Restaurateurs Rik and Caren Morse make a return to down town with Chatham Filling Station Diner at 75 Old Harbor Road. For many years they owned the Chatham Bakery and Zia Pizzeria in East Orleans. They spent several months transforming the restaurant into a classic, retro diner.
We stopped in for lunch the other day and were met by Ric, the owner, who made us feel right at home.
The dining room has a beautiful 20-foot wall mural painted by artist Helen Kelsey which depicts Cape Cod of yesteryear (see photo below). Classic memorabilia, signage and collectibles from the heyday of roadside diners is sprinkled throughout the space. Seating is a combination of tables and a long counter with diner type chrome stools.
Flo, our waitress, was very attentive and offered to start us with a long list of beverages from Cappuccino, Espresso and lattes to watermelon limeade.
The lunch menu is made up of creative deli sandwiches, burgers, chowder & soups, salads and a few main entrees.
For starters we tried the spinach & baby Kale salad ($12.) Very fresh and crisp greens with pickled red onion, a sprinkling of goat cheese and candied walnuts are lightly tossed with a homemade cranberry vinegrette. This came with a large piece of warm house made grilled corn bread.
Our next salad was the cold Southern peanut noodles ($12) served in a spicy peanut dressing, with carrots, scallions, bell pepper and shredded cabbage also served with the grilled cornbread. Both salads are large enough to be shared or enjoyed as a meal.
For entrees we tried a touch of the south, some of Rik and Caren’s tried-and-true family recipes. First up were rib-sticking Southern shrimp & grits ($14). 6 large gulf shrimp were sautéed with onion and sweet bell peppers then served on top of creamy Carolina grits and pan sauce, along with grilled cornbread. A nice dish that is a different approach than the usual fried seafood shacks. Delish!
Last but not least, Aunt Mena's Fish Cakes ($14) were made with perfectly grilled fresh local cod. Very moist and flavorful, the fish cakes were served with saucy black beans, home fries and grilled cornbread. I noticed on the extensive breakfast menu the fish cakes were served as "Caren’s Aunt Mena’s tried-and-true crispy cakes" ($12) with eggs any style, saucy black beans with popovers. Yum!
We will be back for breakfast in the near future. Looks like this restaurant is well on it's way to becoming very successful.
Chatham Filling Station is serving breakfast and lunch, with breakfast available all day, six days a week, year round.
[Be sure to check out the photo gallery below]