Acclaimed Quincy pastry chef swaps sweets for savories at 16CBy Noelle Barbosa | Photography by Jack Foley
You can thank Kerri Lynch-Delaney for the robust aroma permeating Cottage Avenue. Tucked between Chestnut and Hancock streets, this narrow stretch in the city center is blossoming with the newly built West of Chestnut residential and commercial development and other businesses set to open in the coming year.
Since April, Lynch-Delaney has been dishing out sheet-pan pizzas, secret-recipe steak tips and servings of seared broccoli Caesar at her new South Shore locale, 16C. The space was once home to the Granite Rail Tavern, a neighborhood haunt that closed in 2015 after nearly 30 years in business.
After an extensive facelift, the new restaurant flaunts a contemporary vibe. The cozy, two-section dining room is home to rich red walls with baby- blue wainscoting, warm wood flooring, a sleek full-service bar and an open kitchen. A chalkboard perched above the kitchen lists a selection of “sheets” (better known as pizzas), ice creams and wines by the glass. Below, you’ll find counter seating for up to four guests.
A pastry chef who graduated from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 1997, Lynch-Delaney is no stranger to the smell of sweet success. She previously owned and operated Babycakes on Beale Street where baking cupcakes and other confections was her life for nearly a decade.
“It was time for me to move on [from Babycakes] and pass it on to someone else,” says Lynch-Delaney of the venture she swore would be her one and only business.
But with her family ties to the restaurant industry, the Quincy native found it difficult so secede from the food scene. Her aunt is culinary luminary Barbara Lynch, who owns such Boston dining establishments as No. 9 Park and Menton, and her father is Paul Lynch, former co-owner of the Quiet Man, a now-closed South Boston pub known for steak tips in its heyday.
“I brought the steak tips back on my menu and thought it would be cute,” explains Lynch-Delaney. “It took on a whole life of its own and I can’t keep up with them.”
With her aunt at her side, Lynch-Delaney designed a menu heavy on flavorful comfort fare. Must-try items include homemade potato chips served with a zesty onion dip, and a 5-inch, knife-pierced burger dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, American cheese and a special sauce. Patrons also pony up to the bar for classic cocktails such as the Negroni—a crowd favorite, according to the owner.
“I eat at restaurants so often that I wanted to serve good food that everyone likes,” says Lynch-Delaney about her menu. “Who doesn’t like pizza and a salad? It’s the best meal.”
Lynch-Delaney offers nightly, weekly and seasonal specials. This month, look for a hearty butternut squash pizza sheet topped with ricotta cheese, caramelized onions, buttered pecans and arugula. And if you’re wondering why her pies are called sheets, it’s because they’re baked and served on steel sheet pans made by Cohasset-based Baking Steel company.
To perfect her pies, Lynch-Delaney uses Rational brand ovens, a German-made steam and convection oven. “It’s not your basic pizza oven,” says Lynch-Delaney, who can cook different foods at different temperatures in the multi-tiered appliance.
Although some 16C patrons still call Lynch-Delaney “the cupcake girl,” don’t expect to find her claim to fame on this dessert menu. Instead, you’ll be wowed by her homemade ice creams, which she churns herself to relieve stress. Her four-scoop sampler includes flavors such as caramel and Mexican hot chocolate.
16 Cottage Avenue