Cape Cod’s Eastham has its own version of the comfortable and welcoming Cheers bar popularized on TV in the early 1980s. It’s called Local Break, and everybody there knows your name. But this place is Cheers on steroids, with live music, an attractive interior, a friendly owner, attentive servers, an eclectic seasonal menu featuring “American fare” and a serious chef who turns out inventive dishes such as Atlantic halibut with fennel-scented black quinoa, crispy artichokes, olives, ruby red grapefruit, arugula and smoked tomato vinaigrette. It seems we’re not the only ones who love Eastham’s Local Break: It was named the best new restaurant on Cape Cod by Boston magazine on their 2013 “Best of Boston” list.
The menu is not exhaustive but there’s something for every taste, including kids. It features eight appetizers that range from $7 (a small basket of chicken wings with mild, medium or “really freakin’ hot” buffalo sauce, garlic buffalo sauce or buffalo blue cheese sauce) to $21 (1/2 pound of shrimp that’s been poached and seasoned with Creole spices). For me, 1/4 pound of Creole shrimp ($11), a green salad, a basket of sweet potato fries with horseradish dipping sauce ($6 and big enough to share) plus a beer or chardonnay are a perfect meal on a hot summer day.
The seven entrees on the menu range from $17 to $28 and include seafood dishes as well as steak, ribs, eggplant “parm” over fresh linguine ($17) and pasta with Bolognese sauce ($19). A spectacular house burger is one of the five burger and sandwich options. It’s a short rib and chuck patty with cheddar pepperjack cheese, caramelized onion pickle relish, lettuce, tomato and bacon-mayo, all on a brioche bun ($13). It’s a fabulous feast even for the most discerning burger connoisseur. If you blew a wad of cash on a boat purchase or bought a 16-pound lobster for dinner last night and are feeling a little light in the wallet, you may want to zero in on Local Break’s most budget-conscious menu item: two hot dogs with special meat sauce, onion and mustard, all for only $5. They are delicious.
The dessert menu changes daily and includes treats from Egan Sweets in nearby Chatham. Strawberry-rhubarb crisp, cheesecake with Limoncello-macerated blueberries, flourless chocolate cake, carrot cake–each one is divine and worth every calorie.
Locavores will be happy to know that ten of the beers on draft are brewed in and around the Cape. The usual Coors, Buds, Coronas, Amstels and others are available in bottles, along with 16-ounce cans of Miller Highlife and Narragansett Lager.
Into cocktails? You’ll want to try the Local Break Margarita: El Jimador silver tequila, triple sec, fresh lime, house made poblano and jalapeno pepper nectar and sour mix ($9). Glasses of white and red wine are mostly in the $7 to $8 range, while bottles are affordably priced at $22 to $38. If you’re celebrating a special event, a bottle of Tattinger Brut Champagne can be had for $75.
Local Break is the only place in Eastham where you can get a good “after hours” meal. If you tend to enjoy eating dinner on the late side and like to dine out rather than eat in, as we do, it quickly will become your go-to dinner solution. Entertainment bonus: Local Break features live bands on many nights. Check their Facebook page or Web site for performance schedules.