Phantom Gourmet: Cagney’s In Quincy

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QUINCY – Why settle for plain old potato chips when you can have them smothered with cheddar and bacon?

Who wants basic Buffalo wings when there’s Sriracha Honey instead?

And forget about boring burgers, when they can be topped with pulled pork.

When you’re ready for serious pub grub taken to the next level, then you need to go to Cagney’s.

Located on Washington Street in Quincy, Cagney’s is the comfortable local spot every neighborhood needs, serving the foods you crave and the beers you love, in an always welcoming atmosphere.

Mark DiBona has been Cagney’s owner for more than two decades, but a few years ago he had the opportunity to buy the building too. Once he did, he transformed the outside, renovated the inside, and put a focus on the food.

“It’s absolutely delicious. People love it. They can’t get enough,” he said.

“We’ve transitioned it from your local neighborhood pub to now a very trendy, hip spot that you might see in South Boston or the South End. We’ve got all handmade food, all made fresh, all really interesting, and we strive to put stuff together that you cannot get anywhere else but here.”

Appetizers are the real all-stars at Cagney’s, like the Beer Battered Pickles with jalapeno ranch dipping sauce, warm Roasted Nuts tossed with rosemary, cayenne pepper and brown sugar, and fresh Potato Chips topped with melted cheese and crisp bacon.

The fresh Potato Chips topped with melted cheese and crisp bacon at Cagney's. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The fresh Potato Chips topped with melted cheese and crisp bacon at Cagney’s. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“We start with a hand cut potato chip. We fry them, they come out, and then they’re layered with our homemade cheese sauce, which is a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, some pepper jack, a little bit of Swiss, and then we do a layer of fresh crispy bacon, then we do a little bit more cheese, finish it off with more crispy bacon, and then some diced fresh scallions on the top to just give it a little bit of extra flavor,” described DiBona. “It’s a little overwhelming. It’s definitely not the healthiest plate on the menu. We do have healthy options for people who want healthy, but that is not one of them.”

And neither are the Chicken Wings offered with the same bacon and cheese topping.

“It is a smothered cheddar and bacon wing, so they’re just oozing and dripping down, with bacon everywhere. There is a lot of flavor; there is a lot of texture; there is a lot of dripping. You’re gonna be picking up some napkins.”

If you’re more of a wing purist, the classic Buffalo Wings are a good choice, but for something even better, try the Sriracha Honey Wings, which start sweet, then bring the heat.

“They’re rice coated, then they’re deep fried. Then they come out, the guys toss them in our signature Sriracha honey sauce,” said DiBona. “Bite into the wings, ‘wow, this is delicious.’ Really sweet, really tasty. Wait a minute – then the burn kicks in. We’ve converted half of our Buffalo wing eaters over to the Sriracha honey wings, because it’s just different.”

Cagney’s prides itself on its ever changing selection of seasonal beers.

“We’ve got 20 beers on tap, about 25 more in bottles,” said DiBona. And the friendly bartenders are always mixing up creative new cocktails.

Since there are two dining rooms, each with its own bar, customers have plenty of room to relax. But back in the kitchen, things aren’t so spacious.

“We have as little of room in any kitchen as you could possibly imagine,” DiBona declared. “It is a very tight space, but they do an amazing job at cranking out some great food in small quarters.”

In that small space, they still do almost everything from scratch, including deliciously addictive Reuben Egg Rolls.

“You are getting all the classic tastes of a great Reuben, but you’re getting it in an appetizer form that’s finger food that you can share,” he explained. “It’s all homemade. It’s fresh, extra lean corned beef; it’s sauerkraut; it’s Swiss, Thousand Island dressing in there. They’re put in a fresh egg roll wrapper, hand rolled, flash fried, served hot to the customer with some Thousand Island on the side to dip into it. We have people that come in week after week after week, just to start their meals with that.”

If you start with a Reuben Egg Roll, you can keep the deli theme going with Cagney’s Steamed Black Pastrami sandwich.

“We use Sam Adams Boston Lager, and we steam our fresh sliced black pastrami with the Boston Lager, with some great yellow mustard, let it simmer on the stove, and then it’s served, piled high on a fresh baked pretzel roll. It’s a unique item that we created, that everybody loves.”

Despite the small space, Cagney’s kitchen also tosses up some pretty good pizzas, like the Three Little Pigs, with pulled pork, chorizo, bacon, and BBQ sauce, or the Big Mack, with puts the classic burger flavors onto a pizza.

“We will give you your favorite Big Mac pizza style. You get the ground beef, you get lettuce, you get pickles, you get some red onion, you get some Thousand Island, and you get it in pizza form.”

If you prefer your burger in burger form, try the Roadhouse Burger, topped with a pile of pulled pork. If Mac and Cheese is what you please, you can get it spicy with Buffalo chicken and jalapenos, or smoky with tons to chopped bacon.

“There is a lot of bacon on this menu. Bacon’s a big thing. We’re trying to turn bacon into your friend.”

You can find this Phantom Gourmet Hidden Jewel at 214 Washington Street in Quincy, or online at cagneysquincy.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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