129 Bradford Street

(Former) Bryant House

Bryant House, as this property was known for many years, was opened by Mary Ann (MacKenzie) Bryant of Nova Scotia in 1914. At first it was a restaurant specializing in seafood, roasts, chops and steaks “cooked by a Cape Cod house-wife.” Her daughter-in-law, Marie-Louise (Kopp) Bryant of Allentown, Pa., expanded it into a guest house, which she ran until 1949. Marie-Louise’s son, George Bryant, is an architectural historian and legendary local iconoclast. It was l’Hotel Hibou in the 1970s and Eddie’s Pastry Shop, run by Eddie Moran, in the 90s.

133 Bradford Street

10 Tables

A set of cascading brick terraces runs alongside this house (c1840/1860), making for what would seem to be an ideal setting for romantic summer dining. Once known as the Terrace Restaurant, the property was more recently owned and run as the 107-seat L’Uva Restaurant by the chef Christopher Covelli, who was also the the proprietor of Christopher’s by the Bay guest house at 8 Johnson Street. More history and pictures»

211 Bradford Street

To say simply that this was once Cesco’s Italian Restaurant, while true, misses the larger point that Cesco — the “Spaghetti King of Cape Cod” — was a phenomenon in his day; witness the fact that the intersecting road is called Cesco Lane.

You’ll see the name spelled Chesco, too, as it would be pronounced in Italian. Mary Heaton Vorse’s brother, Fred H. Marvin, a student of Charles W. Hawthorne, met Francesco “Cesco” Ronga in Naples around 1910 and took him on as a kind of ward, cook, man Friday and companion. Ronga was said to have “the gay, volatile and changeable temperament of a true Neapolitan.” It was at Cesco’s in 1916 that the Beachcombers was founded. The artist Harvey J. Dodd lived here in the mid-1960s, and the sculptor Richard Pepitone ran an art school here in the 1970s.

252 Bradford Street

Mary Campbell, sister of Philip Alexander, was a “renowned chef” who converted 252 Bradford Street — built around 1850 in the Greek Revival style — into the Little Chowder Bowl restaurant, “famous for lobster bisque, clam chowder and fresh blueberry pies.” Be sure to see the comments below on the history of the house in recent decades. Read the comments»

350 Bradford Street

Michael Shay’s Rib and Seafood House

This is the breakfast club for a who’s who of old Provincetown. (Try the flippers and linguiça. You won’t have to eat again until tomorrow.) How did they arrive at “Michael Shay’s”? The name ought to be Santos, after the family that’s run the restaurants on this site since 1948, when Basil P. Santos and his wife, Gloria E. (Silva) Santos, opened the Captain’s Galley. In 1954, it became an orange-roofed Howard Johnson’s franchise, but prided itself as being a “rather unusual link” in the chain. More pictures and history»

CCNS Herring Cove | Second Bath House

Herring Cove Beach House 2, Cape Cod National Seashore (2013), by David W. Dunlap. 
Herring Cove Beach House 2, Cape Cod National Seashore (2013), by David W. Dunlap.Seen from across Herring Cove, the National Park Service’s new Herring Cove bath house pavilions, which opened in 2013, seem almost to be levitating over the beach. Well, indeed they are. Several feet. The entire complex is on pilings, allowing surge waves to pass underneath, as well as to allow the entire complex to be moved farther upland if necessary. That is one of several attractions designed into the $5 million project by its architect and project manager, Amy Sebring, of the park service’s design and construction division. More pictures and history»

9-11 Carver Street

Gifford House Inn
In a resort town where accommodations come and go by the year — and by the dozens — the Gifford House Inn is an astonishing stalwart. It is more than 140 years old. With 77 Bradford Street, it occupies the crest of Mill Hill, from which surprisingly generous vistas of the town and harbor can be enjoyed. Beautiful, it is not. Grand, it is not. But with 26 guest rooms and the Club Purgatory, Porchside Lounge and Thai Sushi Café by Ying, it’s certainly lively. And that’s saying a lot for a hotel of its age — whatever that age may be. More pictures and history»

