The Homeport Restaurant has been a local gathering place for over 40 years. The small unassuming eatery is tucked into the corner of a plaza on Main Street in Orleans. For many years they served breakfast, lunch and dinner, but four years ago the owner decided to focus on just breakfast and lunch. My first fond memory of the Homeport was of a dinner my aunt treated me to when I first moved to Cape Cod. I ordered the Monte Cristo sandwich from the blackboard specials and sampled that dish for the very first time.
Even though, the Homeport no longer serves dinner, the Monte Cristo ($8.25) is still on their sandwich menu for lunch. Of course, I ordered it for old time’s sake. It had all the comfort reminiscent of home cooking.
The soft wheat bread French toast was golden brown and piled high with sliced deli ham and turkey. Tomato slices and melted Swiss cheese completed the savory profile and the real maple syrup I requested added the perfect touch of sweetness. The sandwich was a large and satisfying portion. The deli meat was a bit too salty for my taste buds, but that’s more of a personal preference since I haven’t eaten deli meat in years.
My husband ordered the “Nauset Panini,” which was a bargain at $7.50. The wheat Panini had perfect grill marks. It was filled with baked ham, Swiss cheese and crushed canned pineapple. The honey mustard sauce added a nice burst of flavor.
All sandwiches come with a choice of regular French fries, sweet potato fries (for an upcharge of $1.75) or a Weight Watchers’ style “zero point salad.” The menu said it consisted of red onions, carrots, shredded cabbage, yellow and green squash with balsamic vinegar. I would probably try that next time, but I was craving French fries, which were crispy and hot. My husband’s sweet potato fries were plank style and very good as well.
A cup of clam chowder ($3.99) was a very typical offering of a local favorite – creamy with plenty of tender clams.
It’s interesting to note that owner Jessica Knight refers to herself as a cook rather than a chef on the restaurant website, because the Homeport does actually serve comfort food like most people make at home. Service is excellent, but casual.
The dining room itself hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s cozy, with thick wooden tables, some set on old barrels with captain’s chairs seated around them. Décor is nautical with items like a ship model and whimsical fish ornaments.
There is a wall between the main dining room and the long breakfast counter where the locals gather for breakfast. The wall has two beautiful stained glass windows made by Eastham artist John Knight. Rock Harbor artist Kely Knowles’ beautiful watercolor paintings grace the cover of the menu and hang on the wall.
Good home cooking for at incredibly reasonable prices is part of why the Homeport has been such a mainstay in Orleans. Our lunch of a cup of chowder, two sandwiches and a glass of seltzer with a splash of grapefruit juice cost us $24.86 with tax. Breakfast is even a bigger bargain. There are four specials served every day between 5:30 and 8 a.m. for just $6. Traditional eggs benedict are only $8.50 and the blackboard special included several other benedict options such as benedicts with lobster, crab cakes and asparagus.
Prices and portions aside, the Homeport also lives up to its name. It’s a friendly kind of place where locals gather over coffee to share stories and food – just like home.
Homeport Restaurant, 55 Main St., Orleans, 508-255-4069, www.homeportrestaurant.com