Offering creative, made-from-scratch dishes, a convivial atmosphere and plenty of craft brews on tap, it’s no surprise that these five Plymouth gastropubs have developed a loyal foodie following.By Lannan M. O’Brien | Photography by Derrick Zellmann
A cozy tavern located just down the street from Plymouth’s Town Wharf, Dillon’s Local has a sophisticated style. Dark wood beams and furnishings and a contemporary depiction of the Mayflower II spray-painted on the wall seem to elevate the space beyond that of “your neighborhood bar”—but at the same time, that’s exactly what it is.
Owners Colin Dillon, Samantha Bradley and chef Chris Howland are longtime friends who have effectively combined elements of class and comfort in such a way that customers can’t help but return. Their recipe for success, Dillon explains, is a simple one: stellar employees, consistent food and quality service that makes customers feel welcome, regardless of their roots or taste. “This is like our home,” says Dillon. “I treat people the way I do when I have a guest at my house.” In place of niceties are playful banter, jokes and laughter.
The menu features comfort food with a sophisticated twist. The clam chowder, which has earned the “People’s Choice” award at the New England Food Festival, is described by Howland as “seven ingredients made with love.” A customer favorite, the Reuben sandwich is made with house-cured brisket, red cabbage braised with a local IPA, Gruyère cheese and Russian dressing on grilled marble rye. Some new menu items include a charcuterie board appetizer and a cod dish cooked in cornbread crumbs with Swiss chard.
Equally raved about are the craft cocktails made with fresh, local ingredients. “We easily sell about 50 to 100 old fashioneds a week,” says Dillon. Prepared with Basil Hayden bourbon, Angostura bitters and a muddled sugar cube, the vintage drink is topped with a Bada Bing cherry—which Dillon is convinced makes all the difference. An ever-changing selection of specialty cocktails ensures that there is always something exciting to sip while enjoying good food and conversation.
21 South Park Avenue, 774-404-7913
Step inside The Tasty and you may feel like you’ve been transported to a trendy Boston bistro. Weathered pine plank walls, a modern-looking electric fireplace and sunlit window seats overlooking Court Street create an urban vibe that’s also warm and relaxing. What’s even cooler is the fact that almost everything at The Tasty, from the food to the furnishings, is locally sourced. The pine boards came from a sawmill in Marshfield and were sanded piece-by-piece by co-owner Nina Peters’ mother. And that fireplace? The owners got it two doors down at Plymouth Fireplace.
The menu changes nightly and features dishes made using fresh, local ingredients. Peters credits much of the restaurant’s success to the owners’ ability to establish strong relationships with local fishermen and farmers throughout the South Shore and Massachusetts. The collaborative kitchen staff, led by chef/co-owner Mike Peters, brainstorms creative dishes each week based on the raw ingredients coming in. The chefs aren’t afraid to try new things either. “If we hear something about [Falmouth’s The Clam Man] doing octopus, we’ll get it,” says Nina Peters. In this way, they’ve managed to broaden the palates of even the pickiest eaters and many customers receive a side of food education along with their meals. “That’s what sets us apart,” says Nina. “Our customers want to talk about food.”
Creations have included salmon roasted with horseradish and an “everything bagel” spiced potato (seasoned with everything you’d find on its namesake), local carrots and fennel; sirloin with turnip silk, turnip chips and bok choy fleurettes; and sirloin tartar with deviled egg yolk, beet and pink peppercorn jam. Mike Peters crafts a nightly cocktail menu to complement what’s cooking, with personal touches like house-made bitters and vodka infused with hibiscus petals.
For those who aren’t as comfortable with the unexpected, there is one constant: noodle bowls are served every Tuesday. Customers are also encouraged
to follow the restaurant’s Instagram account, @tastyplymouth, for updates on the ever-changing menu.
42 Court Street, 508-591-7302
THE NEW WORLD TAVERN
There’s a land of food and beer to be discovered at The New World Tavern. True to its name, the restaurant is a place where soba noodles and poutine are created equal, and where pumpkin grits are listed alongside burgers and flatbreads. The options are endless and almost anything goes.
When the restaurant first opened six years ago, co-owners Karl Heine and Roman Dombrowski decided to elevate the menu beyond typical pub food like pizza and chicken wings and try offering something a little different to attract a strong base of regulars.
