It is no secret that the South Shore and southern suburbs of Boston are to bar pizza what the North Shore and northern suburbs are to roast beef sandwiches. And the city of Quincy sits along the northern edge of "bar pizza country" and certainly includes a number of spots for this regional food item. Since the closing of the Alumni Cafe, however, it has been a struggle to find bar pie in Quincy that reaches the heights of such legendary places as the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph and Cape Cod Cafe in Brockton. But there are some good ones, including the little-known Darcy's near the Milton border and a completely hidden spot called the Southside Tavern (the focus of this review) that may be tough to find but approaches the top of the pack in Quincy now that the Alumni is gone.
The Quincy location of the Southside Tavern (there is one in South Braintree as well, by the way) is in a rather obscure location, hidden among warehouses, auto shops, homes, and apartments just west of the Burgin Parkway in South Quincy. From the outside, the place looks just a bit like a dive bar, and it does seem to straddle that always-blurry line between "dive" and "neighborhood joint." The interior continues this theme, with a room on the right being dominated by a bar and a room to the left being a bit more of place to dine and/or stand around and hang out. Southside can definitely get loud, especially when important games are being shown, and the clientele is just about all locals, though it is not at all unwelcoming like some neighborhood bars can be.
Like so many dives and neighborhood bars, the Southside Tavern focuses on a mix of pub grub and classic American fare, with good takes on wings, chicken tenders, onion rings, buffalo chicken dip, burgers, steak tips, turkey dinner, and more, but a lot of people come here for one thing and one thing only (other than beer)--the pizza. The bar pies here are a bit like that of the now-closed Alumni Cafe, with a cracker-like crust, spicy house-made tomato sauce, and a mix of cheeses that melt all the way to the very edge of the crust, and because they are individual pizzas (as bar pizzas tend to be), they are generally ordered one per person because they are much smaller than your traditional thin-crust pies. Some of the special toppings include a zesty buffalo chicken, an over-the-top bacon cheeseburger, and a surprisingly good BLT, along with classics such as pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, pepper, onion, and garlic. Prices for the pizzas are about as cheap as you might expect, with options generally being well under $10.
It is ironic that the "second" location of the Southside Tavern seems to be the one that is better known, though granted South Braintree Square is a lot busier than the combination residential/industrial part of South Quincy in which the original location resides. And while the South Braintree outlet has the feel of a sports bar or even a family restaurant where diners order all kinds of food, the Quincy location feels more like a true pizza and beer place. It may not quite get to the level of the long-gone Alumni, but the Southside is certainly one of the best options for bar pizza in Quincy, and one that feels like a place that you, and only you, have discovered.
Copyright © 2015, Boston's Hidden Restaurants (www.hiddenboston.com).