706 Succotash Road, Matunuck, South Kingstown
(401) 789-4556

Opened by Peter Piemonte and his son, Jack (for whom it was named), in 1971, Cap'n Jack's may be the closest thing to a good old-fashioned shore dinner hall left in Rhode Island. Two dining rooms, an extensive seafood menu, and a location backed up against the Succotash Salt Marsh, a quahog shell's throw from East Matunuck State Beach, all contribute to the establishment's traditional pedigree. Looking at it now, you'd never guess that when the Piemontes bought the original building for $20,000, it was a twenty-by-thirty-foot burger barn called Granny's.

But it wouldn't be a shack without take-out. At Cap'n Jack's they've set aside a whole room for the purpose. Even so, we hear that the line sometimes extends out the door at peak times. The menu includes cream or clear chowder, clam cakes, baked clams, snail salad, lobster salad rolls, and more. We definitely recommend the clear chowder—it has great clam flavor, lots of shreddy bits of clam, and potatoes so cooked they practically melt in your mouth. The clam cakes are tasty, as well (although we don't recall noticing a lot of clam meat in them), and hardly greasy at all.

When we last visited in July 2007 we couldn't help but notice a small selection of baked goods on offer in the take-out area, among them chocolate éclairs as big as a man's size ten shoe. We didn't buy one that day, but the idea of an éclair big enough to feed a family of four has not left our minds. We will return.

Cap'n Jack's is open daily, 11am-9pm year-'round.


Rhode Island Monthly: one of the ten best clam shacks in Rhode Island (1997).
Rhode Island Monthly's Readers' Poll: Best Fish and Chips in South County (2004, 2005).

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