|Tie Up and Chow Down|
and dine the casual way with this roundup of 20 of
the best places countrywide.
By M.B. Roberts — October 2001
There may be no better feeling: After a day of cruising, there it is, a glorious spit of land just out of reach—and just in time. The day was wonderful, but you’re ready for a break from the swells, sun, and wind. The only salt you want to see for the next two hours is around the rim of a margarita glass.
After talking with boaters and marina operators around the country, we compiled this list of some of the best places to find those margaritas—or an icy-cold long-neck beer and accompanying chicken wings or smoked-fish dip. All the restaurants, bars, and cafes on our list are casual. Some are spit and sawdust, some could be called casually elegant. But each boasts two key elements for a weary boater: a nearby dock and a desire to welcome you off the water. (Note: Call ahead for docking instructions, water levels, etc.) All prices given are the cost of one meal, excluding drink, tax, and tip.
Our list only skims the surface. As there are literally hundreds of places countrywide, consider this a humble beginning. Enjoy!
Where the locals go, but tourists are welcome. Good, local fare in a "spit and sawdust" atmosphere. Blue crab claws, cracked conch, and grouper Reubens.
Claim to Fame: grouper, and you can feed the catfish outside at night.
Bayside Bar & Grill
Dock at Jim’s Pier and head upstairs to Ajax Bar for the best view on the bay. The varied menu takes time to peruse: sandwiches, pasta, seafood, etc. Attention anglers: They’ll cook your catch—fried, broiled, blackened, or Veracruz style.
Claim to Fame: great frozen margaritas.
Clam Shack (seasonal)
This tiny take-out place is the most celebrated thing in Kennebunkport (apologies to George and Barbara). Boaters can dock at Yachtsman Lodge & Marina (check out this AAA Four Diamond lodge) and walk over.
Claim to Fame: the best fried clams in Maine and the best lobster roll on Earth (according to Eat Your Way Across the USA).
Black Dog Tavern
Casual is a relative term here. The decor and dress code are at-ease, but the food is superb. The menu, featuring the freshest seafood and local produce, changes daily. Another relative term: tavern. Vineyard Haven is a dry town, so BYOB.
Claim to Fame: Black Dog T-shirts.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.