The best bar pizza joints on the South ShoreBy Kellie Speed | Above photo by Jack Foley
When it comes to pizza, there’s brick-oven Neapolitan style, square Sicilian slabs and even grilled flatbreads. But on the South Shore, it’s the “bar pizza” that reigns supreme. Served in pubs and taverns, this no-frills style of pie first made its way into the food scene more than 70 years ago, designed as cheap fare to be served alongside frosty pitchers of beer. The addicting 10-inch pies have since gained popularity at old-school establishments, and you’ll find many locals who are ferociously loyal to their favorite bar pizza joints.
Small enough to indulge in by oneself, the pizzas are cooked in circular pans, which gives them a crust that’s the perfect balance of crispy and chewy. They are topped with a tangy tomato sauce and melted cheese (cheddar is often substituted for mozzarella) and tend to have a well done (but never burnt) appearance. We scoured the South Shore for the best of the best. Here’s a look at eight great spots to get your bar pizza fix.
Stick with Tradition
497 Washington St., Canton, 781-828-9834
The pizza makers at the Neponset Café in Canton have been using the same basic recipe for the past 50 years. The neighborhood eatery, which is often referred to as the “Cheers of the South Shore,” is known for using cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella on its pies. Owner Donna Titus recommends the ever-popular steak and cheese pizza topped with American cheese. The pizzas are so good that the restaurant was asked to cater for the production crew of “Mystic River” when the movie was being filmed nearby.
Keeping it in the Family
979 Main St., Brockton, 508-583-9420
When Cape Cod Café opened its doors in Brockton 70 years ago, it quickly became the mecca of bar pies south of Boston, known for its crispy pizza topped with their specialty sauce and melted cheese that oozes all the way to the outer edge of the pie. The secret to the café’s success? “Our secret is not getting caught up in doing what is easier,” says third-generation owner Jeremy Jamoulis, who co-owns the restaurant with his brother, Jonathan. “We blend our tomatoes, grind our cheese and do everything by hand every day. We still work in the kitchen every Friday night.” There are now five restaurant locations, but the original is still the favorite.
A Crust with Crunch
320 Center St., Randolph, 781-963-3100
When you first step foot into the no-frills, cash-only Lynwood Café, which is tucked inside a small house-turned-pub in Randolph, it’s almost like a time warp. Wooden booths line this popular pizza joint where locals belly up to the bar and order favorite pies like the Boston baked bean house special made with onions and salami (trust us, it’s good). “The difference between a hand-tossed or deep-dish pizza and ours is in the crust,” says Stephan Campanella, Lynwood’s manager. “Ours has a more biscuity crust. We use high-quality cheddar with high butter fat so you taste that buttery goodness.”
Photos courtesy of Lynwood Café
1119 Washington St., Stoughton, 781-344-2030
Town Spa Pizza in Stoughton has been a family favorite for the past 60 years, serving up perfectly browned pies with cheese that extends to the edge of a golden-brown, cracker-like crust. Owner Richard Phillips says he and his team make about 10,000 pizzas a week and their secret is using cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella. Creative toppings include pickles and chili, but the real standouts here are the firm-crusted traditional cheese pizza and the white pizza with a side of sweet ‘n’ sour or barbecue dipping sauce.
Photos courtesy of Town Spa Pizza
It’s All About Value
340 Centre Ave., Abington, 781-878-8767
D’Ann’s in Abington created a cult bar-pie following when it opened its doors back in 1959. Whether they’re drawn to the sauce made from a secret family recipe or the fresh dough made on-site daily, the hungry folks who frequent this family-owned restaurant love the specialty buffalo chicken and Hawaiian pies as well as the low prices. “We offer a $4.99 bar pizza special seven days a week from noon to 4 p.m.,” says Shannon Paulding, general manager of D’Ann’s. “On Monday nights, if you buy any pizza, you get a cheese pizza for just a dollar.”
Irish Eyes are Smiling in Whitman
546 Washington St., Whitman, 781-447-7333
You might not expect to find great bar pizza served up at a cozy Irish pub, but McGuiggan’s Pub in downtown Whitman combines the best of both worlds. Order its specialty shepherd’s pie pizza, which features hand-rolled dough topped with mashed potatoes, ground beef and melted cheese. Wash it down with a perfectly poured pint of Guinness while listening to some live Irish music. General manager Danielle Rosen says the pizza can get a little messy, so they offer it with a fork and knife. Guests can also build their own masterpiece with up to four toppings.
Simplicity Works Best
243 Church St., Pembroke, 781- 826-5282
When Poopsie’s opened in 1973, in a Pembroke shopping center on Route 139, the restaurant offered a simple recipe for its bar pies that remains popular to this day. Local fans come to enjoy pies crafted with zesty sauce, super thin crust and golden cheese in the dimly lit atmosphere. “People who came here in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s get the exact same pizza,” says kitchen manager Tony Malaguti. “I think our motto is that we just stick with what works and people love it.”
Thinking Outside the Pizza Box
8 North St., Hingham, 781-749-2444
Just steps from Hingham Harbor, Liberty Grille might not have a waterfront view, but it does have great bar pizza and serves it up in a charming colonial-style atmosphere. The two-story historic restaurant serves up to 200 pizzas on a bustling weekend night. The most popular pizza is the shrimp scampi. “It is essentially a cheese pizza topped with pieces of shrimp cooked in a scampi sauce,” says restaurant manager Starla Coleman. “It really is as good as it sounds.”