Mattapoisett was named by the Wampanoag Indians who were the earliest settlers of the historic seaside town in Massachusetts. It means, “A place of resting.” On a recent road trip, I rested at one of the most delicious short order restaurants, The Oxford Creamery.
The Creamery has been serving New England favorites since 1931. When Ken and Liz Ackerman bought the stand in 2003, they changed the name but kept everything on the menu the same. The only new menu addition – sweet potato fries.
Location: The Oxford Creamery – 98 Country Road (Route 6) in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. There is also a food truck that stops in other nearby locales. Check the website for information about “The Oxcart.”
Menu: The tiny restaurant has all the local favorites that you would expect in a New England seafood shack. The extensive menu includes clam cakes, clam strips, fish and chips, fish sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. It also includes the quintessential lobster roll. The combination plates include fries and coleslaw. If you like, you can add a cup of Quahog Chowder. If there is any room left for dessert, the Creamery’s ice cream is legendary.
Thoughts: Famous for shipbuilding for the whaling industry, Mattapoisett was prosperous until the 1870s. The whaling industry declined, but luckily, the shore town became a favorite vacation spot for folks from Boston and New York. In 1931 Gulf Hill Ice Cream (now Oxford Creamery) opened on the (then) main road to Cape Cod, and the lines have been out the door ever since.
The Ackerman’s are heading into their 16th season when they open again in April. They love catching up with locals and meeting travelers who are stopping in for the first time. In season, you will find them in the kitchen with their staff of high schoolers who will serve you with a smile.
The menu hasn’t changed much; you will still see the freshest seafood and ingredients that have made it an institution in this area. Along with traditional seafood rolls (lobster, crab, clam, scallop, and shrimp), there are classics like burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and tuna melts, cooked in the small open kitchen. The plates like fish and chips include fries and slaw and are generous in size.
Once you step up to the window and order, you can step outside and wait. On sunny days there is a shady picnic grove set up under the trees just beyond the parking lot where you can dine alfresco. I ordered the lobster roll, served in a top split, buttered hot dog bun. The chunks of lobster, lightly dressed with mayonnaise, spilled out of the toasty bread. The fries were crisp, and the slaw was light and fresh.
One of my friends ordered the fried clams with onion rings. There were so many strips piled into the red and white cardboard container that we couldn’t finish them. Another friend got the fish and chips plate. He eagerly offered for us to taste the flaky white fish coated in a crunchy batter because the portion was enormous. We doused our forkfuls in malt vinegar and reveled in the pure joy of sampling off each other’s plates.
We couldn’t leave without ice cream. We were full, but we decided to try the famous hand scooped confection. There are 35 different flavors of ice cream and four flavors of fat-free frozen yogurt to choose from at The Oxford Creamery. I went full fat because when you visit a roadside restaurant, you don’t count calories. The creamy goodness of my cup of butter pecan-studded with nuts was worth it.
Price Range: While prices are subject to change for some items, you will find them to be reasonable. Hot dogs are $2. Other sandwiches range from $4-7. The highest priced roll is the lobster roll at $15.50 and is well worth the price for the portion. Plates are $10-20. A cup of chowder is $3.50. Giant ice creams are $5, and desserts like banana splits are $7.