99 Commercial Street

Sal’s Place

Restaurants come and go in Provincetown. Sal’s Place came in 1963 — almost a half century ago — and is still around, as is the founder and namesake, Salvatore Del Deo, though he’s no longer connected with the business. The restaurant is housed in the Union Wharf Building, an upland relic of the Union Wharf, which was built around 1830-1. This structure was the first home of the Seamen’s Savings Bank, from 1852 to 1868. It was here that Leander Rockwell, a seaman from Nova Scotia, made the first deposit of $36. The bank’s next move was only a short distance away, to the Union Exchange at 90 Commercial Street. More pictures and history»

190 Commercial Street


The Spiritus pizzeria is so interwoven with recent P’town history that it is almost hard to believe its home had an earlier life. But it did, all the way back to around 1837, when 190 Commercial Street was probably constructed for Reuben Collins II and his family. In 1892, when the building would have been denominated No. 189, his children Richard and Minnie physically divided the house between them. (Both were allowed to use the front door and stairs.) It was not reunited again until its purchase in 1945. An optometrist, Dr. Max Berman, operated here from the late 1940s until the late 1970s. John Love Yingling arrived in 1978 and transformed the place into Spiritus, the unofficial after-hours gathering spot on warm summer nights for hundreds of men. (The pizza isn’t bad, either.) More pictures and history»

195-199 Commercial Street

Café Heaven | Melt | Coffey Men

This is one of the most important commercial buildings in town, not least for the fact that it is astonishingly intact. It’s also significant as a wharfhead structure, though the wharf behind it is long gone. Tom Boland said of this storefront that it “survives as an excellent representation of commercial properties in the 19th century.” A comparison of photographs (above and to the right), taken about 120 years apart, discloses how little altered this building property has been. Even the three bays of nine large lights in the storefront persist. The most notable change is probably the dormer sheds that were added on either side of the gabled roof. Otherwise, it doesn’t take much visual imagination to conjure the day in the 1870s or 1880s, say, when this was John L. Rich’s men’s emporium, selling boots, shoes, clothing and accessories. A thorough account of the building’s first half-century comes to us through Herman A. Jennings in his book Provincetown, or Odds and Ends From the Tip End. More history»

205-09 Commercial Street

Aquarium Marketplace

Unlikely as it may seem today, this was an aquarium in the 1960s and early 1970s: the Provincetown Marine Aquarium. Jackie, Lady and Lucky — three Atlantic bottlenose dolphins — were the principal attraction. They spent their summers in a beachfront pool that’s now covered by a deck and occupied by the Aqua Bar. But those double-P ligatures in the facade of the building don’t stand for Provincetown. They stand for Paige Brothers Garage, which this building was. Constructed in 1920-21, it was Provincetown’s first all-brick building. Paige Brothers entered the “accommodation” business in 1912 and three years later, bought three motor buses which quickly drove their horsedrawn competitors “from the highway.” Two of the buses operated well into the 1930s. More pictures and history»

206-208 Commercial Street

Rogues Gallery |
Nor’east Beer Garden
The house was built around 1870 in the Italianate style. The south facade used to have two monumentally-scaled doorways. These were replaced by a long, two-story porch. The property, owned since 2003 by Hal Winard, includes an open lot that affords such a great view of 3 Carver Street, up the hill. Cotton Gin was a retail tenant until recent years. In 2010, the designer Alex Carleton, who had worked for Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and L. L. Bean, opened the Rogues Gallery clothing and furnishing store at No. 208. (Another Rogues Gallery is in Portland, Me.) The Nor’East Beer Garden restaurant has also opened recently.

225 Commercial Street

Blondie’s Burgers

Understated and off the aesthetic radar screen, 225 Commercial Street exemplifies the versatility of old utilitarian waterfront buildings that adapt themselves constantly — and with remarkable success — to the many tenants who pass through their timber frames. This particular structure was built around 1900, according to the Historic District Survey, and has served as a garage, a clubhouse, a florist, a gift shop, a record store, a cheese market and a restaurant; as well as a residence. More pictures and text»

226-228 Commercial Street

Vorelli’s Restaurant

Built in 1880 in Second Empire style, this was once the Provincetown Five & Ten Cents Store. It was the Seacomber Restaurant in the 1940s, staying open until 2, offering “night owl specials,” sharing space for a time with the Taffy Box gift shop, which specialized in wild beach plums and beach plum jelly. The building has been owned since 1987 by Theresa M. Vorell and is home to Vorelli’s Restaurant. (The employees added the “i” to the name of the establishment.) More pictures»

