Even though it is only about an hour south of downtown Boston (depending on traffic), the South Coast of Massachusetts is a bit of an unknown to many who live in or around the city, and one little village in the region--called Padanaram--sits on a peninsula that is particularly difficult to find if you don't know about it, even from New Bedford, which is almost within walking distance of it to the north. Indeed, this charming waterside community, which is actually a part of South Dartmouth, isn't exactly Rockport, Gloucester, or Plymouth when it comes to attracting Bostonians looking to do day trips, which is a shame, because not only does it have the feel of a seaside town in Maine or on the Cape, but it also has some interesting dining options, including a true hidden gem called the Beach Plum Bakery Cafe.
Located in an easy-to-miss spot that's more or less behind the main part of Padanaram Village and just above the Apponagansett River (or Padanaram Bay or Padanaram Harbor, depending on whom you ask), the Beach Plum Bakery Cafe has the look of a classic Cape Cod cottage, with a shingled exterior, beautiful flowers out front during the warmer months, and a welcoming entrance with an old-fashioned light by the front door. A wraparound outdoor patio includes several tables, with some catching a bit of shade from a beautiful tree that sits in the middle, and others being in the full sun with gorgeous views of the water.The interior of the Beach Plum is rather basic, with the overall feel of a takeout place, but it is clean and bright, and the tables inside also have water views as well. Counter service is the name of the game here, with customers ordering their food and drink, then grabbing a table inside or out and waiting for their food to be brought to them.
Although the Beach Plum Bakery Cafe's menu is limited to a handful of items, everything is good here, with fresh ingredients used for pretty much everything. Included are mostly healthy breakfast and lunch items, such as (depending on the season) breakfast panini with poached eggs, cheese, and bacon on deliciously crunchy bread, freshly-made blueberry muffins and pecan sticky buns, a Greek salad with house-made dressing, a hearty and creamy roasted tomato soup, quahog chowder, a grilled cheese sandwich with a mix of gruyere and sharp cheddar used, a turkey, bacon, and avocado sandwich that features all-natural turkey breast and Benton's Bacon (an outstanding bacon, by the way), an artisan smoked ham and cheese with sweet honey mustard and sharp cheddar cheese, a sublime BLT that is so overstuffed that it's difficult to eat; and a chicken salad sandwich with apples. Drinks include your standard bottled sodas, teas, and water, but the Beach Plum also has a wonderful mixed berry smoothie that has a slightly tangy and sour taste to it, along with an excellent lemonade that is fresh-squeezed. Desserts include several cookies, with ginger oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip being a couple of options. Prices are slightly high for a cafe/sandwich shop, but you're basically paying for the quality of ingredients (and the location).
The South Coast is a very interesting section of the state that has a lot to offer, including a fantastic winery (Westport Rivers), one of the best beaches in the state (Horseneck), some very attractive villages (Westport Point, Padanaram, Marion), and a number of top dining spots (the Back Eddy is often mentioned as being one of the best restaurants in the state). And among the eateries is the friendly little Beach Plum that is hard to find in a hard-to-find village. But once you know where it is, it's one of those spots that you wish was in your neighborhood, as the combination of good food, quick service, a breezy outdoor patio, and terrific water views make for what is probably one of our favorite hidden spots within this site.
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