“The owl and the pussy cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat
And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon
The moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.”
The words from the above Edward Lear poem, written in 1871, are cut out of wood, painted white, and secured to the side of the Lobster Shanty in Fenwick Island – right next to the giant, four-foot red wooden shoes belonging to the Wicked Witch, that poke out from under the bayside restaurant. Dawson and Delaney Twining say that the poem is one that their mother read to them when they were young children.
“The entire restaurant was decorated by my mom, Janet,” said Delaney Twining about the Shanty that belongs to his family, “It’s an ongoing joke in the family that my parents had to open another restaurant just because my mom needed another place to put all of her decorations and things.”
The Wizard of Oz is one of Janet’s favorite movies, and décor throughout both restaurants reflect her love for flying monkeys, glitter red slippers, and wicked witches. Only recently has The Wizard of Oz been shadowed by another favorite film – Water for Elephants.
The Twining’s own the three-year-old Lobster Shanty as well as the 21-year-old Nantuckets; both are in the Fenwick Island area and decorated stylishly. David and Janet opened the restaurant after seeing potential in the bay front property. The Shanty had been turned over by other restaurant owners several times in the past five years; David and Janet saw potential in the property and seized an opportunity to expand their business.
“Our parents are busy people. They’re all over [the place] all the time. Delaney and I take turns manning the bars,” said Dawson Twining, the younger son of the Twining family who is often seen behind the bar at the Lobster Shanty.
Delaney, the oldest son of the Twining’s, said, “My brother and I have grown up in the business. Nantucket’s opened in ’91. It’s been open for 21 seasons now. We’ve experienced it all over the years.” The Twining boys are now both in their mid-twenties.
Anyone who has dined at Nantuckets has experienced the delicious, high quality dishes served alongside fine wines, beers, and cocktails. Nantucket’s menu is carried by high-end delicacies, while the Lobster Shanty’s menu is more casual. Fitting, as the atmosphere of The Shanty is more relaxed than that of Nantuckets. Both offer fresh seafood, and seasonal selections.
New on the Shanty menu for the 2012 season are items like the Shanty Lobster Salad BLT, Clams Casino, stuffed shrimp, and freshly made lobster cakes.
Shanty waiter, Karl Hall said, “The lobster cakes will be one of our best sellers this season. You can get them on a sandwich served with chips and a pickle or coleslaw, or as part of our Surf ‘and Turf meal, or by themselves as a meal served with potatoes and a vegetable.”
The Surf and Turf is available with the lobster cake, a crab cake, or a regular lobster, too. The lobsters served at the Shanty come straight from Maine on a daily basis. They are delivered live each and every morning to ensure that they are as fresh as possible before being steamed and served.
The Kobe Steak soaked in an au jus sauce, covered with fresh cheese and crunchy fried onions is a local favorite. The center cut fillet can be grilled to the diner’s liking. Specials occur on select nights of the week and attract locals to the restaurant. Some specials include a Prime Rib dinner, Shanty Steamers special, or a Burger and Bloody Mary, at a deeply discounted price. Typically, the specials only run during the beginning of the busy season and after the summer crowd has made their way back north.
Happy hour occurs on a daily basis from 3 – 6 pm, at the bar only. Those feeling happy, hungry, and thirsty at the Shanty can enjoy 20% off the Shanty’s ‘Just Grazing’ section of the menu while sipping on discounted drinks.
A whole new beer menu has been presented to those who drink at the Shanty this season. Recently released brews by local breweries, like Dogfish Head, 16 Mile, and Evo, have made their way into the refrigerators behind the bar. The Lobster Shanty also features a ‘Drink of the Day’. Some favorites include the raspberry margarita, espresso martini, cosmopolitan, a few classics and other originals.
“The Lobster Bloody Mary is the best,” said Dawson, “It’s made with Effen Cucumber and house-blended bloody mix.”
“Then it’s garnished with a lobster claw, celery, an onion slice, olives, pepperoncini, a lemon wedge, and a lime wedge. It’s our take on a traditional bloody,” added Delaney.
The locals and visitors returning to the Lobster Shanty year after year, month after month, or week after week, know all about the menu, drinks, and décor of the funky little restaurant on the edge of town. They each have their favorite dishes, requested drinks, and even tables.
“We see the same people in and out of both Nantuckets and the Shanty. We like seeing the regulars visit both Twining’s locations,” said Delaney.
The family plans to extend the Lobster Shanty’s outdoor dining area by expanding the deck that hovers of the marsh. It’s planned that the deck will have a permanent roof overhead by the end of summer. The family jokes that Janet will have the new outdoor space decorated with light-hearted treasures, knick-knacks, and decorations meant for outdoors in no time.