229R Commercial Street

Old Reliable Fish House
Between Lancy’s Wharf and the engine house of the Colonial Cold Storage plant is a three-story building that once housed the Old Reliable Fish House restaurant, now a forlornly abandoned near-ruin. This establishment was most famously the province of Howard Mitcham (d 1996), perhaps Provincetown’s most colorful chef and, in the 1970s, easily its best known. Mitcham had no use for culinary airs of any kind. He was a passionate advocate of seafood and of Portuguese cooking, and did much to keep these staples on the town menu when other restaurateurs started catering to summer people looking for more cosmopolitan fare. His Provincetown Seafood Cookbook of 1975, with a cover by Jackson Lambert, is an absorbing and entertaining history that can be happily consumed even by those who plan to get nowhere near a shucking or filleting knife. More pictures and history»

230 Commercial Street

Front Street | Cortile Gallery

Opposite Lancy’s Wharf is a magnificently eccentric Second Empire pile built in 1874 for Benjamin Lancy, a merchant and ship owner. If it reminds you of an Addams Family tableau, you should know that Lancy reportedly kept his dead mother in her bedroom for three months in 1896, rather than try to bury her in winter. Local legend credits his father, also Benjamin Lancy, with refusing to allow Commercial Street to be laid out in a straight line in the West End. After Lancy died in 1923, the building was acquired by the Research Club, a history-minded civic group, to be used as the Historical Museum. More pictures and history»

237 Commercial Street

Whaler’s Wharf

After the devastating 1998 fire, a project was undertaken to rebuild Whaler’s Wharf — or rather, to build a new and larger commercial structure of the same name at 237 Commercial Street. The developers worked with Ginny Binder of Binder Boland Associates. The design was clearly intended to evoke the monumental central arch of the 1919 Provincetown Theatre. The interior was a kind of last-gasp homage to the Festival Marketplace multilevel urban shopping arcade. But the size of the building turned out to be a matter of considerable controversy. And it’s worth asking how attractive a modern shopping mall can be when Commercial Street beckons outside. More pictures and history»

247 Commercial Street

Crown & Anchor

On a summer’s night, the Crown & Anchor can’t be missed. In fact, it can’t be ignored. Not only is it one of P-town’s most prominent facades, with its grand columned portico and tower, but performers from the Cabaret — usually in drag — boisterously regale passers-by. The hotel business is a sideline; this is the town’s “largest entertainment complex,” true to its roots in the mid-19th century, when Timothy P. Johnson built the Central House (its first name) as a public hall for shows and entertainment, a bowling alley and — quite as important — a saloon. More pictures and history»

256-258 Commercial Street

Former Congregational Church of the Pilgrims | Former Art Cinema | Saki | John Dough’s | Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop | Red Eye Coffee | Toko Indo

Your first reaction on standing in front of this building may well be: “So where’s the church?” It’s hard to make out, what with all structural additions that have grown by accretion — and like topsy — in what used to be the church’s ample front yard. But if you step across Commercial Street for a slightly better perspective, you’ll quickly recognize the shape and volume of a 19th-century house of worship. More pictures and history»

265-267 Commercial Street

Former Provincetown Advocate Building | WayDownTown

One of the most elaborate surviving storefronts from the early 20th century had every reason to be so ornate, since it was once The Provincetown Advocate Post Card Shop — the premier showcase for the image of Provincetown; source of the pictures and artifacts that would convey the town’s charms around the nation. From the late 1930s through the mid-1960s, the Town Crier Shop occupied the space with a much more generalized inventory including housewares, stationery, toys and gifts. More pictures and history»

269-271 Commercial Street

El Mundo

For a time, this late-19th-century building seems to have served as an annex to the Town Crier Shop, whose principal space was next door, at 265-267 Commercial Street. In the early 1950s, this was Christine’s Luncheonette, named for Christine M. (Souza) Silva (1913-2008), who owned the business with her husband, Anthony Silva (d 1968). Mrs. Silva was a native of Portugal and a 1931 graduate of Provincetown High School. The Silvas also owned the Cape Cod Garage, the Monument Fish Company and Cabral’s Market. (“Christine M. Silva, 94,” The Banner/Wicked Local, 22 May 2008.) More pictures and history»

