Everyone loves having nothing to do. But wasting an entire day is another matter. You wake up at noon, wear sweatpants till three, spend half an hour shoveling cereal into your mouth straight from the box in front of The Steve Harvey Show, and then realize that, shoot, you only have so much time on Earth and you’re about to let an entire day slip away without having made anything of it. It’s not a good feeling.
When you need to feel like you made something out of an otherwise empty day, KO Pies is here for you. Just going to this place is a little bit different, a little bit special. There aren’t a lot of eating experiences that will make you feel this way, especially in a world where we consume most of our food in front of screens, but there aren’t a lot of restaurants where just getting there makes you feel like an unironic urban explorer.
KO Pies is hidden in an active shipyard in East Boston, the only Boston neighborhood that you can’t walk to from any other Boston neighborhood (and even if you live in Eastie, you still have to walk past a security booth to get to it). Take a boat across the harbor (or, if you’re boring, the Blue Line), walk past multiple aluminium fabricators and an art gallery, and eventually, you’ll find the Australian beach bar of a restaurant that is KO Pies. It’s a half-indoor/half-outdoor brick shack filled with flags, picnic tables, and Aussie curse words - a post-industrial hideaway of good food and drinks in the middle of a shipyard that looks like it could have a dead body or two buried underneath piles of rusted cables. In other words, it’s a lot of fun.
The food vaguely looks like bar food, in the sense that it’s a lot of meat and and a lot of carbs. But all that beige-ness is put together in different ways than you’re used to seeing if your toilet flushes clockwise. That’s how you get things like a big, juicy sausage wrapped in puff pastry, or giant, crispy potato wedges served with sweet chili instead of fries served with ketchup. The meat pies are the stars, of course, and they’ve earned that designation. They’re soup bowl-sized pies filled with really tender meats and vegetables encased in a flaky crust. The ingredients are all pretty familiar, but you’ll love this stuff anyway - it’s meat and carbs you eat with your hands and you wash it all down with a beer or sangria.
It’s enough to make you feel like you’re really enjoying your time on Earth rather than wasting it, even if you never managed to change out of those sweatpants. Pull up a deck chair next to the corn hole, order a cider that was brewed in a warehouse next door, and then play a round of guess which shipping container contains something illegal hidden inside stuffed teddy bears while you wait for your food. You made to KO Pies, you’ve done something today.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the five standard pies they serve every day (beef stew, lamb shank, curried vegetable, classic, and classic with cheese) but we think the really tender shredded beef has the most flavor.
You can get any pie made as a floater, where it’s completely doused with mashed potatoes, peas, and gravy. It’s sloppy, it makes you wish it was Thanksgiving, and it’s delicious.
It’s the adult version of the pigs-in-a-blanket that you and your cousins would completely devour in under three minutes at every family holiday, and it’s great.
We don’t blame you if you have an aversion to thick-cut steak fries - the best part of any french fry is the crispy outer edge, and these types of fries have the smallest edge-to-inside ratio. But the potato wedges here are different. Even the ones that are roughly the size of your forearm will be really crunchy. You won’t stop eating them.
They’re perfectly fine bar wings (though not Buffalo style) but you don’t need them. Get another pie, instead.
If you’re not in the mood for a meat pie, this enormous fried chicken sandwich with sweet chili sauce is your best bet. But if you trekked all the way out here even though you’re not in the mood for a meat pie, we’re going to question your decision-making process.