if they don't know the place, but once inside, folks will find that the New Brown Jag (actually called the Brown Jug now that it has moved) is a friendly, old-school restaurant with some of the best pizza this side of the Mystic Tobin Bridge.
Much like the old location, the inside of the Brown Jug is separated into two areas; the section to the left is a bar area with dart boards and some tables and stools, while the room to the right is a brightly-lit and family-friendly dining area, complete with recessed lighting, a hardwood floor, and old-fashioned high-top wooden booths that are painted a burnt orange along the walls. There are also tables in the middle of the dining room, which allow for larger groups. The menu at the Brown Jug is a bit on the limited side, but most people come here for the pizza (they also have decent calzones). What they offer here is something that falls in between your classic bar pizza and a traditional thin-crust Italian pie, with a slightly pliable but mostly cracker-like crust, a rich and zesty sauce with a noticeable garlic taste to it, and (perhaps the best part of this particular pie), a deliciously chewy mix of cheeses to top it off. As is the case with most bar pies, these lean toward being personal-sized pizzas, so it is may be best to order one per person, depending on your appetite. It also should be noted that the Brown Jug sells pitchers of beer (and indeed has a "pizza and pitcher of beer special"), which is often a perfect complement to a tasty pizza.
The Brown Jug is yet another great find in a section of the Boston area that is filled with good finds (Abbondanza in Everett, New Bridge Cafe in Chelsea, Pasta Market Cafe in Malden, etc.). The pizza is delicious, the prices are low, and the atmosphere in the dining room, while no longer old-school or full of character like the old space, is nevertheless appealing with its bright, clean look. And yes, it may be difficult to find (it is blocked from view by other stores in the shopping center) and is in a section of the Boston area that gets an often-unfair rap for being rough and somewhat dangerous, but it is by no means a place you should be afraid to go to--especially with the move to the new space--unless you fear falling in love with yet another great pizza joint, in which case be afraid...be very afraid.
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