Don’t let the weather-beaten appearance fool you

First glimpse of your restaurant after you park your car. Hungry yet?

First glimpse of your restaurant after you park your car. Hungry yet?

You have to want to get to the Sesuit Harbor Cafe.

The first time my dear wife Karen and I tried to follow up on the recommendation of Julie and Lisa four years ago, all we could find were boats being worked on in a big parking lot.

Garmin was telling us to turn in from the small bayside road one entrance too soon.

Once we asked somebody working on one of those boats, we were pointed in the right direction. But we still thought maybe everybody was mistaken. Great place to sit outside and eat lobster, they said?

But we waited in the line to get inside the door, snaked to the woman at the counter, ordered our food, got our number, and went out the door on the other side.

You stare at this side as you wait for your food.

You stare at this side as you wait for your food.

On the sixth morning we woke up not in Syracuse, Karen and I found ourselves staring at the same Rawbar sign, watching a fleet of waitresses bringing heaping orange trays of food to full picnic tables of patrons for the fourth year in a row.

Karen was out first, as I filled my plastic cup with iced tea.

The view gets better outside.

The view gets better outside.

Karen found a good table. They were filling up fast, past noon. We were hungry.

Why, yes, there is a nice view out here.

I showed my hunger more than Karen. (Photo by Karen Miller Bialczak)

I showed my hunger more than Karen. (Photo by Karen Miller Bialczak)

The number-calling went by rather quickly.

First, though, we were treated to one man dressing down his wife for waiting outside at a table while he stood in line inside. He stepped out the door, frantically waved her over, and loudly told her that he’s been waiting 15 minutes, and she’d get no food if she did not come inside with him, and what the … nobody would take their table.

I shook my head and looked at Karen. Oy.

On to better conversations and thinking about another vacation way down south …

Photo op at Disney.

Photo op at Disney.

My wonderful daughter Elisabeth was at Disney with terrific boyfriend George.

Photos of her with Minnie and Mickey buzzed my phone, too.

Lobster how we like it.

Lobster how we like it.

And then we hear:

“Nos 6, 8, 9.”

“Six, here,” I say, waving.

Lobster roll for Karen. Boiled lobster for me.

My cracker hand is ready. I’ve gotten a little better at working my way to just the good white meat every year.

Sesuit Harbor Cafe is a beautiful thing.

In your travels, what places have you encountered that haven’t looked like much, but have won you over with atmosphere and food? Would you have stepped in and shut that fool up from berating his wife in public or sat there shaking your head like me? Are you at ease ordering a whole lobster and cracking your way to the juicy meat? Any tales of woe at this chore?

52 thoughts on “Don’t let the weather-beaten appearance fool you

  1. In the grand scheme of things nowhere is entirely “fashionable.” Big cities are full of tourists. Small places are overlooked. Regardless, every place has a charm to it. Even the one-house town, the open-plain city. Life is about squeezing into the smaller places and appreciating what they have to offer, despite how uncomfortable you may think you will be.

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  2. How in the world did I MISS this post??? How could I? I am really losing my mind and have way too much going on. So glad you too love this place! It’s the best. I am drooling as I type this. Can’t wait to go! πŸ™‚

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  3. Hi Mark. Just hoping this will show up. I’ve started a new blog, but this time it’s not on WP. You can now find me at agwink1942@gmail.com under the title of, guess what? Kentucky Angel Blog. Naturally, it would be that one. I’m also on Disqus with the same one. So, I guess I’ll be following you from FB from now on, or from gmail. Check in once in a while.

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  4. There’s a soul restaurant in my area that is literally a shack. Like your little place you stand on line to go in order get your food and walk out. There’s no where to sit and eat. The food is greasy, high cholesterol and delicious. It doesn’t even have a name. But it made one of the New York Times best soulfood joints. There’s a long line waiting to go in whenever it’s open. Fancy decor and neon lights don’t mean a thing.

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  5. Those kinds of places are the best! I love the photos of both of you! Ask your daughter if she’s melting yet. It’s awfully hot and humid here right now. Her photos are cute, too! Yes, I’d have said something to the man. Unfortunately, I don’t usually keep my mouth closed in those situations and then the wife ends up yelling at me! At any rate, it makes them be a united front and stops their bickering. LOL!

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    • That’s a good one, about opening your mouth and having the bickering couple unite against you. I didn’t think of that angle at all. What a turn of events that would be. Thanks, Rachel, for planting that potential outcome in my brain for the future. πŸ™‚

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      • LOL! It’s true. Once I was in Niagara Falls with 2 friends, and there was a man beating up on his wife in front of their small child. People stood all around watching, but no one did anything. So I sent my friends on their way to sight see and I spent the next 30 minutes finding a police office and made him follow me back to find the couple. By the time we got there, she was covered in bruises and the kid was crying and the policeman questioned them. I went to find my friends and told them the police needed me to go down and sign a formal complaint, but when I got back with them, the man was in handcuffs and the woman actually took a swing at me! She spit on me and the cops had to hold her off me. But even so, I would do it again. In the situation you were in, if nothing else, if I didn’t want to get confrontational with the man, I would have at least complained loudly to the manager and hoped it would have gotten them tossed out. But then again, if I were a man, I might not have done anything because I’d probably be more likely to be hit if the husband got that heated. LOL!