Char-grilled flatbreads are one of the standouts on the menu, including a new addition that is topped with roasted butternut squash and pine nuts. Shellfish and beer come together in the Brown Ale Mussels plate, which combines Moosabec Maine mussels, Mayflower Hometown Brown Ale, ‘Nduja butter, peppers, onions, house-made focaccia and mustard seed caviar. There’s a raw bar that’s open on Tuesdays through Sundays with its own designated manager, Ted Maguire. The featured oysters change frequently and the tavern hosts an annual Oyster Fest with music and beer pairings.
The bar offers a rotating selection of 32 draft beers and more than 100 bottled domestic, imported and craft beers from around the world. Local breweries like Plymouth’s Mayflower Brewing Company and Barrel House Z of East Weymouth have starring roles on the list, and at least two rare brews are usually featured as “Beer Geek” specials.
The tavern is also a live music destination, with small acts performing in the main dining room and larger bands entertaining late-night crowds in a large room out back. One local musician with a regular gig is acoustic blues guitarist Mark T. Small, who typically plays on Thursdays. The entertainment schedule, which also includes weekly karaoke and trivia nights, always has something exciting on tap.
56 Main Street, 508-927-4250
BRITISH BEER COMPANY – CEDARVILLE
A go-to destination for comfort food and quality beers, the British Beer Company’s cozy Cedarville location is a vibrant neighborhood hot spot. Known for its stellar selection of British pub food, the restaurant recently changed up its menu to serve an even greater variety of offerings.
Savory menu items include Harissa and Parmesan-encrusted haddock served atop fried purple potatoes and asparagus tips with basil pesto and sundried tomato relish; and pizza topped with spicy Tasso sausage, Gouda cheese and shishito sweet peppers. Other customer favorites include the pan-seared chicken burger on a brioche bun with smoked mozzarella, tomato and baby arugula and the beer-braised short ribs plated with traditional English bubble and squeak, grilled asparagus, Yorkshire pudding and a whole grain mustard and beer demi glaze.
The restaurant has made a commitment to using fresh, local ingredients. “It’s basically farm-to-table,” says general manager Rob Loewen. Almost everything is made in-house, down to the dressing on your salad.
As for any future changes to the menu, well—a dedicated following of regular customers will have a say in those. Even compared to other BBC locations, Loewen says that this particular pub “is a real townie, local bar” with a close-knit community feel.
Aside from a warm atmosphere and delicious meal, customers know they can count on a great selection of beers on tap. The pub’s 29 draught brews include several British varieties and a few from within the state, such as Plymouth’s Mayflower brand, Cape Cod Beer and Orleans-based Hog Island Beer Co. A monthly beer club brings brewery representatives into the space to introduce customers to new beers. The restaurant hosts live music on weekends and plans to launch a summer concert series.
2294 State Road, Cedarville, 508-888-9756
FLYNN’S IRISH PUB
Flavorful food, fantastic beers and friendly people are what you’ll find at Flynn’s Irish Pub in Cedarville. Inspired by the community watering holes across the pond, Flynn’s has a welcoming atmosphere that attracts both families and beer club members alike.
Belly up to the bar and you’ll come face to face with the humorous words of Irish poet Oscar Wilde inscribed on rustic wood beams in Celtic-style lettering, “Work is the curse of the drinking class.” And when it comes to beer, this Cedarville pub has no shortage of options. Its selection of 78 taps (yes, you heard us right) features 15-20 standard brews with the rest of the roster rotating frequently to give customers new choices each time they visit. The variety on draft is matched only by the pub’s trademark over-the-top burgers.
An entire page of the menu is designated to Mighty Flynn Burgers, which are described as “bigger than an Irishman’s heart.” Most burgers boast an eclectic mix of toppings stacked inside a pretzel bun. The Mighty Flynn is the ultimate choice for those with a big appetite, piled high with two mozzarella sticks stuffed with Monterrey Jack and bleu cheese coated in buffalo sauce, onion rings, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce. The most adventurous diners can try The Donegal, which layers peanut butter, strawberry jam, bacon and cheddar cheese over, yes, a juicy hamburger. Those craving Irish cuisine can opt for The Hungry Irishmen, which is essentially a shepherd’s pie on a bun: a heaping combination of gravy, mashed potatoes, corn and peas comes on this burger over slices of sharp cheddar cheese. The menu also features more traditional Irish fare like Bangers and Mash, and hearty bar bites like the Big Arse Pretzel, which comes with extra strong whole grain mustard. Customers who come on Sundays can enjoy their meal to the tune of a traditional Irish music session.
2240 State Road, Cedarville, 508-888-0041