New restaurant in 19th-century sea captain’s home features Mediterranean-inspired menuBy Marina Davalos
At Strangers & Saints, patrons relax on leather couches while enjoying dishes from the “something to share” portion of the menu at the hip new restaurant on Commercial Street in Provincetown. Small and large plates include saffron-poached lobster, roasted eggplant with za’atar vinaigrette—a Middle Eastern dressing—and seared scallops with Moroccan-spiced chickpeas in a smoked tomato broth. Owners Fred and Steven Latasa-Nicks wanted to create an experience where people can lounge, chat and share meals in a relaxed, inviting atmosphere.
Fred and Steven, who owned a vacation home in Provincetown for 13 years prior to opening Strangers & Saints, have always been passionate about food and throwing parties. The idea of opening a restaurant seemed like a natural step for the couple, who split their time between New York City and Provincetown before settling permanently on the tip of the Cape five years ago.
“We decided to sell our apartment and leave corporate America,” says Fred, senior vice president for WebMD for 16 years. He attended culinary school at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, in the early ’90s, and prior to being recruited to start WebMD, he worked in cookbook development for Simon & Schuster. Steven’s background is in sales and marketing for software companies that specialize in customer loyalty. The duo had long admired the building at 404 Commercial St.—a 19th-century sea captain’s home. In 2015, they bought it.
“We spent a year writing a detailed plan describing what we wanted to do,” says Fred. “It just felt right.” Construction for their new restaurant began in January 2016. “While our contractors, Meg and Mo (Meg Steward and Maureen Wilson) were building, I was at home tasting recipes,” laughs Fred.
Strangers & Saints is doing something right. Soon after opening, Zagat named it one of the Top 10 must-try new restaurants on the Cape. While the Mediterranean-influenced menu features glints of the exotic, it also includes delicious pizza. Lobster pizza, anyone? It’s topped with roasted corn, roasted garlic, basil and a red sauce. Chef Bethany Gregory, known for her ham and cheese croquettes, also serves up several vegan options. Bartender Billy Weston created an entire craft cocktail program, featuring drinks such as the Wampanoag Gimlet, with vodka, lime and basil; and the Matriarch Billington, named after the matriarch of a notoriously ill-behaved family during the time of the Mayflower, made with tequila and curacao.
The décor in this cozy yet lively restaurant is reminiscent of old sailing ships. “We wanted leather, brass and wood,” says Fred. “We wanted to take this 1850s captain’s house and bring it back to life.” They hired world-renowned designer Ken Fulk to design the interior. “At first, we figured he’s way too big for us—he does projects all over the world,” says Fred, with an excited tone in his voice. “He didn’t need to do it. But he loves P’town and he loves restoring.”
Provincetown landscape painter John Dowd painted the mural inside, to the delight of the owners. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, John Dowd is going to paint our mural?’” says Fred. He pauses for a second, then apologizes for getting a little choked up as he recounts the story. “I’m just really grateful that everyone came together like they did to work on the project. And we’re all still really close.”
Strangers & Saints
404 Commercial St., Provincetown