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Globe South Dining Out

Some fine fried fare in Abington

Dianne McHugh, co-owner of the Lobster Barn, with a plate of fried seafood. The Abington takeout spot has been serving customers for 18 years. Dianne McHugh, co-owner of the Lobster Barn, with a plate of fried seafood. The Abington takeout spot has been serving customers for 18 years. (Elaine Cushman Carroll For The Boston Globe)
April 5, 2009
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The Lobster Barn
996 Hancock St., Abington
Telephone: 781-871-2433
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 to 7 p.m. Extended summer hours begin in mid-June.
iTakeout only
MasterCard and Visa accepted

On a Friday night during the Lenten season, it's best to call ahead when you're ordering plates of steaming seafood from the Lobster Barn in Abington. It's their busiest time.

We didn't know that, so we squeezed in alongside about a dozen others who had ordered their food, then took in the smells of cooking and the sound of phones ringing off the hook with orders.

In denial about the cold weather, we picked our summer favorites from the single-sheet menu.

Although we generally try to stay away from fried foods, most of us were enticed by the thought of full-bellied clams or sweet fried scallops. A woman in the parking lot recommended the fish and chips, and the smell of fried onion rings was hard for my husband to resist. (Not that he tried too hard.)

We hadn't realized there was no dining area - it's strictly takeout - but decided we would enjoy the meal in our old minivan as the unveiled heaping plates of food steamed up the windows. We passed around heavy paper plates with three of our grown or nearly grown children on break from school. There were ample containers of a heavy tartar sauce and tangy coleslaw.

The family member with the smallest appetite enjoyed a smooth clam chowder with a good shot of pepper. The fried seafood plate was enough for two people and featured haddock, clams, scallops, shrimp, onion rings, and french fries for $19. Ironically, no one ordered the lobster.

Other items we enjoyed: fried whole clam plate ($17), substituting onion rings for fries, and the fried scallop plate ($15). Both dishes were wonderful and were piled high. Each could easily satisfy two moderate eaters.

Along with serving cooked food, the Lobster Barn sells a variety of fresh fish and seafood. An oversized lobster pound on the premises contains a large basket of live lobsters in clear, circulating water.

Fred and Dianne McHugh opened the Lobster Barn about 18 years ago on Hancock Street in land-locked Abington. Fred was a lobsterman-fisherman and they began selling lobsters and steamers out of a walk-in cooler in what had been their barn.

The business on what had been part of the Cahill Farm grew over the years, and a garage was sacrificed to make room for an addition so they could more than double the size and add two more walk-ins.

This is their third year of being open year-round, and despite the tough economy, they're doing a brisk business. Dianne said they travel to Fairhaven and New Bedford to buy their seafood right off the boat from "the top of the trip."

Fred said the wait can often be roughly 45 minutes on a Friday night during Lent, but the crew of about 10 people was working hard. Dianne spent part of her time over a huge lobster kettle or filling the deep fryer.

On our ride back home, the pleasant smells of onion rings and sweetly fried fish wafted around us and were enjoyed until we reached home.

ELAINE CUSHMAN CARROLL AND MATT CARROLL