Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mac's Seafood Revs Up For 2006

Mac’s Seafood is preparing for its 12th season. Everything must be shipshape and in working order. On the list of things to do: sand and paint picnic tables, remove boards from windows, hang signs and awnings, pressure-wash exterior walls, refurbish patios, restock umbrellas. Inside, there is refrigeration equipment to fire up, a top-to-bottom cleaning/sanitation to do, inventory to order and stock. Mac and Alex Hay have been overseeing such activities for about a month now. Opening day this year is complicated by the fact that the Hay brothers have acquired a new venue: the Lobster Hutt, renamed Mac’s Shack.

“We want to get it right the first time,” Alex Hay told me between cell phone calls several weeks ago as he surveyed work at the Commercial Street site. I noted the new shingles and landscaping, which includes sensible parking spaces in a lot that has been chaos for years. One of the reasons for Mac’s success is attention to detail. Alex and Mac Hay already operate the original Mac's Seafood (store and restaurant) at the town pier, the fish department at Wellfleet Marketplace, and a Truro store where fish is smoked and paté prepared, which opened last year. The fish they sell is wild and local, bought at a Cape Cod pier, if possible. Other sources include Mexico, Maine (for shrimp), New Bedford, and Boston.

Mac and Alex have fond summer memories of fishing with their grandfather in the waters off Wellfleet. Here is Alex with his dog, Fisher. When the brothers started their business, they were the only employees. This year 60 people will be on the payroll.

New in 2006 is a point of sales system, which facilitates orders. There is a spiffy state-of-the-art menu board at the pier store. Regulars will find the sushi bar has been moved to Mac’s Shack. And, customers can purchase gift cards, called “Mac Money.” The most popular item on the menu will probably remain Mac’s famous shrimp burrito, with seared tuna wrap a close second.

“I like the rush dinner or lunch preparation brings, being on top of it all and in control,” Mac says. He and Alex obviously enjoy what they do and do it well. Their optimism seems to inspire the whole staff. Thanks to Mac’s Seafood, shopping for fish, steamers, and lobster is a pleasant Wellfleet experience, with easy parking as a bonus. I always recommend the take-out to guests and give the restaurant four stars for outdoor dining. What a view from its pier location!

Wellfleet is lucky these two young men have chosen to make our little town their oyster. Yes, you can buy them, too.

Mac’s Seafood opens May 11.