25 Lake Street, East Weymouth, MA 02189
When it comes to pizza, the South Shore tends to lean more toward bar pies than traditional Italian style, while the North Shore has a nice mix of watering holes serving bar pizza and Italian restaurants serving traditional pies. But that doesn't mean that the South Shore is completely lacking in dining spots that offer decent thin-crust Neapolitan pies. Restaurants such as Villa Rosa in Quincy and The Venetian Restaurant in East Weymouth are both examples of this, as is an utterly unknown (yet decades-old) restaurant and bar a short walk away from The Venetian. Denly's, or Denly Gardens, as it is formally known, is an absolute classic in this writer's opinion, and the East Weymouth locals who go there time and time again would likely agree with this assessment.
Denly's is, to put it bluntly, a real pain in the neck to find if you have never been there. Located just outside of Jackson Square (the commercial center of East Weymouth), this dining spot is nevertheless hidden so well on a main road that seems to just peter out that it feels miles away from The Venetian and other businesses in this neighborhood. But once diners find it, Denly's is a real treat; from its well-worn stucco exterior to its blue-painted high-backed wooden booths to its school-desk style tables to its classic bar lights, Denly's feels like the type of place that hasn't changed a whole lot from its start way back in 1933.
From the outside, Denly's does look a bit like a dive bar, but it is actually more of a full-service restaurant, though they do have a tiny standup bar area that can fit perhaps 10 people. The menu is a mix of Italian-American entrees and a variety of sandwiches, including capicolla, a type of Italian ham that is a relative rarity in the Boston area. The pizza, however is what brings many, if not most people to Denly's, as they have been making it the same way for decades. And as mentioned earlier, it is more of a traditional Neapolitan thin-crust than a bar pie, and a terrific one at that. The crust is satisfyingly chewy (unless you order it well-done), while the sauce has enough zest to it to keep most folks happy, and the cheese on top is a messy but tasty delight. In addition to traditional pizzas, Denly's also offers more gourmet-style pizzas, complete with toppings such as prosciutto, mushrooms, and basil.
There may be better places for pizza on the South Shore (depending on whom you ask), but Denly's holds its own for several reasons, including the classic old-school atmosphere, the friendly people who work there, and the feeling of discovery that one gets from simply finding it. So some advice to pizza lovers is: Get a good map, fill your tank with gas, and drive around until you see the warm lights shining on the stucco facade of this place; it will surely be worth the effort.
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