Author Christopher Setterlund, whose grandfather used to own Sullivan’s Donut Shop in Hyannis, goes back in time and revisits 39 former iconic restaurants. Here’s a sampling of some of the establishments he includes in his upcoming book, “Historic Restaurants of Cape Cod.”
Elegant, beautiful, mysterious and charming. These words perfectly describe the historic Greek Revival house on Route 28 in West Dennis. The history of this structure is a tale of three chapters: It was the home of a sea captain in the 19th century before becoming a stylish restaurant and jazz club, but has been sitting stoically unoccupied for more than three decades.
Thompson’s Clam Bar
“Hey! Where ya going?!” Chances are, if you grew up or visited Cape Cod from the 1950s through the 1990s, you know the answer to this famous question. There are few restaurants on Cape Cod that match the instant recognition of Thompson’s Clam Bar in Harwichport. Even those who never partook in some of the celebrated fried seafood knew of the immense reputation of this establishment as the champion of the Cape’s seasonal restaurants.
This one-of-a-kind establishment in Woods Hole existed inside an actual geodesic dome and was the brainchild of architect R. Buckminster Fuller. Elegant décor was combined with spectacular views of nearby Little Harbor in Woods Hole to make The Dome a unique place to dine. The upscale 170-seat restaurant was more than just a novelty, it was a hit throughout the 1950s and 1960s. For decades, The Dome was a must-see attraction almost on par with the nearby Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. It still stands despite having been closed for nearly two decades.
Mildred’s Chowder House
This was the original home of Cape Cod clam chowder. Mildred’s chowder was so beloved that everyone from presidents to the average Joe would flock to the cozy establishment abutting the Barnstable Municipal Airport. In the 40-plus years it was in existence, this restaurant and the name Mildred would become one of the most popular establishments on the Cape had ever seen. How popular was Mildred’s chowder? President John F. Kennedy would order the base from the Summer White House in Hyannisport.
While there have been several fantastic Portuguese restaurants lining the streets of Provincetown over the decades, perhaps none have been as beloved as The Moors. Maline Costa wanted to have a spot that served his native Portuguese-style cuisine, but had the flavor of Provincetown mixed in. He would succeed in a major way.
“Historic Restaurants of Cape Cod (American Palate),” 160 pages, by Christopher Setterlund, is set for release on June 19. Setterlund is also the author of “In My Footsteps” travel books, which cover Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.