Welcome to Commercial Street in Provincetown
Daily Provincetown specials: great food everywhere!
We visited several restaurants on Commercial Street, enjoying terrific food and some fun conversations with staff. Our first meal was at Local 186, which specializes in burgers and beer, and offers outdoor seating with great views of the street. Browsing the cocktail menu, I considered The Tennessee Williams and The Mrs. Howell, but alas, I just ordered “The Old Fashioned” burger. It was only lunch—and we had work to do. Later, at Burger Queen, we reviewed the day’s photos while tuning in to a discussion between owner, Tony Edwards, and a customer on whether a “traditional” lobster roll should be served hot or cold. If anyone knows the correct answer to this question, please email me!
In the heart of downtown, The Lobster Pot is a beloved spot for many, and co-owner Shawn McNulty was the perfect pitchman for both the restaurant and the town. “There’s only one thing that exceeds this view,” McNulty says from the back deck, “and that’s the food.” Open from April to December, the restaurant has about 100 employees and serves about 1,400 diners per day. McNulty showed us some mesmerizing menu items, including a pan-roasted lobster, a lobster avocado appetizer, and just for kicks, he held a 9-1/4 pound lobster aloft—in the middle of Commercial Street—so we could get the best possible picture. When that happened, a posse of passersby pulled out their camera phones to capture the spectacular see-food scene, tying up traffic for a few minutes. True story.
Searching for something light and tasty, we stumbled across a little place called Street Eats, which is . . . what exactly? “It’s Provincetown’s only food truck,” jokes Patti McGraw, referencing the Aquarium Mall eatery she owns with her husband, Jim. Food trucks are not kosher in P-town at present, but for this business the vehicle in question is just painted around the ordering window. The menu consists of “good food on the go,” Patti says, and that includes hot dogs, BLTs, and savory little bites of mac and cheese.
At Aqua Bar, a fun spot with views of the harbor, we met oyster-shucker extraordinaire Eddie Ritter who was filling orders at a feverish pace. A longtime fisherman, Ritter says it takes him about five minutes to shuck a dozen, but that’s no boast; he says he knows Wellfleet folks who can do it five times as fast.
Michele Ragussis, executive chef of the Central House at the Crown & Anchor, is rather taken with Provincetown. “It’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen,” she says. “It’s stunningly beautiful.” With 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Ragussis has gained exposure recently from appearances on TV shows including Chopped, 24-Hour Restaurant Battle, and Food Fighters. As a chef, she describes P-town’s seasons as follows: “slow in February, pretty in spring, and super busy in summer.” She can take a breath, she adds, after Labor Day.
Shop till you drop, then visit the hammock store
We enjoyed chatting with Monty Schulenburg, the owner of Monty’s Emporium, a gift shop that sells custom-made Christmas ornaments all year long. In 2016, Monty’s celebrates its silver—or one might say tinsel—anniversary. Another shop we were happy to visit was Northern Lights Hammocks. In business for more than 30 years, the company sells pillows, chimes, and a variety of colorful and comfortable hammocks imported from several countries.
Another spot to tweet about is Birdie Silkscreen in the light blue building. Owner Birdie Cornette draws and paints Provincetown-themed images such as boats and lighthouses, then prints shirts and bags featuring the designs. “I love the activity on Commercial Street,” she says, adding that she doesn’t even mind the traffic.
Say again? “Because,” she says, “it brings good people into town.”
Closing thoughts—as the sun set on our p-town project
Visiting Provincetown one day last September, we met Shannon Corea (not pictured), an EMT from Truro who was enjoying a meal at Local 186. Corea has deep roots in the community; her great-grandfather immigrated to this area from the Algarve region of Portugal, and her grandfather and father were both local fishermen. “Provincetown is the only place that I know that constantly changes,” she says, “yet always stays the same.”
Commercial Street Provincetown Photo Gallery
Photography by Charles Sternaimolo
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