When people talk about the best bar pizza in Eastern Massachusetts (and specifically, the South Shore), the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph tends to be brought up more than most places, but others such as Cape Cod Cafe in Brockton, Hoey's Pizza at AMVETS in Randolph, and Venus Cafe in Whitman also get mentioned along with a few others. But until 2013, more than a few thought that the Alumni Cafe in Quincy took the crown, and for good reason--this Wollaston dive bar, which closed in August of that year, had bar pies that certainly rivaled the Lynwood, and when it shut its doors, it created a bit of a void within the bar pizza scene. Well, the Alumni is now back, albeit with some changes (including its new location in Weymouth), and its pizzas seem to be as good as ever.
The Alumni opened its doors in August, moving into a little strip mall that is around the corner from the main Shaw's Plaza in Weymouth where Route 53 and Middle Street meet. The space is quite a bit different from that of the original Alumni Cafe in Quincy; whereas the old place was a dark and moody watering hole with a mix of bar seating and wooden booths, the new Alumni is basically a brightly-lit sports bar, with countless TVs showing a variety of games, a huge U-shaped bar dominating the space, a narrow shelf along the left wall that is really meant more for drinking (the shelf is barely wide enough for a pizza), and a very small dining area with tables by the entrance. Because of the rather tight setup that puts the focus on the bar--and because it can get awfully loud when crowded--the new version of the Alumni is perhaps more suited for takeout than the original, though during quieter times, the bar area itself is perfectly fine for eating pizza while sipping on a beer or two.
The new location of the Alumni is actually under different ownership from the original, but the original Alumni bar pizza recipe is the one being used here, and by the way, that same recipe is being used at three other local spots--S6 and Rags Tavern in Quincy and the Braintree Brewhouse in Braintree. And like those places, the Alumni's individual bar pies are very similar to those found at the old Quincy location, with a cracker-like but slightly chewy crust, a moderately spicy tomato sauce, and a greasy and chewy layer of cheese on top that extends to the very end of the crust. Toppings include the usual pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, garlic, hamburger, black olive, onion, and pepper options, and one of the best combos for a bar pizza--bacon and feta--can also be ordered. In addition to pizzas, the Alumni also serves wings, burgers, calzones, and other bar food items, while beer is the drink of choice here, though mixed drinks and shots are also popular.
The new Alumni doesn't look much like the old Alumni, but for lovers of bar pizza, that doesn't really matter all that much because the bottom line is, one of the best spots for this uniquely South Shore food item is now back. And is it as good as that of the Lynwood or Cape Cod Pizza? Well, that is ultimately up to diners to decide, but it does seem to be near or at the top of the heap once again.
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