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Summer Stock in Dennis

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I've been excited to try this newest incarnation of the Cape Playhouse Restaurant, as it will always be known to me as the place I lived near in the 60s and also worked at in the late 70s, since I heard of it's reopening. It is the latest restaurant from the folks who own the Island Merchant. The menu IS indeed eclectic, and the lunch menu at leasy, seems fairly priced. Our sampling was at lunch today. I'm giving it three stars as it fell short in many ways, although hopefully some shortcomings will be corrected over time.

First, the room. The white room with airy swing out windows has been painted with mustard yellow walls and a gray ceiling. The windows are now cheap vinyl replacements. The back of the waitress station has a Lily Pullitzer floral motif and adds some much needed zest to the room. The tables are tight to each other and a few half booths look odd in their placement as an attempt to create a hostess station and entry area. A linen closet has been converted into a service bar which is a great addition for the servers (trust me I know) yet seems out of place with a single stool and small TV. An upright piano is in an awkward position next to the waitress station. The first thing that struck us was how stark the decor was. Tables have crisp white double linens covered in paper, even at lunch, and have tiny candle holders with salt and pepper shakers. And that's it. No prints or paintings on the wall. No flowers on the tables. No plants hanging from the high ceilings. Very stark. Even on the outside, the window boxes are gone and the gardens are stark, although there is promise that the gardens will be brought back to their former lovely state.

The service was friendly, and enthusiastic. Unfortunately, we were the only party at 1 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon so it was difficult not to feed badly for the 2 waitresses, hostess, and bartender all in attendance. Needless to say, we didn't wait a moment for anything we wanted.

We didn't test the kitchen too hard. DW started with a cup of clam chowder which was very fairly priced at just $3. The waitress brought a bowl, however, and charged us $6 even though we commented, "wow, that's a cup?" yes was the reply.. Chowder was very good. DW had a Lilly Burger, essentially a BLT cheeseburger with a small salad ($13) which was undercooked a bit. I ordered a luncheon entree of a Stuffed Red Roasted Pepper with linguica and lump crab on a small spinach salad. ($12) This would have been an okay appetizer, but it's innaccurate to call it an entree. What i got was a half of a red pepper stuffed with a very moist and spicy stuffing. The linguica overpowered any taste of crab that may have been present. And the only greens on the plate were a few pieces of spring mix that was more garnish than salad. Two sodas and a refill (charged full price) and our tab was $39 plus $8 tip. We're underwhelmed, but are willing to try again after they have a chance to get the kinks out.

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  1. Had dinner at Summer Shack last night and loved it--better than its predecessor, Center Stage Not haute cuisine but wonderfully varied menu and price points. My husband loved the shortribs and I loved the cinnamon dusted salmon over mashed sweet potatoes with black beans. Service was excellent. Only slight downside was high noise level. I'm delighted to have Summer Shack in Dennis.

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    Center Stage Cafe
    36 Hope Ln, Dennis, MA 02638

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    1. re: nfc

      Summer Stock...as in theater. Summer Shack is/was a Jasper White restaurant. I look forward to trying it. The Dunn's have a nice restaurant in Island Merchant and i wish them luck in this new venue!

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      Island Merchant
      302 Main St, Hyannis, MA 02601