As many of you know, Eastern Massachusetts is divided into a couple of major food regions, with areas to the north of Boston often being called "roast beef and seafood country" (or simply "roast beef country"), while areas to the south of the city tend to be called "bar pizza country." And the heart of bar pizza country has some really special spots for this type of pie, with cities and towns such as Brockton, Whitman, Abington, Quincy, Stoughton, and Randolph having countless places for it. Some of these restaurants and bars are quite popular (such as Town Spa in Stoughton), while others can be really tough to find, and one of the most hidden of all the hidden gems for bar pizza is Hoey's, which can be found at the end of a tiny side street in Randolph within an AMVETS post, of all places.
Hoey's is probably not the type of place that you will find on your own, as it resides in an historic old house on a hill above the Zapusta Ice Arena, just northeast of the center of town. The rambling white structure has been owned by AMVETS for well over 50 years, with the pizza kitchen being constructed in the 1970s. Pulling into the parking lot for the post, it is not obvious that there even is a pizzeria inside the place, as the door out front simply says "Lounge Entrance." Once inside, a short carpeted hallway/waiting area turns a corner, with the little pizza counter being situated to the left and the aforementioned drinking area straight ahead. Orders are taken for pizza at the counter, with diners typically waiting on the bench seats in the hallway or outside in the parking lot.
The pizza at Hoey's is your classic bar pie, small in size with a crackerlike crust, a rich and slightly spicy sauce, and greasy cheese that extends to the very edge of the crust. Its style is not unlike that of the now-closed Alumni Cafe in Quincy (perhaps this writer's favorite of them all), though it isn't all that different from that of the nearby Lynwood Cafe, either, which is considered by many to be the king of the bar pizza spots. Toppings at Hoey's include pepperoni, linguica, baked bean, pineapple, eggplant, mushroom, feta, and anchovies, with specialty pizzas such as an Irish pie (bacon and potatoes) and a "burner" (Buffalo chicken and jalapenos) being offered as well. The only other item on the menu here is a salad (Greek or garden) that comes with Syrian bread.
So how does Hoey's bar pizza stack up against the best of the best? Well, some say it is the best of them all, even better than the Lynwood, the Cape Cod Cafe in Brockton, and the Venus Cafe in Whitman. And it is tough to argue with them, though it really is a judgement call, which begs for a comparison test if you have a few hours on your hands--and a very empty stomach. One thing is for sure, though; Hoey's at AMVETS Post 51 is certainly one of the least-known of all the bar pizza spots, and it makes for a memorable experience, dining on pizza that is made out of an old building that is home to an organization dedicated to helping veterans. Don't miss this one.
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