Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wonder Bar

Unless you're from Massachusetts, chances are you're going to mispronounce the municipality of Wonder Bar's home city- Worcester. Contrary to accepted pronunciation practices, grammar rules and common sense in general, the town is not "war-ches-ter." No, you'd be way off. In your thickest Bostonian accent, say it with me now: "wuh-stuh."

Based on the way the "er" becomes an "uh," maybe they should rename the place Wonder Bar Pizzer. My sister and her family live just outside of Worcester, so there was no debating whether or not I was going to check this place out. Funny enough, in the 13 years I've been trekking through this town and occasionally grabbing pizza, Wonder Bar had never entered into the equation. Not until I met J Spillane at Coalfire in Chicago last December had I even heard of the place.

Built in 1922, Wonder Bar remains virtually unchanged by time. It even smells old (I actually mean that as a compliment). Grab a seat on one of those rad stools at the bar and scope out the coolest guitar ever created:

WHAAAAAAAAT?! This killer axe was custom made for Wonder Bar by a regular patron. Check out the pizza cutter on the end, and there's even char marks on the crust! Speaking of which, you can see where the artist got his inspiration by ordering a pie (or three) from the waitress.

By default, I had to order a plain cheese- well as a half-pepperoni/half-sausage. Y'know, for research's sake...

...and lastly a fresh tomato and broccoli pie for good measure. I think we got all of our bases covered here. The sausage was just the way it should be- large chunks with hints of fennel, collectively adding a flavorful zing to the pie without ultimately overpowering it.

I didn't get a chance to check out the oven, but from what J and the bartender could tell me, it used to be coal-fired until somewhere in the 50's when, for cost-efficiency reasons, WB had the beast converted to a gas feed. Bummer, but to be quite honest you can hardly tell the difference when a pizza with just the right amount of char is placed right in front of you.

This is quintessential bar pizza in a quintessential New England bar. It doesn't get much cooler than this when it comes to hometown flavor and experience, and Wonder Bar has all the right moves.

As you can guess by the look of the pies, it's not Wonder not a slice was left by the time the tab came.

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