The Inn at Shipyard Park
13 Water Street Mattapoisett, MA
508 758 4922
There is something very special about dining at the Ole Inn. Not only do I remember going there for special nights as a kid, but it’s also a few houses down from my son-in-law Brian’s ancestral grandfather.
I met Brian’s grandmother Luce at their wedding and she told me she thought she had relatives from Mattapoisett. When I got back home, I went looking and sure enough there it was , the home of Captain James Luce
Since it was built in 1799 by Joseph Meigs, a master carpenter in the shipyards, the building has served as a blacksmith shop, two separate dwellings, a ship chandler, a storehouse for the China tea trade, and a speakeasy. Meigs used the building as his home and also established the twin business of tavern and general store.
The tavern was perhaps the busiest part of the Squire’s domain, as the men of Mattapoisett were known to be a hearty lot. Proof of this is brought to light by the custom at one time observed by the shipyard known as “leven an four.” At eleven o’clock and four o’clock each day the men took a break and the boss furnished the rum for refreshment (from the Inn’s website).
The Old Mattapoisett Inn
When I was a kid, it was called the Mattapoisett Inn. It was the best place in town for decades, but by 2000, it had kind of gone downhill; the recipes were old and the food not so good. Yet it thrived thanks to the iconic Porch.
I think the last time I ate there was the night following the harrowing voyage through the monster waves coming back the Vineyard with the King family.
It changed hands briefly and became an Irish Restaurant. I ate there a few times and all I remember was the stench of old beer in the dining room carpet and mediocre food.
Thank goodness, the current owners came in a few years ago and saved the place!
One of the sad things about Buzzards Bay and the entire south coast of New England is the shortage of Seaside Eateries that allow patrons to actually see the water while they eat. Although Mattapoisett’s Shipyard Park sits across the street from the Inn, there are still plenty of partial views.
The Best View is from the Porch
There is also a nice view from one side of the recessed porch bar as well…
Although I don’t have photo’s there are window tables to the right of the restaurant and in the front of the bar that also offer some views of Mattapoisett Harbor.
Better perhaps than the views are the steady sea breezes that flow through the porch and into the porch bar. The Inn is also architecturally true to it’s history, particularly in the bar area.
By the way, the bar also features live music regularly including some of my good friends George Piva and Neal McCarthy.
The Dining Review
I am happy to report that the food served at The Inn at Shipyard Park lives up to its authentic seaside eatery atmosphere.
It’s hard to put the Inn into a dining category. While the old Inn was clearly trying to be some sort of 1980’s version of fine dining, the Shipyard offers a much more varied fare with just enough finer dishes to please folks looking for a fancy meal out.
I have enjoyed both lunch and dinner at the Shipyard, but probably tend to eat there more during the day.
For a lighter lunch, I really like their totally unique MEDITERRANEAN NACHOS ($13) which consists of pita chips, hummus, tabouleh, tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, cucumbers, pico de gallo, and tzatziki.
I have also feasted on all of their Fish Tacos, which is also a reasonably light lunch option:
BLACKENED FISH TACO ($15)
haddock or salmon, cabbage blend, cheddar, black beans, avocado, pico de gallo, chipotle aioli, flour tortillas
CALIFORNIA BURRITO ($15)
crispy haddock, cabbage blend, cheddar, mango salsa, avocado, sour cream
INN FISH TACO ($15)
crispy haddock, cabbage blend, pico de gallo, citrus cream, lemon-sriracha aioli, flour tortillas
And if you’re cutting loose in total vacation mode, their Fried Fish Sandwich ($15) and Lobster Mac and Cheese ($24) are quite tasty.
When it comes to dinner, I like to start with their local oysters on the half shell for $23/dozen, which is close to the prevailing fish market price.
They also offer a number of Tapas, which is my soft spot. The best of them is also unique and that’s the BAKED GOUDA SKILLET ($13), which is delectable mixture of cheese and cream, shallots, garlic, along with a toasted french boule for dipping.
Of course since this is principally a story about food, I do have photos of a couple of my dinner special favorites to share…
The Lobster Ravioli
The Roasted Pork with Cream Sauce
The Prime Rib (Friday and Saturday nights)
These mouthwatering specials were all under $30 and while they might not be on the menu when you dine there, I’m confident you’ll find something equally delightful.
And It’s a Real Inn!
One more charming aspect of the Shipyard is that it’s actually still a functioning Inn. They offer three unique rooms and each has it’s own special name.
This presents one more great overnight option; bring a bunch of guests to Mattapoisett and send them to the Inn for the night.
You and your significant other can enjoy a nice quiet night being lulled to sleep by the warm Mattapoisett sea breezes…