Head up Liberty Street in Salem early on Wednesday evenings and lookfor the red lantern lit by a single candle. That's the sign that Back Alley Bacon is open for business. And if you are particularly fortunate you might even see the mysterious chef, disguised in a pig mask, disappearing into his kitchen at Bambolina Restaurant. Once a week for $10 to $15 — cash only — the chef offers a pork-centric dish to alley-lurkers who buzz the intercom and know the evening's password (it's posted a few hours earlier on Back Alley Bacon's Facebook page and Twitter account). Since late summer, those in the know have been rewarded with an ever-changing array of pork dishes from behind the wooden door, just around the corner from the somber Salem Witch Trials Memorial.

Past offerings include roast pork belly with polenta, caramelized onions, and apples — a dish that was yours after uttering the word "resurrection" and forking over the cash. On a recent evening, pork shoulder confit with roasted bacon (always cured in-house), blue-cheese crushed potatoes, and a pile of spicy pickles came with a Back Alley Bacon decal (password: "stick 'em up"). Salem is a ghostly town, but with the password of the night there's no mystery to getting a terrific meal. Back Alley Bacon (at Bambolina), Liberty Street, Salem. Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. until sold out. Go to @BackAlleyBacon or Back Alley Bacon on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Back-Alley-Bacon-1632212353728437/


Gillian O’Callaghan