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A look at the rich history of Baxter’s

Photo by Teagan Anne

Today, Baxter’s is run by Barney’s sons: Sam, now 47, and his brother Ben, 54. The fifth-generation Ben Baxter recently retired from the Barnstable Police Department after 34 years of service. He bears an uncanny resemblance to his captain namesake, sans beard. You can picture them at a table in the Boathouse trading salty stories over rum and ribaldry. “Aye, Aye!”

Their season begins on the second Friday in April and continues through Columbus Day. While fish and chips is still the most popular dish with customers, today’s menu features new takes and tastes, like gluten-free selections and salads. An all-natural, proprietary Binnacle Bloody Cocktail Mix (don’t bother asking for the secret recipe) has recently been packaged so fans can recreate their popular cocktail at home.

“I’m just a son of a son…
Son of a son of a sailor
The sea’s in my veins, my tradition remains”

–Jimmy Buffet, “Son of a Son of a Sailor” (1977)

The harbor side of the building offers a dock, allowing boaters to dock for a while or get take-out. As Ben says, “Docking and dining is first come, first serve; on Saturday and Sunday there is usually a wait time.”

The brothers hope to be serving new generations for the rest of their lives. Just as previous Baxter generations have done. “Having a family-run business for over 50 years is almost unheard of nowadays,” says Ben. “Having a business located on the property our great grandfather started a hundred years ago is even more rare. It means a lot to me.”  

For Sam and Ben, the familiar refrain is short a few generations: They are literally sons of a son of a son of a son of a sailor.

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