By Jano Tantongco
Serving up classic seafood treats, sandwiches and drinks, The Shack in Centerport has become a local tradition that keeps diners coming back over and over again.
The humble establishment has its roots firmly embedded in the community. It was first established in 1926, and eventually become a McDonald’s stand. In 1980, Mace Colodny, who used to live in Centerport, purchased it and created The Shack as it’s known and loved today.
Complete with a bitten surfboard on its walls, homey string lights and paper-plate signage, The Shack is simple, satisfying and welcoming.
The outdoor eatery is open as long as it’s not raining. With a wide overhead tent, you’ll feel right at home right off 25A. It brings to the table an inviting barside feel if you want to saddle up right next to The Shack itself for a drink, or you can sit down and stretch out for a full meal.
Jen McNamara, of Northport, has managed The Shack since 2005 and said the local favorite brings together a crowd made up of all types.
“It’s just fun. It’s clams and chaos. It’s crazy here. It’s family-oriented, everybody comes here. We have customers that come every single day,” McNamara said.
She said the menu is chock-full of fresh, locally-sourced goods, with everything that’s fried being hand-breaded to perfection. The menu is also packed with other selections like sandwiches, wraps and salads. And don’t forget to keep up on the specials board for rotating delicacies.
Served with toasty, tasty garlic bread, the Whole Baked Clams ($13) come with six pieces and are an excellently savory way to start your meal right. Steeped in a sultry, garlicky sauce, the clams are breaded just right, adding a touch of crisp to each bite.
The Kung Pao Calamari ($16) is an Asian-inspired take on the classic app. With a generous drizzle of sweet chili sauce and slices of carrots and red cabbage, it melds sweet with slightly spicy, all with a crunchy, light breading that definitely hits the spot.
The Deep Fried Surf Clams ($18) entree brings down Ipswich clams from Rhode Island for outrageously fresh, deep-fried clammy goodness. Served with a mild tartar sauce and thickly cut fries, keep an eye on your friends and family before they too snag one too many clam bites. The batter might appear thick, but it’s just the right, light amount that lets the clam shine through for a seafood sensation.
A can’t miss entree is the Homemade Lobster Roll ($26, subject to market pricing), which is served as an open sandwich with crispy, almost pillow-like sweet potato fries. Served on a warm, mildly sweet brioche roll from a local bakery, hearty lobster chunks accentuate a lobster blend mixed with celery for a refreshingly satisfying affair. Squeeze on a little lime for a fresh, citrusy kick that will take the lobster to the next level.