275 Commercial Street

George’s Pizza & Pub

Believe it or not, there is a 19th-century house hiding under all the 20th-century commercial appurtenances; a very well-known house in its day, as it was the home for 90 years — yes, 90 years — of Louise Cook “Mid” Paine (±1861-1951). She was born in this house, just before Lincoln was elected president, the daughter of Phoebe Cook Paine and Capt. James Colin Nickerson Paine. She died here toward the end of the Truman presidency. In between, she taught piano, made hats and welcomed transient guests. More pictures and history»

277-277A Commercial Street

Walter Welsh Council of the Knights of Columbus | Shor | Outer Cape Kites & Toys | Cape Cod Gourmet | Cafe Maria | Himalayan Handicrafts

Forget Town Hall. It might reasonably be argued that for a time in the mid-20th century, the real locus of political power in Provincetown was upstairs in this building, in the hall owned and used by the Walter Welsh Council (Council No. 2476) of the Knights of Columbus, and by the affiliated St. Peter’s Club. This was where the leaders of the Portuguese Roman Catholic community sat. And where they sat, there was the head of the table. For instance, when the Knights of Columbus publicly appealed to every business in town to close for three hours on the afternoon of Good Friday — as they did each year — it’s a safe bet that most proprietors complied, no matter their religious beliefs, if for no other reason than to keep the custom of Catholic shoppers. More pictures and history»

279-281 Commercial Street

Penney Patch Candies | CC’s Cape Cod Jewelry | Hair by the Sea | Bead Garden | Mojo’s

There is probably no other taffy, fudge and candy store in Provincetown — perhaps none on the face of the earth — that can claim to be source for the title of a John Waters movie. But the slogan of a candy lipstick sold by Penney Patch, “Eat up your make up,” inspired the title Eat Your Makeup (1968). More pictures and history»

286-288 Commercial Street

Former Star Theater | Former Board Stiff | Hocus Pocus

In January 2012, Shop Therapy and Spank the Monkey moved to this building from 344-346 Commercial Street. • Forensic architectural investigation is often aided by obvious clues. The false front on the two-story building at 286-288 Commercial Street looks nothing like its gable-roofed neighbors. That’s because it was built in 1910 as a theater — the Star Theater — Provincetown’s first movie house. The theater was developed by Albert Zerbone (±1872-1959), who’d come to New Bedford from the Azores when he was four years old and began his career as an exhibitor in Provincetown by showing movies at the Masonic lodge. Zerbone’s projectionist was his cousin, Antone Joseph Viera. The theater was leased beginning in 1918, to Frank Knowles Atkins (±1877-1940), prorietor of the town’s second movie house, the Pilgrim Theater, at 293 Commercial Street. More pictures and history»

291 Commercial Street

Town House Mall | Cuffy’s

Two buildings compose this commercial front: a three-story, gable-front structure from the 19th century and a one-story eastern annex that was added sometime around the 1940s. In both guises, this building has long been a busy presence downtown, back to the late 1800s, when it was Mrs. L. Jane Dyer’s Dining Rooms and Bakery. At the time, it was denominated 272 Commercial Street, and it shared the lot with Nickerson’s granite works. More pictures and history»

† 293 Commercial Street

Edie’s Coffee Locker

This little building was constructed on or near the site of the Pilgrim Theater in the late 1930’s. It was originally the Jelly House, specializing in beach plum jelly. In later years, it was Edie’s Coffee Locker, named for Edith Mae (Sawyer) Roderick (±1925-2000). The joint sat 18 people. She cooked lunch and dinner and her husband, David W. Roderick, cooked breakfast. (“Edith Mae Roderick, 75,” The Banner, 24 August 2000.) Frances W. Fields (±1908-2001) was also credited with opening the Coffee Locker. (“Frances W. Fields, 93,” The Banner, 29 March 2001).

