For Generations, a Cape Cod Icon

by Marina Davalos

“It’s the ultimate Cape Cod experience,” says a tourist from upstate New York, as he stands on the deck overlooking Hyannis Harbor, drinking Baxter’s award-winning Bloody Mary. For decades, Baxter’s has remained one of the most popular hot spots on the Cape for getting together with family and friends. The iconic restaurant goes back four generations of Baxters. Benjamin D. Baxter was a sea captain in the early 1900s. His son, Ben Jr., bought the property in 1919, and used it as a fish-packing shed for years, while brother Warren operated a fish market. “My grandfather used to catch giant bluefin tuna, and back then, it was used for cat food,” says Sam Baxter, the restaurant’s current owner and Warren’s grandson.

In 1957, Warren’s wife, Florence Jane Baxter, had the foresight to begin selling fried fish ‘n’ chips to the locals. “The first summer she was there, she was busier than my grandfather was all year,” says Sam. Baxter’s Fish ‘n’ Chips officially opened in the summer of 1967. Regular customers of the family-friendly restaurant have included the Kennedys. Situated in the same waterfront building, Baxter’s Boathouse is where folks 21 and over meet and mingle. Customers can enjoy the same tasty food on either side.

Like her brother Sam, Amy Baxter grew up in the ’80s working at the restaurant. “I loved working with my family and growing up on the Cape. I raised my children in Florida, but they head up every summer to work at Baxter’s. I feel fortunate that they’re able to work with my family and spend summers on the Cape.” —Marina Davalos

Baxter’s Fish ‘n’ Chips and Baxter’s Boathouse, 177 Pleasant St.,
Hyannis, 508-775-4490

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