South Shore Bar Pizza | Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, MA

4.43 avg. rating (87% score) - 7 votes

Crispy, greasy, and highly-addictive, the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, MA is often considered the most legendary spot for South Shore bar pizza.

Like any good American, I love pizza, and have since the day I was old enough to chew. In the 30 odd years since then, my pizza tastes have expanded from thin Papa Gino’s and thick Greek-style “House of Pizza” slices to brick oven Neapolitan-style slices with blobs of fresh mozzarella and gourmet-topped flat-breads. Add in homemade pizza and the occasional thick-square Sicilian bakery slice, and I thought I had Massachusetts pizza pretty well covered.

It was only when I met my boyfriend John that I realized what I had been missing.

new england bar pizza

Bar Pizza, one of the greatest gifts of the MA South Shore.

Aimee Seavey

Not having grown up in the section of Massachusetts stretching south and east of Boston to Cape Cod (known as the “South Shore“) like John did, I had never had South Shore bar pizza, the variety found in (as the name implies) many of the bars and pubs throughout the region. Cooked in 10-inch individual, well-seasoned pans, bar pizzas have a crust that’s often described as “cracker-like,” with a good balance of crispy and chewy, and a browned layer of cheese (a mozzarella/cheddar blend) that stretches all the way to the edge, forming a charred and lacy border. With just one visit to John’s hometown bar pizza spot, the Central Cafe in Middleborough, I was, as the saying goes, hooked.

A few miles north, the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph is often considered the most legendary place for bar pizza, although other contenders include Town Spa in Stoughton, Cape Cod Cafe in Brockton, and the unfortunately-named Poopsies in Pembroke. With its nondescript exterior, and just slightly less-so interior, the cash-only Lynwood delivers flavor without fuss, and for its generations of loyal customers, that’s just fine. A handful of tables and booths make up the dining area, with a jukebox in the corner and a few neon beer signs on the walls. It’s a basic bar that dates back to 1949, and looks like one, but the pizza is anything but.

lynwood cafe

The Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, MA.

Aimee Seavey

lynwood jukebox

And like all good bars, Lynwood comes with a juke box.

Aimee Seavey

Inside, we study the laminated, single-sheet menu and keep it simple with a plain cheese for my sister, and a mushroom and onion for me. It was only after I ordered a beer that I encountered my first ever Lynwood disappointment. This being a bar, a beer seemed the most appropriate and delicious beverage to wash down my pizza, but after asking for ID (at 32, this happens less than it used to, but still plenty enough), the waitress informed me that Lynwood does not accept out-of-state drivers’ licenses as a form of ID. This hadn’t happened on previous visits, and since the bar is well-known and within an hour’s drive of both Rhode Island and New Hampshire, where I live, it seemed especially confusing, but there you have it. Take note — If you want a beer with your bar pizza at Lynwood, bring your Massachusetts ID, or settle for soda.

The pizzas, as always, were bar-pizza perfection. Bar pizza slices are small, sturdy, and splendidly greasy.

lynwood bar pizza

A mushroom and onion bar pizza from Lynwood. Mmmm.

Aimee Seavey

Meat-eaters like John often go for toppings like linguica (a Portuguese smoke cured pork sausage) or salami, and for those that like to live on the edge the menu also includes a Baked Bean Special. Considered a “love it or hate it” kind of pizza, it comes topped with Boston baked beans, onions, and salami. I didn’t order one, but another friendly patron did, and he let me snap a pic. That’s another thing about Lynwood — we weren’t there 5 minutes before he and his companion asked about my camera and offered up suggestions for other acceptable bar pizza spots.

lynwood baked bean special pizza

The Bean Special at Lynwood comes topped with Boston baked beans, onion, and salami. This guy was a fan.

Aimee Seavey

Takeout orders at Lynwood are sandwiched between two paper plates and tucked into brown paper bags for the journey home, and leftovers (if there are any) get the same treatment. No cardboard boxes here. I know of a few spots beyond the South Shore mimicking the “bar pizza” style (City Slickers Cafe in Somerville is a Boston-area favorite of ours), but for many fans, only the “real deal” will do, and that often means a trip to Lynwood.

Are you a South Shore bar pizza fan? If not, which style of pizza is your favorite, and where’s the best spot for a slice?

  • It was back in my early childhood years 1956 that my parents had moved to Randolph. Living in the town for several years my Mom would go out with the other young Moms once a month with a stop at the Lynwood Cafe for a pizza. She would come home and tell my Dad how good it was. No matter how many times she would insist he try it the answer was always the same. About 1959 we were getting ready to move again to North Attleboro with the food all packed and all of our belongings on the road my Mom decided to go get one last pizza. Dad had no choice eat a slice or go hungry. Well let me tell you for the rest of my childhood we made the trip to the Lynwood Cafe for Dads favorite pizza. Dad worked at Logan airport and would often stop on his way back to North Attleboro for a quick pizza. Mom always knew by the telltale sign of red sauce on his white shirt. I am 59 years old and drag my husband back every time the desire for that very special pizza draws us in. We now come home with 6-10 pizza for our children who put their request in every time they realize we are on the hunt.

  • I’ve tried them all, The Central Cafe in Middleboro is by far the best.

    Crunchy with a chew – mellowy flavored crust that contains some secret ingredients that I haven’t been able to duplicate.

    The linguica ground up into small piles of flavor that releases an explosion of moist meat in your mouth when you bite into it. Of course the slightly sweet sauce and a mixture of cheesiness splatter painted onto the edge of the golden crust just teasing you to not leave a crumb behind.

    40 years ago; One would have to dodge around bar room brawls – deafeningly loud talking – couples sneaking into the ladies restroom for guess whats – all to get at a Cold Beer n “Pizzah” – a one size pie with a golden crusted slice of heaven. Hmmm, I can taste it now.

    (live in CA now, but bring back as many as possible when I visit.)

  • BBC makes a decent bar pizza. Middleboro may have decent bar pizza, but it isn’t part of the South Shore.

  • melissa

    I grew up in Middleborough, MA on S.Shore and we have so many good bar pizza places. The Central Cafe, The Hideaway and the Royal are just a few. Also Middleborough House of Pizza is not a bar but same style and so good. I live in Central FL now and this is one of the things I miss the most!

  • Aimee, thank you for restoring my sanity. I couldn’t believe that I lost an issue of Yankee that easily.
    I have the Cook’s Country issue in my hands and the story written by Christin Walsh is equally enticing as yours.
    I think I will attempt the home recipe first, then take a ride to The Lynwood for comparison.
    Thanks again and keep me longing for another great find and story.
    Great work.

  • Hi Dan. Thanks so much! We never ran a recipe for bar pizza in Yankee, but the amazing and talented folks over at Cook’s Country (part of America’s Test Kitchen) developed a recipe for Lynwood-style bar pizza and it’s in their August/September 2014 issue! It’s on my list to try!

  • Aimee, I loved the story and want to try the recipe you put in the magazine but I think someone took my issue. What month was that so I can try to find one? Can I find it online? I even ordered rimmed pans to give it a go but now no recipe.
    Thanks for any help.

  • Fifty-five years ago started with Cape Cod Café pizza. Have been going to the Lynwood for forty-six years and it is definitely THE BEST!

    Love the Bean Special, laced and well done, with chopped, raw onions in addition. Mushroom, onion and pepper is also another great choice. It’s even good cold for breakfast!


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