|Fanizzi's "Fresh Fried Sea Scallop Plate" is served for lunch or dinner.
537-539 Commercial Street, where Fanizzi's restaurant and parking area sit today, was the location of a fishing empire known as Whorf's Wharf, built by Thomas Rider Whorf, Jr. in 1850, and later run by his son, Phillip A. Whorf.
These Whorfs shared an ancestor, generations apart, with the artists John, Carol and Nancy Whorf, though they were not direct descendants.
At one time this busy pier stretched 400 feet into the harbor, serving its own fleet of 16 boats engaged in various types of fishing, while shipping some of the catch to markets as far away as Chicago. 130 men were employed in the operation.
There was a windmill on the property, presumably part of a saltworks where seawater was pumped to a system of trays and troughs. The water was evaporated to produce the salt used in drying and preserving much of the fish caught by Whorf's fleet.
|This 1890s photo shows busy Whorf's Wharf, employing some 130 fishermen, salt
workers, sailmakers and others in serving and operating 16 boats. The old
sail loft very likely became Fanizzi's Restaurant by the Sea, as we know it today.
The recent repairs, including new pilings installed beneath the restaurant, should ensure many more years of life for this historic building dating back to the height of Provincetown's great whaling and fishing era, often called the Golden Age of Sail.
Sitting in Fanizzi's dining room, above those pilings, with the waves and tides lapping below, is one of the great pleasures of dining in Provincetown. And the view! Cape Cod Bay winds along the distant shoreline of Truro, and becomes Provincetown Harbor as it reaches the tip of the Cape and the lighthouse at Long Point. Our picturesque beaches stretch both east, with a view of Beach Point, and west, offering a striking view of the Pilgrim Monument, and often a golden glow as the sun is setting. These and other stunning sights are easily seen from your table. That superb, 180 degree view of the harbor is unparalleled. There's even a view from the bar.
|Fanizzi's Friday Night Fish Fry is a large serving of local cod with fries, slaw,
dinner rolls and salad, all for $13.99. Go early, before this great bargain sells out.
The meal I chose that day was among half-a-dozen seafood entrées on the lunch menu. I had the fried scallops, shown in the photo above. This was a generous serving of ten plump, fresh, local sea scallops, lightly battered and quickly fried until just golden brown, served with Fanizzi's great French fries and their unique coleslaw. I believe the very light dressing on the coleslaw starts with a bit of rice wine vinegar instead of a mayonnaise-based sauce. It's fresh flavors give it just a hint of sweetness, and it's probably my favorite coleslaw in town.
Visit Fanizzi's at 539 Commercial Street, now open again every day, serving lunch from 11:30 AM till 3:45 PM, with dinner served from 4 PM till closing. Five Early Bird dinner specials are available from 4:30 to 6 PM for just $15.99. Catch their Friday Night Fish Fry for $13.99, and don't forget Sunday Brunch, 10 AM till 2 PM, serving all you'd care to eat for $14.95, $8.95 for kids. But be sure to save a little room for one of their mammoth-sized, homemade desserts!
We welcome back Fanizzi's Restaurant by the Sea, and their thoughtful, friendly staff.