The Papantoniadis family is very hands-on. The clan, which as Papantoniadis Properties and Boston Pizza Co. runs pizza establishments in the Boston area, does everything from construction to menu design and making pizza dough and sauce.
So it seems fitting that customers get in on the hands-on act. At Stash’s Onset Beach, which opened in June, you order at the counter, have a seat inside or out, and pick it up when it’s ready.
All that work, if you can call it that, is worth it. This Cape Cod-style clam shack/pizza joint serves up food that’s a cut above the norm for those places, served in abundance and at reasonable prices, the highest-priced item being a one-pound, king-sized lobster roll for $26.
The year-round restaurant was a year and a half and about a half-million-dollar renovation in the making, said Steven Papantoniadis, who runs the business with brothers Anastasios (Stash) and Charles. It was a full rehab of Kenny’s Salt Water Taffy, which has been there for more than 100 years. Work included reinforcing the structure, bringing it up to hurricane code by installing high-impact windows, and putting on a new roof and siding.
It’s the only on-the-beach restaurant in Onset, a village of Wareham, with killer views of Onset Bay and Wickets Island, and the Cape Cod Canal in the distance.
We went one Monday night as a party of five adults and four teens, and ordered up a storm on the outdoor patio for a total bill of $129. One down side was the bugs. Another is the lack of adult beverages, but Steven Papantoniadis said the company is seeking a beer-and-wine license. In the meantime, you can bring your own wine, which we did.
We tried a couple of the foot-long hot all-beef Kayem dogs ($3), opting to go with the basket option ($5.49), which we got with crispy sweet-potato fries, and also the cheese dog basket ($6), with regular fries, a nice cheesy variety. Both were big enough to share.
Pizza choices abounded, so we ordered a large spinach, tomato, and feta pie ($15), a thin-crust, 16-inch affair with very good sauce and toppings. Even with nine people nibbling away at it, enough was left to take home.
Some to try next time include the “Fenway,” with grilled onions and peppers and sweet Italian sausage; and the “Onset Bay Special,” loaded with scallops and bacon.
Just about everything on the menu, if not made on premises, is from local vendors, said Papantoniadis, including seafood and the clams that made up a huge clam-bellies dinner ($17), a decent price for a bountiful mound of fat-bellied, crispy-battered clams atop a giant portion of french fries, that came with a crisp and cold, but routine, cole slaw.
There are also strip clams here, and one teen opted for the clam-strip dinner ($12), another decent-sized portion of locally harvested clams. Nice thing about any dinner served at Stash’s is it comes with a choice of a hot side (fries, including Jersey Shore variety, rice pilaf, or mac and cheese) and a cold one (salad, slaw, Greek pasta salad, or potato salad).
Papantoniadis said kebob dinners are becoming a signature dish at Stash’s Onset Beach. “They’re flying out of here,” he said, adding that his mother makes the marinade, since “she wouldn’t have it any other way.”
We went with two versions: the shrimp and scallop ($15), two long skewers full of nicely seasoned and juicy seafood and grilled veggies, served with rice pilaf and a small Greek salad; and the beef ($15), thick hunks of tender beef grilled medium rare. Both were declared hits, even by the teens in our party, a sometimes fussy dining demographic. Other versions are chicken, and beef and chicken.
One teen, a line cook at nearby restaurant, tried the Buffalo chicken wrap ($7.49), with lettuce and blue cheese dressing, and deemed it having just the right amount of spicy heat. Another ramped it up with the chicken bomb wrap ($8.49), loaded with grilled chicken, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and American cheese.
With such a family influence at Stash’s (chances are there’s always a Papantoniadis around), it makes sense that dessert here is Gifford’s Ice Cream, a five-generation, Maine-based family company. They serve a good variety of it here, and the Maine blueberry ($3 for a small cup) was loaded with fat blueberries in rich ice cream.
Stash’s Onset Beach is bit off the beaten path in a tiny village of small businesses, restored Victorian homes overlooking the bay, and a less frenetic vibe than found in parts of Cape Cod. But the food at Stash’s makes it worth the trip, and all without having to go over traffic-clogged canal bridges.