Boston Restaurant Blog -- December, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
It has been awhile since we did a road trip that has focused exclusively on food. The last one we did was actually in the late spring of 2009, when we tried several restaurants in northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Well, earlier this week we did a mini-food trip, this time comparing two of the best bar pizzas on the South Shore, which is where bar pies seem to reign supreme. And the results were initially a bit surprising to me, though in retrospect they probably shouldn't have been since both places we went to have rabid supporters.
Our first stop for bar pizza was a place that I am familiar with, actually. In fact, the Alumni Cafe in the Wollaston section of Quincy has indeed been featured on this site as a hidden gem for bar pizza. I had not been to this rather down-and-dirty dive bar in awhile, though, and wanted to see if the pies were as good as they had been in the past. Three of us arrived at the Alumni right around the noon hour and the dark and well-worn dining room was completely empty (the equally-dark bar area to the right had a few patrons). We tried a couple of pepperoni pizzas as well as a pickled pepper pizza (try to say that three times fast) and all three of us were greatly impressed by the quality of the bar pies. The cheese was fairly basic, though nicely browned in spots, and the sauce had that zesty, spicy, and slightly sweet taste that so many bar pizzas seem to have. The pepperoni was charred well at the edges, while the peppers had some nice heat and added a lot of taste to that particular pizza. But the crust was what put these pies over the top, as it was crispy and cracker-like with just a hint of grease and was charred nicely on the bottom without being burnt. To me, it was a nearly perfect pizza, with the good-but-not-great tasting cheese being perhaps the only minor gripe.
After finishing up at the Alumni, two of us continued on to Pembroke, where we stopped at a spot in a little strip mall near the Route 139/Route 3 intersection called Poopsie's. This is not a place I had ever been to before, though several people I know go there on a regular basis and absolutely rave about the place. When we first arrived, I had expected a dive bar much like the Alumni, but Poopsie's has more of a feel of an old-fashioned family restaurant, with a spacious carpeted dining area to the right and a bar to the left. Our server took our order--this time one pepperoni pizza and one hamburg pizza--and about 15 minutes later, our bar pies came out. Right off the bat, we both noticed how much tastier the cheese was--it was slightly more bitter and had more of a rough texture to it, which complemented the sauce nicely. And the sauce itself seemed just a tad more impressive, as it had a little more body, due in part to the nice mix of herbs and spices. The toppings were very good, with the large pepperoni slices having a sharp taste, while the hamburg was cooked well without being too dried out. The ultra-thin crust, however, did not compare to that of the Alumni, mainly because it had very little in the way of charring and, while not exactly bland, did not have the robust taste of the Alumni's crust. Still, the cheese and sauce more than made up for the crust, and as we left the restaurant to head back to Boston, I understood why so many people consider this the best bar pizza on the South Shore.
While it was a very tough call, we gave the edge to the bar pizza at the Alumni Cafe in Quincy, mainly because of the tremendous crust that their pies have. But for those who are more into cheese and/or sauce than crust, Poopsie's would probably get the nod. Either way, I would have to say that these two places certainly feature bar pies that rank among the top five anywhere in eastern Massachusetts, coming close to the one that is considered #1 by a lot of people, namely the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph. For my money, however, I think I actually prefer the Alumni to the Lynwood, in part because I sometimes find that the crust at the Lynwood can be slightly chalky.
Just a quick note, by the way: We are hoping to do a more extended food-based road trip sometime this winter, so keep checking back--and if you have any suggestions for a food trip, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!
Related Blog Entries: bar pizza
I hate Lynwoods pizza...bar pizza is only appealing to me after I've had a few too many!!
Posted on 12/9/10
Town Spa is the best.
Posted on 12/9/10
Tom W said:
Alumni Sub on Safford St (North Quincy) had the best of these pies hands down.
Alumni and Town Spa are still pretty damn good though..
Posted on 2/27/12
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