|Cookie's Bar, 18" X 24" oil on panel, 1948, by Provincetown artist Charles Kaeselau.|
In 1941 owner Frank "Friday" Cook tore down the aging structure and had Joseph Morris construct a new building with upscale touches like maple floors, leading local newspaper The Advocate to publish an article about this swanky new bar in their March 13th issue of that year. In the 1990s this neighborhood landmark housed David Gallerani's much-loved Italian restaurant. Most recently, Lorraine's restaurant had served a very popular menu of upscale Mexican recipes in this spot, and had held a weekly Trivia Night during the winter months, hearkening back to the days when this little joint was a real gathering place. We're hoping Lorraine Najar will cook for us again one day, somewhere in town, having sold the property last summer. We're eager, too, to see what the new owners will come up with for the next incarnation of this building.
As Cookie's Tap evolved into Cookie's Restaurant over the years, they became known for their Portuguese specialties, of course. A favorite meal there was the Vovo Cabral, made with cheese layered over flounder baked in tomatoes and wine. Friday's wife, Clara Cabral Cook, became known for her wonderful kale soup, as well, and worked in the place she loved into the 1980s, well into her own 80s, according to David W. Dunlap on his terrific website/blog/history archive Building Provincetown. Visit his site and read more about 133 Commercial Street and its occupants over the years, and enjoy photographs and other historic tidbits there as well.
|This ad appeared in The Advocate in 1948,|
the same year the painting above was done.
The painting at the top of this page seems to have captured the natures of some of the "characters" who were frequent customers of this storied Provincetown hangout. It was painted in 1948 by Kare (Charles) Anton Kaeselau (say Kay-slo,) born in 1889, in Stockholm, Sweden. Kaeselau was a painter, lithographer and teacher who had studied in Chicago, Paris, London, and with Charles W. Hawthorne in Provincetown.
He worked here a good bit in the 20s and 30s, and apparently later on as well. He was a member of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and an exhibitor there, working in oils, watercolors and wood block prints, and is among the artists whose work is found in PAAM's permanent collection, though even his family doesn't know much about him or his work. But it's evident that he spent some time himself enjoying the hospitality at Cookie's.