Hi, friends! Happy Memorial Day. I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend.
Back in November 2020, I closed on a house in Hull, MA. It's a short, five minute walk to Nantasket Beach, the beach I grew up on, hanging with my cousins every summer.
As we prepare for warmer weather and glorious beach days, I wanted to share some local spots that deserve your support. Though we're definitely transitioning out of the pandemic times, a lot of small businesses are still making up for lost revenue from the past 15 months.
Let's get into it.
1. Breadbasket Bakery & Cafe - The smell of freshly baked bread at the Breadbasket is intoxicating. I love to start my morning here, usually with a sticky bun or a chocolate croissant. On the back wall, you'll find the selection of fresh breads for the day. So far, the cranberry walnut has been my favorite.
The menu includes breakfast sandwiches, a crab cake benedict and avocado toast.
At lunchtime, they serve salads, sandwiches and flatbreads. My go-to is the fresh mozzarella and beefsteak tomato on the housemade focaccia. All sandwiches come with chips and a side salad.
Don't sleep on the brownies, which are available at the counter. The sign reads, "Brownies the size of your face." My kind of place.
2. Crave - If you're looking for something fresh, Crave makes delicious smoothies and acai bowls. My go-to is the Keep it Classy smoothie, which is strawberry and banana.
They also serve coffee and tea.
Regulars know that Crave is also one of the best places to find gluten-free treats. They often have GF donuts and brownies available in the bakery case.
The owner, Casey, couldn't be nicer.
Crave closes each day at 3:00pm, so make sure to get there before your afternoon snack craving hits!
3. Toast - For a classic brunch spread, Toast is the spot. I've ordered countless omelettes and eggs benedicts, and some day I am going to try one of their decadent French toast specials.
The portions here are huge (in the best way). In addition to all the breakfast staples, they also have fun drinks like a raspberry mocha latte or a caramel cold brew.
They also serve lunch. I love the Greek salad wrap with a side of French fries.
A word to the wise: wait times on weekends can be as long as two hours (even for takeout). So try to get there in the first hour. Doors open at 7:00am.
4. Mambo's - Mambo's opened just a few years ago (May 2019) and has quickly become a local favorite. The restaurant is one block back from the beach, with a roof deck that overlooks the ocean.
They serve traditional bar / pub food - calamari, chicken wings, buffalo chicken bites and onion rings. There are several salads, sandwiches and burgers (including Beyond Meat burgers), but their pizza is the main event.
They have 11 signature pizzas (all named after local spots) and of course you can also make your own. Gluten-free pizza crust is also available.
Many out-of-towners flock to the roof deck at The Parrot (right across the street) but the scene at Mambo's is way more relaxed, with an equally stellar view.
5. Local 02045 - For those that live on the bay side of town (that's me!), Local 02045 is a treasured spot to sit outside and watch the sunset in the evenings. The restaurant is at the A Street Pier, and has a second story roof deck that overlooks all the boats.
The menu is a mix of things. To start, there are appetizers like loaded tater tots, a jumbo soft pretzel and lobster rangoons. You can get seafood classics like fish & chips, fish tacos, shrimp scampi, lobster alfredo or a lobster roll.
I usually get the mac & cheese, which comes with a Cheez-It crumble on top.
The food is good, but it really is all about the view. My advice is to head there about an hour before sunset, knowing there will likely be a wait. Even if you don't get seated in time to watch the sun sink below the horizon, you can enjoy it from the pier while you wait.
6. Scoops - Is there anything better at the end of a beach day than a giant ice cream cone? No. No, there isn't.
My family has always been partial to Frost Bite, the ice cream shop on L Street, but I live closest to an adorable shop called Scoops. They offer great flavors (including a few non-diary choices) and the option to make your own Chipwich!
They are open six days a week (closed on Mondays). They close each night at 8:00pm, so make sure to get there by 7:30pm in case there is a line. Sometimes I'll get a milkshake and sip it on the walk home.
7. Nantasket Sweets - If candy is more your thing, Nantasket Sweets is a new addition to town. Owner Maria opened her doors in December 2020 (a tough time to launch a business!) and every time I go in she greets me with the warmest hello and always offers to help or answer questions.
The confections in the shop are Swedish candies, made from natural flavors. There are gluten-free options and gelatin-free options (vegans, looking at you!).
Recently, they also added Wild Pops to their offerings. If you aren't familiar, Wild Pops makes fresh fruit popsicles. I had my eye on the watermelon one the last time I stopped in.
If you're looking for a gift for a friend or someone hosting you in Hull, Nantasket Sweets has beautiful packaging and gift wrap options.
Follow them on Instagram, @nantasketsweets, where they share new products as they come in.
There you have it! My Hull, MA favorites. I hope you'll pop into ones of these gems during your next trip to Nantasket Beach.
*Mambo's photo courtesy of @giuseppe_ cognetti on Instagram; A Street Pier photo courtesy of Anne E. Goldman; all other photography by Molly Galler.