As regular customers of the place know, there is a sign on the wall at Monte's Restaurant in Lynn that says, "If they don't have pizza in heaven...then I'm not going!" Well, whether there is pizza in heaven or not remains to be seen (let's hope that there is--fingers are definitely crossed though not entirely hopeful), but what does seem certain is that the old industrial city of Lynn surely has its own heavenly pizza place and restaurant that should be on the radar for pizza lovers not just on the North Shore, but also throughout the entire Greater Boston area. And as a bonus, Monte's serves up a type of pizza that is almost exclusively found on the other side of Boston. Intrigued? Read on....
At first glance, Monte's doesn't look like a whole lot (though it looks a bit nicer than it did before renovations were done to it), and it is adjacent to a rather sinister-looking railroad bridge that crosses over Eastern Avenue a few blocks away from Lynn Beach. But the interior is completely different from the outside, as it is a warm, old-fashioned, friendly place with plenty of seating in the comfortable dining room and a few more tables in the bar area. The menu at Monte's has a number of bar food, pub grub, and Italian-American items, including garlic bread (you can get it with bacon and cheese, by the way), some of the tastiest meatballs we've tried in the entire region, pastas, fried seafood, steaks, burgers, and some really great chicken wings, which seems to be a prerequisite for watering holes in and around Lynn. But what Monte's is really known for (and has been since just after World War II) is their terrific bar pizza--relatively small personal pizzas with a dry, slightly browned, cracker-like crust that competes quite nicely with those found on the South Shore, which is true bar pizza country. The sauce that comes on the pizza is spicy and hearty, and the mix of cheeses, which extends all the way to the edge of the crust (typical of a bar pizza), is golden brown and has just the right amount of grease. Toppings include mushroom, eggplant, pepperoni, salami, garlic, and anchovy.
Although Monte's Restaurant might have one of the better bar pizzas inside Route 128, it has almost zero name recognition outside of Lynn and neighboring Swampscott. Perhaps it is because of its location (Lynn, like other old mill cities such as Lawrence and Brockton, sometimes gets an undeservedly bad rap, which is a shame because its dining scene is pretty impressive). Or maybe it is because the building it is housed in doesn't really scream out to people and might look a bit too sketchy to some, even though it isn't But the bottom line is, Monte's is a nice place in a decent neighborhood, and it should definitely be on people's short lists of great pizza places in the region. If you're looking for a little slice of heaven north of Boston (or maybe 2 or 3 slices), Monte's is certainly worth a visit.
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