Welcome back to Food Crawls, a series in which Eater Boston staffers guide you (virtually) on various food crawls in the Boston area.
When we go out, we often find ourselves wanting to try more than one restaurant at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and perhaps a dessert there — and want to share our favorite multi-stop combinations with you. These crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink is meant to correspond roughly to a couple of average appetites (so bring a friend), although your mileage may vary. Email us if there’s a particular theme, specific dish or drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.
Newburyport, Massachusetts is the epitome of quaint, historic, seaside New England. Its streets are lined with buildings and homes that date as far back as the First Period (1625-1725); its downtown is covered almost head to toe in brick; its coast is studded with dune grass and nesting piping plovers (and, unfortunately, greenhead horse flies). And it counts prominent abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and sixth president of the United States John Quincy Adams as former residents.
Newburyport is worth visiting for many reasons, not least of which is its food and beverage scene — from the new, hipster-friendly Paddle Inn to the old, carpeted floors of Starboard Galley, this North Shore hamlet has something for everyone. Start with some oysters at Brine, and finish with some grog at the Grog.
Stats for this food crawl:
- Total stops: 4
- Bivalves eaten: Between two and three dozen
- Total mileage: A quarter mile (maybe)
- Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival buildings seen: SO many
A Dozen Oysters at Brine
25 State St., Newburyport, MA 01950
Brine isn’t just an oyster bar — the menu offers eaters things like salmon tartare, bone-in ribeye, and caviar — but this is a food crawl, and stomachs only have so much space, so order a dozen oysters. Brine prices its oysters daily, and the menu is rotating, but patrons can count on a good selection of West Coast and East Coast mollusks. Sit at the bar — it’s made from Carrera marble, and it is gorgeous — and swill a crisp beer with those briny treats.
Crab Rangoons at The Paddle Inn
27 State St., Newburyport, MA 01950
Exit Brine, hang a left, and then immediately hang another left into the Paddle Inn. Order the crab rangoons — which are made with Maine crab — and a Tiger Beer. Yes, the Paddle Inn has Tiger Beer, because despite what 2017 had to say, not everything is terrible. Fun fact: The Paddle Inn is part of the Trina’s Starlite Lounge/Parlor Sports family. (And keep an eye out for Trina’s Starlite Amesbury, which is set to open on the other side of the Merrimack River any minute now.)
Fried Clams at Starboard Galley
55 Water St., Newburyport, MA 01950
Starboard Galley is responsible for some of my earliest memories. My mother and father and brother would get the fried clams; I’d get the chicken fingers because I was a picky idiot until my late teens. Don’t get the chicken fingers; get the fried clams. Newburyport is positioned near the northernmost part of the Great Marsh, and as we already know, the Great Marsh is home to the best soft-shell clams on the planet. Get an order, and wash them down with a cold Budweiser. (Budweiser is the correct beer pairing for fried seafood.)
A Beer (and Maybe Some Broiled Scallops) at the Grog
13 Middle St., Newburyport, MA 01950
The Grog is a very good bar doing very good food. If the oysters and the crab rangoons and the fried clams weren’t enough on this crawl’s earlier stops, order the broiled scallops here because they’re transcendent. If all that food was enough, grab a beer or two and, if it’s Sunday night, head downstairs and listen to some very good blues. (Like, world-class blues.)