Night Owl: After-Hours Pizzas at Lincoln in South Boston

If you just go for drinks here, you'll be missing out on one of the best pies in town.

Need food-centric plans tonight? Enter Night Owl, in which Man Food blogger Richard Chudy tackles the city’s late-night options, one at a time.

All photos by Katie Barszcz for Boston magazine

Sinatra is blasting from the speakers on a recent late night visit to Southie’s new kid on the block, Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant. The crowd is a mix of young and old, some camped out for hours post-shift, others just starting out for the evening. The interior is a stunner; tin ceilings and exposed brick couple with shiny new floors, providing a conversation starter even before you’re sipping your first adult beverage. The bar at the front seemingly goes on forever, and the crowd spills over to the second bar area in the back of the restaurant. The constant flicker of the flame of the wood grill and the pizza oven illuminate the night.

At first glance, it feels like the kind of place to hang your hat for a few drinks and warm up with old and new acquaintance, but that would be a critical mistake. The food by executive chef Nicholas Dixon (formerly of Lucky’s Lounge and Harvard Gardens) is comforting, familiar, and delicious. It’s the kind of unpretentious food that you really want to eat. The late night menu kicks in at 11 p.m. and lasts until 1 a.m. It’s a shortened version of the regular menu, and features pizza, wings, and Kobe sliders.

The heart of the space is the showstopper of a pizza oven; you don’t often see or experience a full-fledged oven of this caliber and the results are extraordinary.  A classic Margherita pizza ($10) is a perfect one-size-fits-all kind of pie and it’s quite possibly the best pizza I’ve had in Boston: the dough has the ideal char, chew and crumble, giving way to a sweet and barely acidic tomato sauce. The salty mozzarella is top-notch and melts further at the table, oozing out and stretching like an accordion, the way a high quality cheese should. The pizza is blasted in an 800 degree oven in applewood, resulting in a slightly smoky and perfectly tender pie.

Spicy Wings ($9) are also given the applewood treatment. They are grilled, smoked, and ultimately finished in the pizza oven, allowing them to crisp up nicely before being sent out.  The chicken meat is plump and succulent; rubbed in a mixture of red pepper flakes, cayenne, chili powder and garlic, it hardly needs any accompaniment, certainly not of the clichéd gloppy sauce category. They are perfectly delightful on their own, and the requisite celery sticks and blue cheese dip offer no further enhancement.

A worthy cocktail and beer list rounds out the experience. It’s extensive enough to please the young professional seeking stronger lubrication to get through the night, while still balancing the Bud, Michelob Ultra and white wine crowd to a T. Crowds are drawn in for a reason—it’s inviting and new while still feeling like it’s been there for years. Saddle up with a cool drink and some warm food, and a late night in Southie is as good as it gets.

425 W. Broadway, Boston, 617-765-8636,