293 Commercial Street

Twist’d Sisters | Cock & Bull | Black Dog | Lucky Dog Ptown | The Underground

This imposingly mediocre structure — which proves that a gabled roof does not a Provincetown building make — was built in 1972. The current retail tenants are Twist’d Sisters New York Pizza, formerly owned by Joni Cozzi and Paige Mansfield and now owned by Julie Knapp and Gail Morrison; Cock & Bull Leather Shop, owned by Michael Donovan; a branch of the Black Dog General Store chain; a fast-food outlet called Lucky Dog Ptown, formerly a Subway outlet; and a cellar bar called, appropriately, The Underground, formerly the Good Times Pub. More pictures and history»

299 Commercial Street

Provincetown Portuguese Bakery

Readers of Building Provincetown have been known to wonder what could possibly fuel me for seemingly nonstop work when I’m in town. O.K. Here’s my confession: malasadas from the Portuguese Bakery (and foot-longs from John’s). Even visitors who were scarcely aware of Provincetown’s Portuguese heritage when they arrived can’t pull themselves away from the pastry cases of this modest but venerable town institution. And natives have even fonder memories. “The smells from that bakery were irresistible,” Mary-Jo Avellar recalled, saving special praise for the Viana bread, which she was dispatched to buy once or twice a week as a girl. “I used to have a hard time bringing it home without having eaten a sizable chunk.” More pictures and history»

300 Commercial Street

Mayflower Café

It wasn’t too many years ago, certainly into the 21st century, that your paper placemat at the Mayflower Café still identified Cape Cod as the “Summer Home of President Kennedy.” Things are like that at the Mayflower; suspended pleasantly in time, and great fun for that reason. You’re seated in deep booths, surrounded by Nancy Whorf’s murals and Jake Spencer’s caricatures, and you can still get chewy dinner rolls and hot Indian pudding à la mode. By the time John F. Kennedy was elected president, the Mayflower had already been in business 32 years. And it has just kept on going. It is today — as it was in 1929 — owned and run by the Janoplis family, which explains the presence of a Greek flag and a Tsolias figurine at the bar. More pictures and history»

303 Commercial Street

Post Office Café & Cabaret

Though Land’s End Marine Supply is strongly identified with the east end of downtown, this was its birthplace in 1940 — founded by Joseph E. Macara (1904-2000) — and was its home for four years. Years before that, it was Silva’s Fish Market. After Land’s End moved out, the building was home in the early 1960s to the Wreck Club, run by Manuel Souza. The longtime commercial tenant has been the Post Office Café & Cabaret, one of the busiest nightclubs in town. It does not get its name from having once been the Provincetown post office. Rather, as a 1975 business directory explained, its first-floor décor came from a former post office in Ossining, N.Y., also known as the home of the Sing Sing penitentiary. More pictures and history»

308-310 Commercial Street

New York Store Condominium | Cotton Gin | Lewis Brothers Homemade Ice Cream | Recovering Hearts (2 Standish Street) | Earth (2 Standish Street) | Ptown Mini Mart (4 Standish Street) | Art’s Dune Tours (4 Standish Street)

“Weirmen ask for the crack- and snag-proof rubber boot, the best make in the world,” the New York Store declared in 1899. Not to say that milady couldn’t find shirtwaists, capes, ribbons and laces. The New York Store had it all. It stayed in business through nine decades and its name endures on the building that housed its flagship. (There was at one time a branch store at 161 Commercial Street.) Just why it was called the New York Store is something of mystery until some knowledgeable reader lets me know. More pictures and history»

309 Commercial Street

John’s Foot-Long Hot Dogs | Whale Watch General Store

Two of the most familiar faces in Provincetown — sturdily beautiful Portuguese faces — have been watching the comings and goings in Lopes Squares for at least a half century between them, from one of the longest continuously operated dining spots in town. They are Marian (Cook) Goveia and Shirley Baker of John’s Foot-Long Hot Dogs, and they are civic treasures. More pictures and history»

312-314 Commercial Street

Governor Bradford

Familiar as the Governor Bradford may seem — and if you first set foot in town within the last half century, it’s always been here — there are noteworthy things to record: It’s still in the hands of the Edwards family, which has run this restaurant and its predecessors since the 1940s. The Bradford itself is a relative newcomer among Provincetown’s heritage businesses, having opened in 1960. It has a terrific collection of domestic and maritime artifacts and an enormous (but well concealed) mural by James Wingate Parr. More pictures and history»

313-315A Commercial Street

Former Post Office | Equipped | Cape Cod Times Provincetown Bureau | Lily Pond | Coffee Pot | Red Shack | Surf Club Restaurant and Bar

Together with No. 309, flanking Lopes Square, these buildings serves as a kind of gateway for the many thousands who arrive aboard the Boston boats. The Coffee Pot is a popular local hang-out and the Surf Club, until recently, held on to a rough-and-tumble, old-Provincetown patronage, many of whom came to hear the Provincetown Jug & Marching Band. The Surf Club formed an anti-gentry triumvirate with the Old Colony Tap, also owned by the Enos family, and the Governor Bradford. (In these joints, you’d never hear the word “triumvirate.”) More pictures and history»

