539 Commercial Street

Fanizzi’s Restaurant by the Sea

Dining at Fanizzi’s, which you can do year-round, feels very much like dining at sea. Without the constant rolling. At high tide, the main room seems to be surrounded by water. Though the windows are ample, the dimensions of the space are compact; as snugly efficient as if constructed for seaworthiness. And as the restaurant’s Web site reminds visitors, storms can arise that make the location seem all too nautical. A location as good as this — in what was almost certainly the old sail loft at Whorf’s Wharf — had attracted restaurateurs for years before Paul B. Fanizzi bought it in 2001.

Going back at least to the 1940s, it was the Sail Loft restaurant — a name that suggests even more strongly that the main building was in fact once Thomas and Philip Whorf’s sail loft. Eldred Mowery, whom we met at the Waterfront Apartments at 535 Commercial, ran the Sail Loft in the 1960s. In the 1970s, it was Don’s Café, run by Donald Kline. Mary Donna Pucci (±1950-2000) and Tom Pucci, sister and brother, opened Pucci’s Harborside Restaurant and Bar in 1980. It became known as a “popular, hospitable gathering spot for locals and tourists alike.” (“Mary Donna Pucci, 50,” The Banner, 7 September 2000.)

[Updated 2020-08-03]

Fanizzi’s has a terrific — and sometimes terrifying — photo gallery on its website called “The Storms,” which shows how beautiful and vulnerable its waterfront situation is.










6 thoughts on “539 Commercial Street

  1. The late Don Kline lived at 615 Commercial Street (now owned by Maria Lopez and Stephen Mindich) and opened Don’s Café. After selling 615 Commercial, Don and Andrea moved to Truro and built the very large house in the “Hopper landscape.” Don passed away a year or so ago and the battle about their house continues.

  2. We lived on the 2nd floor of the Sail Loft in the 60s. I was in 4th grade and learned to ride my bike up and down Commercial Street with my best friends Pam Silva & Janis Cook. We would swim out to the breakers at high tide for mussels and bring them in for cooking. Some of my fondest memories are from this apartment. We saved a seagull once and had Frenchie come to the rescue. She had us care for it in our bathtub for 2 weeks before we set him free. Learned to cook fried bologna in that apartment and the 1st floor tenant had a dog that sang! We called him Wolfman. He ran over my bike one day. We had lots of kittens and dressed them up and drove them in our bicycle baskets to new owners. My mom worked several jobs, one was driving to Sandwich to pick up glass lanterns and bring to town. We still visit each year and eat at Fanizzi’s, take pictures and share great memories.

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