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The Red Inn: When a Restaurant Becomes a Destination

Restaurant Review - Provincetown, Massachusetts

By Peter F. Demers | July 25, 2011

The Red Inn

Located at the very tip of Cape Cod, the Red Inn has become “the place to go” for Cape residents, and tourists from all over the world.

The Red Inn is Set on the edge of Provincetown Harbor

It is truly one of those places that has transcended just being a place to dine, to one where the ambiance, the setting and the food combine to make a visit a very special experience.   Set on the edge of Provincetown Harbor, there are few views anywhere in the world that are more breathtaking than the moonlight illuminating the water, which resembles a shimmering silver sea of glass.

According to official records, the inn is located on the exact site where the Pilgrims first landed on North American shores in 1620. Built by sea Captain Freeman Atkins in 1805, it has been a functioning inn and restaurant since 1915.

While Provincetown has changed dramatically from a fishing village to an international tourist destination since the inn opened, The Red Inn has studiously worked to retain the charm of its historic past that has made it a favorite destination for over 100 years.

The inn has played host to a US President and any number of celebrities including Norman Mailer, a long time Provincetown resident, and the cast of the movie he shot here that included Ryan O’Neal, his wife, Farah Fawcett and Isabella Rossellini.

The Newly Refurbished Interior

Falling into disrepair, the inn and restaurant closed in 1999 until it was purchased in 2001 by a team of local entrepreneurs dedicated to restoring the inn and its heralded restaurant to its former glory.

After a painstaking renovation that took almost a year to complete, the inn and restaurant reopened. But they weren’t done yet, closing the facility in late fall, 2010, a major expansion of the restaurant, bar and guest rooms was undertaken.

With painstaking attention to detail such as having the top of the bar made from rafters from a 1915 addition to the building and flooring either from reclaimed wood from Boston or an old barn from Martha’s Vineyard, the owners substantially increased the size of the restaurant.

The bar has been expanded from five stools to fourteen, a small cocktail lounge has been added and the restaurant’s seating capacity has increased from fifty-four to over one hundred.

Fruits De Mare

That the restaurant, the ambiance and the location are spectacular is a given. However many restaurants fall into the trap of thinking that’s enough, but not the Red Inn. The food lives up to the high standards set by the facility presenting a gourmet menu to rival any Boston or New York restaurant.

It’s a challenge to pick a “signature” dish at a restaurant like The Red Inn, but some of the most popular are the Pan Roasted Cod caught locally and served with a lemon-garlic comfit with Applewood bacon on a bed of Rosemary potatoes. ($28)

If it’s meat you are after then the Herb Crusted Grilled Lamb Chops served with mashed potatoes and a red wine demi-glaze is a very popular choice. ($36)

Of course, this is Cape Cod and you can’t take a chance on missing the Red Inn’s famous Grilled Locally Caught Lobster (Market Price).

For starters, the crispy crusted Panko Shrimp ($12), the Lobster and Artichoke Fondue served with warm French bread ($15) and their Steamed Clams (featured in both Bon Appétit and Gourmet magazines) served with white wine, tomato, fennel and garlic butter broth are not to be missed. ($14)

Now if you are looking for the complete Red Inn experience, you have to stay at one of the recently renovated rooms and suites available. With three guest rooms, three suites and two apartments like accommodations with full kitchens, The Red Inn has accommodations able to fit the needs of even the most seasoned traveler.   Each room has views that illustrate why this community has been a haven for artists for over a century.

The Red Inn – A special place for special occasions.

All of the photographs were kindly supplied by The Red Inn and are by Dick Mitchell.

TELEPHONE(508) 487-7334

The Red Inn
15 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA 02657

WEBSITE: www.theredinn.com/dining.html

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