321 Commercial Street

Lobster Pot

It’s a delicious paradox, in every sense, that the defining feature of this revered landmark is something that should be anathema on ye olde Cape Cod: a blazing, overscaled, gaudy neon sign. But where would downtown be without it? The Lobster Pot is coming up on its 70th anniversary without signs of slowing down. Judging from the lines outside, it can reasonably be called the quintessential town restaurant; the one where, sooner or later, everyone winds up eating. Equally remarkable is its continuity: all this time in the hands of only two families — Adeline (Santos) Medeiros LaFrance (d 2001) and her husbands Ralph Medeiros (±1911-1965) and Richard LaFrance, followed by Mary Joy McNulty (b 1938) and her sons Timothy F. (b 1962) and Shawn P. (b 1966). More pictures and history»

328 Commercial Street

Patio American Grill and Cocktail Bar

Once upon a time, in the 1930s, this was Mrs. Joseph Silva’s rooming house. More recently, it was the Café Blasé. Not long after opening his first restaurant in Portsmouth in 2002, Joachim Sandbichler, an Austrian native and investment-banker-turned-restaurant manager, opened Patio American Grill here. Todd Schiller is the executive chef.

333 Commercial Street

Café Edwige, Edwige at Night | Wild Rice

Edwige was the name of the mother of one of the original owners of Café Edwige, which has been around since 1974 — a very long time by contemporary Provincetown standards. In the 1930s, Pilgrim Cleansers and Dyers were here. During the early days of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” Johnny “Mott” Viera opened the New Deal Tavern in 1934. It moved next door in the mid-1940s. Joseph E. Manta then opened Joe’s Store — “A General Store brought up to the modern minute.” More pictures and history»

334 Commercial Street

Purple Feather Café and Treatery

Hong Ting Wong (b ±1898) stands out among the most interesting of that wonderful local species, the artist-restaurateur. He studied under Charles W. Hawthorne and was said to have been a promising pupil. Though life took him in another direction, he was still showing his paintings in his first restaurant, the Cape Cod Tea Garden, at 327 Commercial. His second restaurant, Wong’s Cozy Den Coffee Shop, was at 347 Commercial. On returning from World War II, he opened his chef-d’oeuvre, Wong’s Restaurant. More pictures and history»

335 Commercial Street

Squealing Pig Pub and Oyster Bar

The Fo’csle was the spiritual ancestor of the Old Colony Tap; the premier dive bar in its day (said admiringly). In Shock Value, John Waters recalled The Advocate taking a picture of Dorothy Karen “Cookie” Mueller, a Dreamland regular, at the Fo’csle and using it to illustrate an article on alcoholism, with the caption, “Skulking in the depths of drunken depravity.” And to think: the Fo’csle was the cleaned-up version of the predecessor tavern, the New Deal, which wouldn’t even have let Mueller through the door. It maintained a men-only policy until 1959. More pictures and history»

336 Commercial Street

B-xclusive Streetwear | Tinys Local Food | HOW: Helping Our Women | AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod | Stax of Wax | Piercings by the Bearded Lady | Body Pulse Massage

This multitenant commercial building occupies what was once the front yard of the Pilgrim House. Its north facade is taken up with a trompe-l’oeil mural in which Amelia Earhart stands on the balcony, with Maya Angelou around the corner and Getrude Stein up in the attic. More pictures and history»

338-340 Commercial Street

Karoo Kafe | M. G. Leather of Provincetown | Wampum Etc.

