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.)
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.