April 20, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer (photos by Gabrielle Martin)
A sure sign of spring is the planned opening of the Beach House snack shop at Hingham Harbor April 28, offering a tempting menu of delicious beach food and ice cream.
The snack shop opened for the first time at the Bathing Beach last fall to rave reviews, and Fireking Baking Company owner Greg Acerra, who negotiated the lease with the town and designed the kitchen, is looking forward to a busy season.
The owners of Stars on Hingham Harbor, Tosca, Caffe Tosca, and Fireking -- which are all part of Eat Well, Inc. -- partnered to make this happen as part of the long-awaited completion of the new bathhouse/snack shop/community room building.
Beach House will offer lots of different ice cream treats -- from cones, shakes, hot fudge, fresh strawberry, or warm caramel sundaes to strawberry shortcake and banana splits -- along with toppings and mix-ins such as rainbow and chocolate sprinkles, Oreo, marshmallow, peanut butter cups, toasted coconut, and crushed walnuts.
Ice cream flavors include extreme chocolate, black raspberry, pistachio, and lemon and orange sherbert, along with the usual vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and coffee. Soft-serve vanilla chocolate twist, California Pom Twist, California Tart, and other flavors will also be served.
"We tested a lot of different brands, and some had better-tasting flavors of one kind of ice cream than another, so we decided to feature the best flavors from each brand," Acerra told the Hingham Anchor.
Tosca Chef Kevin Long is overseeing the snack shop kitchen and creating the menu items. Fireking is providing all the fresh-baked rolls, brioche, and other bread used in making the tasty hamburgers, hotdogs, and lobster rolls that are among the most popular offerings.
Customers also enjoy the barbeque chicken tacos, chicken fingers for the kids, watermelon salad, clam chowder, fried clams, and fish and chips. Specials will be added as the season progresses.
With regard to the rest of the building, the Bathing Beach Trustees are awaiting state and Hingham Board of Health direction for use of the community room (when it could open and occupancy limits) and general public use of the bathhouse restrooms, according to Trustee Alan Perrault. Lifeguards will be on duty starting the end of June.
The snack shop will be a welcome addition to the scene again this year. "What could be nicer than having ice cream and other food available in such a beautiful setting on a nice summer's day on the scenic waterfront, with plenty of free parking?" Acerra asked. "It's a really nice spot, where families and other customers can sit on a blanket or beach chair by the water and enjoy a delicious meal and ice cream. There's nothing better to do in the summertime [and also the spring]!"
The snack shop opened late in the season in 2020 "to get our feet wet [no pun intended!]," he explained. "Now we're working through ways to provide better and quicker service."
Acerra shared that he has always enjoyed ice cream and had desired to open an ice cream shop some day, so this is a dream come true.
"My mother, who loves ice cream, was our first customer on opening day last year, and we enjoyed some ice cream together at the beach at twilight," Acerra recalls. "That's a memory I will remember for the rest of my life."
While staffing restaurants and take-out places like Beach House is posing a challenge for some businesses, Acerra and his partners feel fortunate that seasoned staff members from the different Eat Well restaurants are available to do the cooking and food preparation, along with some teens from the high school to take and fill orders from customers.
What's the Beach House owners' secret to success? "We serve food and ice cream that everyone loves and associates with summer, near a beautiful beach with views of the harbor -- all at one location," Acerra said. "We're hoping for and expecting a successful season."
Hours of operation are seven days a week, from the end of April until October 1 and perhaps later, 11:30 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m. to start off, and likely later when business is at its peak.