Spanky’s Clam Shack
All summer through October, Cape visitors and local seafood lovers make the trip to Spanky’s Clam Shack, a popular spot on Hyannis Harbor. Happy diners gaze over the cool water, their spoons dug into steaming cups of chowder and their hands gripping overstuffed rolls filled with fresh lobster meat. Inside, a smiling wait staff—many donning Red Sox attire—move about between the tables occupied by heaps of fried seafood, glasses of wine, and diners in need of some real Cape Cod time.
Located between the Steamship Authority and Hy-Line Cruises and right around the corner from Hyannis’s iconic Main Street, Spanky’s substitutes take-out windows, plastic baskets, and fountain drinks for real silverware, friendly table service, and unbeatable waterfront views.
I was lucky to sit in a prime spot in front of the open sliding doors in the main dining room overlooking the harbor—water reflecting on boats lazily adrift, patrons browsing the nearby artist shanties, and pedestrians strolling and biking by. At Spanky’s you’ll enjoy a classic Cape Cod scene!
Spanky’s has a weathered shingle exterior, a relaxed white interior with interesting nautical memorabilia, and warm lantern-style lighting. The spacious patio beside the harbor provides breezes coming off the harbor and ample opportunities for great people watching while dining on Spanky’s quintessential Cape Cod cuisine.
The menu here is full of reasonably priced Cape lovers’ favorites like fresh locally harvested clams, scallops, and fish. There’s also a good selection of steaks and chicken dishes as well as tasty burgers and fresh salad choices.
I heard that Spanky’s has a great reputation for fried clams, so I decided to go for the bountiful fried clam strip roll ($13.99). The clams came piled on top of a buttery, grilled hot dog roll and were matched with equally crispy, golden French fries. The light batter (also a great feature of Spanky’s fish and chips) clung perfectly to the clams.
Spanky’s also offers a fully stocked bar. A respectable wine list, signature drinks, and local favorites from Sam Adams and Cape Cod Beer are sure to satisfy the 21-plus crowd. A Cape Cod Red went down smoothly with the clams and topped off an already great meal perfectly.
Spanky’s is also a favorite with families at all ages and stages. Kids have their own section of the menu complete with staples like hot dogs, grilled cheese, and chicken tenders. Those who manage to still have room after the generous entreé portions can treat themselves to coffee or a number of desserts.
Spanky’s does not take reservations, but while you are waiting to be seated, you can stroll along the picturesque harbor, watch visitors to the Islands clamber on and off the ferries, or take in some Cape Cod art at the whimsical artist shanties lining the waterfront.
–– Matt Nilsson