359 Commercial Street

Mews Condominium | Luxories | Harbor Lounge | Patty Deluca Gallery | Century 21 Shoreland | Sophia Reznick Gallery | SS Cherry Vintage Clothing | Anathan Benson Group | Native Art

The nature of this charming cul-de-sac inspired the name of the Mews Restaurant and Café, which opened here in 1961 as the Inn at the Mews and remained until 1993. It then moved to 429 Commercial Street while keeping its name, which is now somewhat hard to understand at first glance since the current restaurant property looks nothing like a mews. The restaurant was established by Nicholas “Nicky” Wells (d 1985), a real estate developer, and his wife, the artist Ray Martan Wells (1908-2011). They are the namesakes of Nicky’s Park and of the Ray and Nicky Wells Conservation Area.

Ray Wells, a celebrated dune shack dweller who lived to be 103, decided in 1964 that the “time had come to do something about creating a non-commercial gallery where the work of Provincetown’s painters could be exhibited and, hopefully, sold, on a year-round basis.” Working with Reeves Euler, Jim Forsberg, Joseph Kaplan and Ross Moffett, she established the Provincetown Group Gallery at the Inn at the Mews. Its members (at one time or another) included Arthur Cohen, Morris Davidson, Salvatore Del Deo, Richard Florsheim, Dorothy Lake Gregory, Lily Harmon, Gerrit Hondius, John “Jack” Kearney, Nancy Whorf Kelly, Conrad Malicoat, Philip Malicoat, Bruce McKain, S. Edmund Oppenheim, Mischa Richter, Alvin Ross, Henry Steig, Tony Vevers and George Yater — among others; about 25 in any given year.

Channing Wilroy was a chef at the Inn at the Mews in 1969 and 1970.

At least as recently as 2008, the retail ensemble here was known as Merchants’ Hall. Tenants included Small Pleasures, Little Gorgeous Things, Yule Tide, Cape Cod Artisans’ Gallery and Mahogany Furniture Gallery. In 2010, Cassandra “Cass” Benson, a real estate developer and broker, opened the Harbor Lounge in the waterfront space overlooking the harbor. “It’s just a matter of time before this lovely lounge is discovered,” Ed Salvato wrote on the OutTraveler blog in July 2010. “The bar faces an open airy, comfortable lounge, which gives onto a long deck that stretches towards the water.” Among other projects, Benson redeveloped the Gull’s Nest Inn motel at 6 Sandy Hill Lane, with Jerry Anathan.






3 thoughts on “359 Commercial Street

  1. My name is Mark Miceli and my partner is Lindsay Alloway. Together we have owned and operated “Luxories” at 359 Commercial Street for the past 18 years. I am writing to bring the following omissions/inaccuracies re: 359 to your attention.

    The Mews Complex consists of three buildings at 359: the front building which is directly on Commercial Street, the small courtyard cottage, and the rear building that you have focused on in your narrative. The Mews is a commercial/residential mix. The space currently owned by Cass Benson was under previous ownership called “Merchant’s Hall.” However, “Small Pleasures” was not a part of that enterprise. “Small Pleasures” was located in the front building on the street. It was an estate jewelry store independently owned and operated by Ginny McKenna for over 20 years.

    Also located in the front building on the rear ground level was the gift store known as “Silberhorns.” In 1993, we purchased that space from Larry Silberhorn and established “Luxories”. We operated “Luxories” at that location for 16 years. We specialize in jewelry, artwork and home decor purchased from craftspeople we meet on our annual buying trip to Southeast Asia, India and Africa.

    In 2009, Ginny decided to move “Small Pleasures” to Savannah, Ga. And we purchased her street-front space. “Luxories” is ready to start our third season at this location.

    I hope that you will include these additions to your narrative. I think your site is a great idea and enjoy reading the histories of our unique town.

    When we re-open on April 14, it will commence our 19th season in Provincetown.

  2. After Nicky Wells, the complex and restaurant known as the Mews was owned by Chick Chamberlain. I believe he sold the entire property to Larry Silberhorn and Gary Garberson. With input from Pat Shultz, a prominent local realtor, they divided it up into condominiums. Larry and Gary retained one of the spaces to use as a retail shop known as Silberhorn’s. Eventually, they sold that as well to move their shop across Commercial Street to No. 352, which had been the Emporium.

    After Ron Robin moved the Mews Restaurant down to the old Penny Farthing, the space formerly known as the Mews Restaurant went into foreclosure. Ian MacMillan purchased it and, using designs created by Ed “Brad” Brady, converted it into Merchant’s Hall. The septic system could no longer meet the new requirements imposed by the State of Massachusetts, which was probably the main reason for moving the restaurant. There had been a bar in the basement and occasionally when there was full moon tide, there would be a foot or so of seawater in the bar.

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