The Berry Tavern
Brick oven pizza rotating by an open flame.
Bolognese simmered slow and served over fresh pasta.
And some of the best tiramisu this side of the North End.
For Italian and more on the North Shore there’s no place like The Barry Tavern.
Located in Danvers, The Berry Tavern is a welcoming spot perfect for any night out, whether it’s a family dinner, date night or an evening spent with friends. Owner Joe Bono is the force behind several Italian restaurants in Boston, and he decided to take all that “North End know-how” to the North Shore.
“We try to keep a tavern feel. Obviously, I own a few other Italian restaurants in the North End, so we brought a North End feel to the neighborhood here. It’s been well receptive.”
So he made the space warm and welcoming with rich woods, tin ceilings and a fun friendly bar where you’ll usually find bartender Lee Merrill whipping up some of the best martinis around and offering suggestions from the part Italian/part Tavern style menu.
So Phantom bellied up to the bar and tried it all in search of the PERFECT MEAL.
Appetizers at the Berry Tavern range from old school to innovative. There’s every thing from the time tested meatballs served in a slow cooked sauce with melted mozzarella and Tuscan bread to raviolis stuffed with pumpkin purée and served in a butter sage sauce with Romano cheese to the completely addictive tavern wings.
“We roast all the wings. We don’t fry wings. Everything is baked in the oven. We marinate them just lightly. Comes with caramelized onions, a little house dressing on top. Meat falls off the bones. Real good.”
But when you’re at the Berry, the must order app has to be the Shrimp Grand Marnier.
“It’s a jumbo shrimp dipped in egg batter. We pan sear it, then finish it off with a triple sec orange liqueur with a little orange wedge reduced down to a glaze.
Once you taste it, if you don’t like shrimp you’ll be eating shrimp after this dish. For sure.
“It’s basically like having french toast with shrimp. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s something you never tasted before, and when you go to certain restaurants, you want them to wow you with certain things, and that’s one of the wow things that we have here.”
You can also order one of the Berry Tavern’s brick oven pizzas to kick off your meal. Each one of these pristine pies is fired up in a rotating oven set right in the dining room so customers can watch.
“This oven has a brick deck that rotates either direction and cooks our pizza in about. Two and a half minutes. and pretty consistent.”
For a little bit of Southern style barbecue on a pizza order the Putnam- topped with pulled pork, red onion, barbecue sauce and mozzarella cheese. And If you like chicken parm (like Joe’s son does), go for The Joey pizza.
“My son loves chicken cutlets, so I said let’s go out and put it on a pizza.”
Named for Joe’s son, this pie is topped with freshly breaded cutlets to give you a chicken parm meets pizza experience. But if you’re more into garlic and shrimp, both Phantom and Lee recommend the pizza named for Joe’s daughter Victoria.
“My favorite pizza would be the Victoria. It’s basically like having shrimp scampi on a pizza. I love shrimp. I love garlic. Sauteed tomatoes. It’s to die for.”
The entree section of the menu is lined with all of Phantom’s faves. There’s ultra tender short ribs braised in chianti and served over a Parmesean risotto. Hearty Bolognese presented over house made parpadelle, and the light but flavor packed Salmon Picatta over mashed potatoes with grilled asparagus.
“The salmon piccata is very tasty. The salmon is flaky. It’s lemony. The capers make it. It’s made to perfection. It’s to die for.”
But Phantom dies for The Berry Tavern’s traditional plate of Chicken Parm. This plate tipping portion is enormous- and served alongside a hefty portion of penne.
“Everybody loves a good chicken parm. The chicken is very tender. It’s not heavily breaded. The sauce is not overly sweet. It’s a huge portion. You’ll definitely go home with some leftovers. It’s a nice mix of deliciousness.”
And once you’ve cleaned your plate, you’re going to need something sweet and thankfully the folks at The Berry do it right. There’s the light and fluffy tiramisu, layered with lady fingers and cream, and a dense but delicious bread pudding- topped with ice cream. But since Phantom’s a known chocoholic, he always goes with the Chocolate Souffle.
“I’m telling you, it’s to die for. It’s ooey, gooey chocolate, and we serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s probably the most incredible chocolate yumminess you could ever get.”
Shrimp Gran Marinier.
The Victoria Pizza.
Chicken Parm and a Chocolate Souffle make for THE PERFECT MEAL at The Berry Tavern.