Full disclosure: the entry discussing Sanette Groenewald’s Karoo Kafe will be inherently biased, because it’s consistently been among our favorite restaurants here since it opened in 2002. (That’s not the editorial “us”; that’s me and my husband Scott.) How often in any American town can you get casual South African food prepared by a chef who had her own restaurant in Cape Town for two years? And get it at reasonable prices, in an inviting and imaginative little dining room, with friendly, pleasant service? More pictures and history»

353A-353B Commercial Street

Angels’ Landing (West buildings) | Café Dinara

Three buildings spill down to the waterfront from behind 353 Commercial Street. There is a little commercial unit on the square that has seen one coffee shop open after another in recent years. In this picture, taken in 2008, it was Cicchetti’s Espresso Bar, proferring “coffees and tiny nibbles.” That didn’t last long. By 2010, it was Mayorga’s Coffee Shop. Also gone. As of 2011, it was the Café Dinara. More pictures and history»

353-355 Commercial Street

Angels’ Landing (East buildings) | Birdie Silkscreen Studio | ScottCakes | Box Lunch

The Angela of Angel’s Landing was no angel — certainly not in the eyes of America’s photojournalists or its political left wing. She was Angela Calomiris (1916-1995), the daughter of Greek immigrants and a member of the celebrated Photo League in New York City. On 26 April 1949, she stunned her colleagues when she appeared at the trial of 11 Communists accused of plotting to overthrow the government and disclosed that she’d been an undercover agent of the F.B.I. since 1942. More pictures and history»

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. More pictures and history»

371-373 Commercial Street

Pepe’s Wharf Restaurant | Bowersock Gallery | Go Fish | Under Glass Custom Framing

Pepe’s Wharf may be the loveliest and most inviting of all of Provincetown’s little waterside shopping and dining enclaves — the Mews, Angels’ Landing, Designers’ Dock — thanks to its entrance portal, multiple levels, lush plantings and numerous corners, around which the passageway down to the restaurant and the beach keeps unfolding. It was developed in 1966 by Nils W. Berg (d 1994) and Eva (Kaye) Berg (1920-2009), just four years after Nicholas and Ray Wells had developed the Mews, at 359 Commercial Street. And the property is still in the hands of the Berg family, almost a half century later. “Pepe,” incidentally, seems to have been the nickname of the Bergs’ son Nils (b ±1955). More pictures and history»

379-379A Commercial Street

Wired Puppy Specialty Coffee & Tea | Iona Print Studio

No offense intended to the popular Wired Puppy coffee house, but the most interesting view of 379 Commercial Street is from the beach side, where a long, low former fish house can be seen (pictured above). Leno P. Dutra, who had a fueling station nearby at 359R Commercial Street, ran his taxi service from this address in the 1930s. In the mid 1950s, it was an Italian restaurant known as Sorrento. Perhaps not enough customers returned to Sorrento because, by the early 1960s, it had become La Cucina del Re (the King’s Kitchen). More pictures and history»

385 Commercial Street

September Morn Fine Estate Jewelry | September Morn Private Estates | Ptown Scoop

The larger, harborside building on this property was once the Vinton Studios. Opened in 1913, these “were the first studios for general rent in Provincetown,” Ross Moffett wrote in Art in Narrow Streets (1964). They were also the home of two very significant figures on the Provincetown cultural scene: Mary Grove Bacon Bicknell (d 1968), organizer of the Wharf Players Theater at 83 Commercial Street (obituary in the Scrapbooks of Althea Boxell), and her husband, William Harry Warren Bicknell (1860-1947), a noted etcher who was — The Advocate said astutely — “especially noteworthy for his fluent lines, his rare use of white spaces and his economy of unessential detail.” (Biographical sketch at Gallery Ehva.) More pictures and history»

386 Commercial Street

Waterford Inn – Café – Tavern

“Captain Lavender’s Deck” at the Waterford is not some sort of coy code to entice gay patrons. No, this property once was home to Captain Lavender — in fact, the Captains Lavender: Robert M. Lavender (1847-1928) and Stephen S. Lavender (1852-1910), who appears to have been Robert’s younger uncle. (Stephen’s much older brother, Capt. Joseph A. Lavender, was Robert’s father. Joseph was lost at sea in 1870.) The family came from Nova Scotia, as did Robert’s wife, Louisa J. (1847-1920), herself a remarkable woman. More pictures and history»

392 Commercial Street

Waterford Inn – Café – Tavern

Technically, 392 Commercial Street doesn’t exist any longer. It’s part of a unified parcel with 386 Commercial Street. But it is such a distinctively individual building — as it was originally — that it gets its own entry; at least enough of one to note that it served as an adjunct to the Gray Inn, run from 1931 to 1946 by David L. Allen, then after 1946 by Jere Snader. It has also played an annex role for the successors to Gray, including the Ocean’s Inn, the Commons and the Waterford. Other commercial tenants included Polly’s Powder Puff in the late 1930s.