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  6. On your Mark, Get Set, EAT! That’s what you look like you are ready for. I have never had lobster. Though I plan on it.

    And I think that Badly Behaving Man needs to sign up for some Husband classes from you.

    I’m enjoying your trip. And between your food pictures and descriptions and the neighbor’s grilling smells I am getting quite hungry!

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    • You must try lobster sometime, Colleen. May I suggest the lobster tail, first? It’s split open and ready for you to cut with the knife and dip into the melted butter and your life is changed forever. Really. Red Lobster. Find one and you’ll never be the same.

      The Badly Behaving Man needed somebody to have set his sad self straight a long time ago. So rude.

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  7. Well, somebody had to claim the table. Maybe his blood sugar was low and he was being ornery. The lobster pic is beautiful. I’ve never eaten a lobster bc it looks like hard work and it’s pricey and my hub is allergic, but it sho nuff is pretty. Your hat is pretty pimp, too. You seem to be okay about the picnic table not having any lumbar support.

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    • It is hard work, but I think it’s worth it. And at a place like this, the price is kept low. Fifteen bucks for 1 1/4 pound lobster, fries and slaw. That’s a bargain. Yeah, no lumbar support, but what the heck, we were there for less than an hour. And about the rude dude, who was older than me, I wanted to go up, shake his shoulder, and say, “Go order for your wife and show a little class in front of all of these people. We don’t want to hear your neuroses.” That’s what I said in my head, anyway, Kerbey. Too bad hubby is allergic to lobster. You should try a tail sometime on a special occasion. Dip it in drawm butter. It really is delicious.

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  8. I am truly homesick now! I miss real New England steamers and lobster! I have been crackin’ those open since the age of 4! I am so jealous….uh, I suppose they wouldn’t stay fresh in a care package? LOL…

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  9. OH, how I LOVE LOVE LOVE lobster! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE your photo with the fork and knife. So you, Mark. Tee hee …… Great post, wonderful photos. I honestly did not know Syracuse, NY was near the Atlantic Ocean. Are we talking a different Syracuse? A wee bit confused on my end. Love, Amy

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      • Whew, I thought I was loosing it there for a moment. I could have sworn you said the Atlantic Ocean was ONE hour away from Syracuse. I must have read wrong. Duh. You are near Lake Ontario. THAT I do know. πŸ™‚ MUAH! (((HUGS))) Amy [from a friend …. not to worry Mrs. Mark]

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  10. i think that these turn out to be the best places mark. i’m glad you both persevered and didn’t give up until you found it and were on the receiving end of that amazing looking food. sad about that couple, so unlike you two, and hard to understand. love the pic of elizabeth and her boyfriend who looks like a cute puppy that i recognize. your family is really photogenic. one of my fav finds was in a cinderblock building in a nondescript industrial area outside of d.c. – but that’s another story, soon to be shared. thanks for the inspiration –

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  11. It was all worth the wait, Mark. I also love finding the unexpected. You have to look closer, sometimes. Places that come to mind, for me: Woodman’s in Essex, MA, the No Name Restaurant in Boston an unprepossessing lobster place in Rockport, MA (whose name I can’t remember) … I wonder why all these places have seafood?

    Thanks for the trip.

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  12. That is so cool Mark – I enjoy finding places like that. There are some great restaurants here in Ottawa but there is one hidden gem out in Manotick – a small village about 20 miles south of the city. I went there with a friend and thought he was joking. The front is a small gas station with some pumps and a little convemience store. (At least it used to be, they may have modernized) There is a single unmarked door in the side of the building which leads down a set of rickety stairs. At the bottom,it opens into a cute, well appointed bar with teak and brass fixtures and an excellent wine selection. In summer, they whole side of the bar opens onto a huge patio right on the river (one story below street level at the rear and not visible). It’s called Kelly’s Landing Restaurant and the seafood is to die for. On nice days, you can sit on the patio with wine or a beer and pleasure boats pull into the attached dock and the owners debark for supper. Last time there, I had salmon on a plank with a side of mussels – yum, yum, yum. So peaceful watching the river with no sight or sound of the road above.

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    • Now that is a perfect example of a hidden gem, Paul, and in a town with a name of Manotick. Kind of like Sesuit. Unassuming, and then, pow, right in the kisser with the great things. Thanks, pal!

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