A Taste of Block Island’s Best… Old Harbor View Takeout

Mon, 07/14/2008 - 5:00am
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In 2006, Mark and Rose Jones took over the lease of a long-established island short-order stand, the Old Harbor Takeout. Although they had been running the takeout for some years with their son Justin, owning the lease was an opportunity for the Jones family to make the takeout their own. They began by changing the name to “Old Harbor View Takeout.”

The Old Harbor View Takeout has more than a new name. There is also a new menu with all dishes trans-fat-free, and a renovated outdoor dining area.

I asked Mark what the takeout’s best dish is, and he answered, without any hesitation, “the lobster rolls.” He serves two kinds: a hot lobster roll, which Mark says is favored by people from Connecticut, and a cold lobster salad roll, which is, he says, the way Rhode Islanders like it.

Both varieties have four to five ounces of lobster meat, all tail and claw, and sell for $12.95. The hot ones are saut/ed in butter; the cold ones are mixed with celery, a bit of mayonnaise, and a sprinkling of celery salt.

“We have a huge following for our lobster rolls,” Mark said.

I definitely had to try one. Although I spent most of my life in Connecticut, I chose to sample the lobster salad roll. Maybe after four years living here year-round, I’m becoming a Rhode Islander.

There was so much lobster mounded on the roll, it almost crushed it, a definite plus for a lobster lover. One thing I like about a good lobster roll is the lingering flavor of real lobster, and this roll had it. My only regret was that I had no room left afterward to try the hot roll. I guess I’m just going to have to go back on a day when I’m missing Connecticut!

The Jones family also runs specials every day, devised by son Justin, who, mom proudly told me, attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he studied culinary arts. On the day of my visit, specials included a cranberry walnut chicken wrap, which sells for $9.95, and a cucumber salad, for $1.45. On other days, diners might find a rib eye steak wrap or a pesto chicken wrap.

The menu also includes short order staples like hamburgers and Nathan’s Hot Dogs. They still carry Del’s lemonade and ices in a variety of flavors, and make coffee shakes with Autocrat syrup.

I hadn’t planned to eat dessert, but there were two types of soft-serve ice cream. Flavorburst ice cream is a vanilla soft serve ice cream that is injected with any of eight different flavors. Razzle, which I did not try, has candy and can be ordered with or without pecans.

In addition to a revamped menu, the Old Harbor View Takeout has a renovated eating area. The new brick terrace is surrounded by a white picket fence, colorful flowers, and arched arbors over the entrances. The tables are also new, each with its own umbrella to shade diners from the mid-day sun. When the four trees that have been planted among the tables are grown, the patio will be a shady respite from the afternoon heat, with or without umbrellas.

Old Harbor View Takeout is on Water Street just above the ferry parking lot, and it does, overlook Old Harbor. It opens for breakfast at 7 a.m., and closes at 9 p.m.