Welcome back to Food Crawls, a series in which Eater Boston staffers guide you (virtually) on various food (and booze) crawls in the Boston area.
When we go out, we often find ourselves wanting to try more than one restaurant or bar at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and perhaps a dessert there — and want to share our favorite multi-stop combinations with you. These crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink is meant to correspond roughly to a couple of average appetites (so bring a friend), although your mileage may vary. Email us if there’s a particular theme, specific dish or drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.
Salem is a great autumn destination — everyone should experience the Halloween celebration once in their life — but this historic North Shore city isn’t half bad in the summer, either.
If it’s history and culture you’re after, you could hardly pick a better day trip: The House of Seven Gables is about as old as it gets for American domiciles; Gallows Hill and the Howard Street and Charter Street cemeteries offer sombre reminders of the hysteria of the Witch Trials; the Peabody Essex Museum boasts an impressive collection of both maritime and Native American art, as well as art from Asia, Africa, and Oceana.
Oh, and the eating and drinking options aren’t bad, either.
Taking the commuter rail from North Station to Salem is an option, but to get to one of the destinations on this crawl you’ll probably have to spring for a taxi. (Though renting bikes once in Salem is an option, too.)
- Total stops: 3
- Very old homes gawked at: In the hundreds.
- Beers swilled: A couple — two, three.
- Beautifully bizarre sandwiches consumed: 1
Chop Suey Sandwich at Salem Lowe
201 Fort Ave., Salem, MA 01970
Fall River has the chow mein sandwich, and Salem has the chop suey sandwich. Start your day in Salem off with a trip to the Salem Willows. Play some arcades, hang out on the beach, and then head to Salem Lowe for this bizarre treat. Pro tip: Salem Lowe is cash only.
A Neo-Neapolitan Pie at Bambolina
288 Derby St., Salem, MA 01970
Bambolina is doing what it calls “neo-Neapolitan” pizza on Derby Street in Salem. It’s an apt description — the pizza cooks in a wood oven that fires to 925 degrees, so the crust gets a good char. But unlike traditional Neapolitan pizza, the crust at Bambolina is a bit more substantial and less pillowy. Get the soppressata. (Bambolina’s sister restaurant, Kokeshi, is a great spot for ramen if you’d rather soup over pizza.)
Notch Brewing for a Damn Fine Pilsner and a Damn Fine Session IPA
3600, 283 Derby St., Salem, MA 01970
Despite the craft beer boom, it’s still maddeningly difficult to find a decent pilsner. Notch Brewing’s session pilsner is far, far better than decent. Its session IPA — Left of the Dial — is also excellent (and dangerous because it goes down real easy). Make the quick walk from Bambolina, and have a couple pints in Notch’s beer garden. And if you’re still hungry, pad your gut with a bar snack — pretzels, cheese, pickled vegetables, and tinned fish, for example. And, yeah, why not: Have one more pint before you leave. The train ride back to Boston is always better with a little buzz, after all.