2000s Archive

Seasonal (Closed Part of the Year)

Hell's Backbone Grill

You’ll find outstanding food with scenery to spare at Hell’s Backbone Grill, in Boulder, Utah.


The Back Eddy

If you want to do local food, it helps to have a chef who grew up in the neighborhood and still lives on a farm a few miles away. In addition to his own produce, Back Eddy chef and co-owner Aaron DeRego often stops by his neighbors’ farms to pick up ingredients on the way to work. Fresh cheese made that morning by a cheesemonger across town, pristine scallops from New Bedford, and local lobsters all appear on the ultraseasonal menu. The restaurant’s location—overlooking Westport Harbor—is a big bonus. Open April to December; 1 Bridge Rd., Westport, MA (508-636-6500)


When chef Christina Orchid opened this laid-back aerie on bucolic Orcas Island, eating local was a necessity, not a virtue. Nearly three decades later, she’s still at it, offering diners a brief seasonal menu, a petite bar, and a romantically rustic dining room overseen by her husband, Bruce. Herbs, alliums, and root vegetables are cultivated by Christina’s mom on their farm near the ferry landing. Grass-fed beef (for rib-eye steaks), spring lamb (anchored with a purée of English peas and mint), and pork for the house-cured bacon (which bolsters roast chicken) are ferried over from neighboring Lopez Island. Closed in November and January; 310 Main St., Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA (360-376-4904)

Clam Box of Ipswich

The clams found in Cape Ann, Massachusetts, have a reputation as the East Coast’s finest. At Clam Box, they’ve been dishing them up for more than 70 years. The sweet, tender clams are served whole-belly or in strips, lightly battered and deep-fried. They’re the main reason to stop in, but this wonderful self-service spot also boasts outstanding coleslaw, as well as fried shrimp and oysters. Open February to December; 246 High St., Ipswich, MA (978-356-9707)

Five Islands Lobster Co.

Lobster doesn’t get any fresher: The only pause the crustaceans make on their journey from the lobster boats bobbing just down the dock to your plate is a quick bath in boiling water. There are no waiters here, just a collection of picnic tables and the best lobsters around, served with lots of butter and your choice of clams, corn, potatoes, or cole slaw. Plus, the waterfront scenery can’t be beat. Open May to October; 1447 Five Islands Rd., Georgetown, ME (207-371-2990)


Hawk Arceneaux opened his shacklike restaurant in 1983 as a way to sell the excess crayfish he’d collected from his ponds in Roberts Cove, a tiny community in the heart of Cajun Country. Today, his son Anthony serves the best hot-boiled crawfish in Louisiana. Arceneaux “purges” his crayfish for up to 24 hours in aerated spring water, cleansing them of grit and debris and imparting a sweet, delicate flavor. Crayfish don’t get any fresher—Hawk’s is only open when they’re in season, roughly December through May. 415 Hawks Rd., Rayne, LA (337-788-3266)

Hell’s Backbone Grill

Boulder, Utah, is a remote hamlet few have heard of in the staggeringly beautiful slickrock wilderness near Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which even fewer have explored. The switchback roads into town aren’t for the squeamish, but that didn’t discourage Blake Spalding and Jen Castle, onetime Colorado River chefs, from opening an organic and sustainable restaurant here and vowing to locally source and grow nearly everything they serve. In this warmly rustic place, these women cook and bake food people long to eat, from pecan-crusted trout to steaks of grass-fed Boulder beef; from “blue ribbon” buttermilk biscuits and lemon chiffon cake to cobblers of heirloom apples. If this is hell, who needs heaven? Open March to November on the grounds of Boulder Mountain Lodge, 20 N. Hwy. 12, Boulder, UT (435-335-7464)

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