Lobster Shanty gets cozy in West Fenwick


David and Janet Twining seized instant success with Nantucket’s restaurant in Fenwick Island when they opened it up 20 years ago, reproducing the taste and charms of New England. This summer, they’ve done it again with the trendy and casual Lobster Shanty, offering a funky twist on the nation’s northeastern region.

Coastal Point • Ryan Saxton: The deck at the Lobster Shanty seats people outdoors, where they can take in the view of the wetlands.Coastal Point • Ryan Saxton
The deck at the Lobster Shanty seats people outdoors, where they can take in the view of the wetlands.

Opened along the Route 54 corridor in west Fenwick Island in early July, the Lobster Shanty combines authentic New England flavors and recipes with a view overlooking the backbay waters of Sussex County.

“It’s the best view around here,” said David Twining. “You’re not going to find anything like it at a restaurant south of Dewey.”

From sunsets to bird watching, diners can’t seem to get enough of the Shanty’s location, the Twinings said. But the scenery isn’t the only thing that coaxes customers back.

“Everything around here seems to be crabs, crabs, crabs,” said David Twining. “We wanted to bring something that everyone else wasn’t trying to sell.”

And it’s quite apparent, from the menu’s popular lobster pot-pie to the freshly made lobster guacamole. From oysters straight from New England waters to mussels from Prince Edward Island, there’s plenty of starters to get the evening going or to accompany a drink at the bar. Chowder by the mug, a selection of salads and a variety of other innovative appetizers can also serve as light fare, complimenting a wide range of burgers and sandwiches. Sunset delights, such as the Boatman’s Stew, kabobs and Lobster and Shrimp Newburg are a way to cap off the evening.

“You can’t just go anywhere and find fresh, local corn, a raw bar and a 4-pound lobster, all at the same place,” said David Twining. Lobsters are available to take out, too.

“We still wanted to keep that same New England theme going,” said Janet Twining, who designed the restaurant’s interior, giving it a warm and welcoming feel, “and the price is right, too.”

The Twinings, who have worked together in the restaurant business since the late 1970’s, learned the ropes through their families’ success, and they aim to continue the tradition for generations to come. Nantucket’s, celebrating 20 years along Coastal Highway in Fenwick, has proven to be a favorite for locals and vacationers alike. The two said they hope the laid-back style of at the Lobster Shanty will find a similar welcome for years to come.

David Twining traces his dining ingenuity back to New York City, where he worked at his grandfather’s restaurant before running his own by the age of 23. Growing up in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Janet Twining worked at her family’s cafe, while studying marketing and advertising. Their children, Delaney and Dawson, have learned to master every aspect of the restaurant business, too, and have assumed a variety of roles around the family’s businesses.

The Lobster Shanty is already developing a crowd of regulars, whether they’re returning for the food, view or atmosphere, or all three.

“Since we opened,” said David Twining, “we’re meeting a lot of new people – 80 percent of our business has been new people. After Labor Day, we expect a lot more of the locals to start coming out, too.”

Next year, the Lobster Shanty plans to stay open from April through October, but the Lobster Shanty will operate through most of the fall this year, with restricted off-season hours to come. For now, “The magic begins in the marsh at noon,” seven days a week, with happy hour running from 3 to 6 p.m.

For more information about the Lobster Shanty, visit www.twiningsshanty.com or stop into the restaurant at 37310 Lighthouse Road, Route 54, west of Fenwick Island. For reservations or additional information, call 888-SHANTY2 or (302) 436-2305.