Ever since Birroteca opened in Hampden this past October, people haven't stopped talking about the artisanal pizza and craft-beer spot. Located in a beautiful two-story stone mill building (that once housed The Mill Steakhouse and Tavern), the spot has been so popular that it's been hard to get a table or even a seat at the bar.
But we tried our luck this past Thanksgiving weekend, hoping that most people would be stuffed with enough food and drink. While the place was still crowded, we were able to find a couple seats at the bar. The building itself is rustic and beautiful—all stone interior, accented with dark wood, twinkling candles, and chalkboard walls. I love how the space is split almost exactly in half, with a white-tablecloth dining area on one side and a huge rectangular bar on the other.
It was immediately apparent that the service here is topnotch. Our bartender Gary—dressed in plaid like the rest of the servers—took our drink order right away despite the crowd. I had one of their 24 craft beers on draft, an Evolution Rise Up Stout. (Birroteca's owner is close with Evolution's founders, so the Salisbury brewery is heavily featured). Many of the selections on tap were seasonal (stouts, porters, ESBs) and local (Union, Brewer's Art, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog).
The great service continued as we were curious about a bottle of wine and Gary gave us a sample, no questions asked. The ten craft cocktails—exemplifying vintage trends like the use of egg whites and plenty of bitters—also looked impressive. And, while I'm no food critic, all of the dishes we tried (including the butternut squash ravioli and pesto pizza) were impeccable. We also started out with a seven-selection charcuterie plate that looked like a work of art, and tasted even better.
All in all, Birroteca lived up to the overwhelming buzz with its thoughtful drink selection, delicious food, and above-and-beyond service. A full review of the restaurant will be published in our January issue.
[Image: courtesy of Birroteca]