Dive bars are typically easy to find in heavily-populated sections of the Boston area and elsewhere in Eastern Massachusetts (with Quincy, South Boston, Dorchester, and Chelsea having more than their fair share), but these types of unpretentious watering holes can really be found anywhere, including one on Route 138 in the quiet town of Easton that's called Buddy's Union Villa. And while Easton isn't quite on the South Shore--it's about 20 miles from the ocean--it is part of that belt south of Boston that has the quintessentially South Shore staple known as bar pizza, and Buddy's is certainly no exception.
Route 138 is a very old-feeling road that is as straight as an arrow in many sections, much like Route 18, which parallels it several miles to the east. And much like that road, there are plenty of old-fashioned roadside restaurants and bars along its length, with Buddy's Union Villa being a classic roadside joint on a particularly straight and sparsely-populated stretch that cuts through the northern part of Easton and the southern part of Stoughton. The exterior of Buddy's can look a bit sinister to those who don't know the spot, with its relative lack of windows, large beer sign above the entrance, and vaguely house-like structure, but the place is really almost family-friendly, with a brightly-lit interior, plenty of booths and tables to the right, and a bar to the left that is generally a mellow spot. A small "stage" is set up toward the back where live acts play music for diners and drinkers.
Buddy's is not the place to go to if you're looking for duck confit macaroni and cheese or grilled local bluefish, but if you're craving wings, burgers, pizza, and cheap beer, you should be happy here. And speaking of pizza, the aforementioned bar pies here are excellent, with the individual pizzas having a slightly chewy and greasy crust with a decent char on the bottom (order burnt edges for some seriously good caramelization on the outside of the pizza--definitely worth the extra pocket change), a moderately spicy tomato sauce, and lots of cheese on top. Toppings are mostly familiar ones (pepperoni, mushroom, hamburger, peppers, etc.), but because Easton is in a region that has a large Portuguese population, thinly-sliced linguica is one of the topping options for the bar pizzas. Don't expect an abundance of craft beers at Buddy's, but they do have a few, and there are plenty of options for popular American beers and imports along with the harder stuff if you want a shot or a mixed drink.
A favorite among locals in Easton and Stoughton, Buddy's Union Villa is relatively unknown outside of those two communities. And because it's just a bit west of the "sweet spot" area for bar pizza--including Quincy, Randolph, Weymouth, Abington, and Whitman--it doesn't get much recognition for its pies. The pizza is really something special at Buddy's, however, and its old-fashioned atmosphere is of the type that becomes more and more difficult to find in the Greater Boston area and beyond as the years go by.
Copyright © 2014-2019, Boston's Hidden Restaurants (www.hiddenboston.com).