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Lincoln Tavern     & Restaurant

By Alexandra Faszewski

Walking into South Boston’s Lincoln Tavern, restaurant-goers are greeted by rustic brick walls, a large square clock, and a stretch of bar standing in front of the wood-fired oven that creates the restaurant’s most popular item— pizza.

“When the restaurant was created, we knew we wanted to do pizza and we just kind of had to try to figure out the style of pizza we wanted. Nick Dixon, our chef, went to Las Vegas and studied under the pizza guru, and they came up with the idea that they wanted to do the Neapolitan-style pizza,” said Kellene Ratko, restaurant manager at Lincoln Tavern.

The menu offers eight styles of wood-fired pizza, from a classic Margherita to the intriguing steak-and-potato option, which is topped with a blend of mashed potatoes, prime rib, onion, truffle oil, and arugula. Each pie is 10 inches across and will satisfy even the most adventurous eater.

Lincoln Tavern switches up its menu seasonally, aiming to change entrees approximately four times a year. For fall, additions included pumpkin fritters and winter squashes, as well as treats reminiscent of the holiday season. For example, gingerbread pancakes for brunch are a mouthful of Christmastime.

Ratko’s personal favorite menu item is the Fruity Pebble pancakes. “They’re something fairly new that came out of our brunch test kitchen, which takes place every Friday; we do a different rotating brunch menu. Basically, it gives us an opportunity to be a little more creative than we can during the high-volume days,” said Ratko.

Ratko went on to add that the colorful treat was special to her because it brought back fond childhood memories. While this whimsical dish is a delightful addition to an Instagram page, it is a nostalgic experience as well.

Lincoln Tavern is co-owned by Eric Aulenback and Michael Conlon, who each owned restaurants separately before coming together to take on this new project. Aulenback and Conlon were drawn to South Boston for its community feel, as their intent was to create a family restaurant.

Mothers with their children, businessmen, and food industry workers are the demographic that enters Lincoln Tavern’s doors daily. The restaurant itself is geared toward the young professional in his or her late twenties to early thirties. Lincoln Tavern’s day is shaped by various factors, including what is going on in sports. For example, if a sports game is on, business picks up; the Tavern’s television screens lower for major sporting events, and when it comes to Patriots games, the restaurant turns the sound on for all to hear.

“But we try to focus on being a restaurant that serves dinner and do our best at executing food,” said Ratko.

Aulenback and Conlon hoped to create a community hot spot with the Tavern, where employees and other customers could recognize regulars and foster more meaningful connections with one another.

Participating in the West Broadway cleanup and planting flowers along the street have made the Tavern’s presence known in the community. In addition, the establishment has hosted an annual Christmas party for at-risk youth who struggle to successfully transition to adulthood. Employees donate Christmas gifts to the children and hire a Santa Claus; the guests are then able to enjoy food and open their gifts with Santa. This event is one of Ratko’s favorites. Involvement with the community’s youth is a recurring theme in the Tavern’s involvement, as local summer camps also participate in special events at the restaurant.

“[They] have done pizza parties where they’ll come in and make their own pizzas with the chef teaching us exactly what goes into our pizza—they get to touch the dough; they get to play with it,” said Ratko.With this sort of sneak peek, children may know more about the magic that goes into the pizzas than the average adult customer.

“We try to be an active member of our community in every way, and we’re very, very proud to be located in South Boston. Everything that this community embraces, we try to do the same,” said Ratko.

Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, Lincoln Tavern opens its doors at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. on weekends. Stop by early to try the nostalgic Fruity Pebble pancakes or grab a late-night bite before the restaurant closes at 2:00 a.m. No matter the choice, customers are sure to feel at home in this extension of the Southie community.

425 W Broadway, South Boston, (617) 765-8636; lincolnsouthboston.com

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