By Jenna Lambert
My first thought this late-spring day was the same as every good native Oak Bluffs girl — time to go to the harbor. I had faith that my favorite little wing and beer shack would be ready for business, because Petey Berndt prides himself on opening Coop de Ville long before any other harbor eatery wakes up from off-season hibernation.
So I headed to Coop de Ville on the Oak Bluffs Harbor, and In typical Coop fashion, I was greeted by staff who feel like family, and the Coop regulars we all know and love. While I wanted to read about all 60 of the beers I had to choose from, I decided to let my server Ben make the choice. Knowing I like something hazy, hoppy, and citrusy, he brought me a Hazy Little Thing ($7), and it tasted exactly how spring should feel; crisp and cold, with a warm finish that felt like sunshine. One of my coworkers gave the locally brewed and native-to-Coop beer, Shuck Shack extra pale ale ($6.50), a try. I would suggest this beer to someone who would usually go for a light domestic like Coors, but who also might want to try something local, new, and with a slight hint of hops.
Next up was the stuffed quahog ($9), which should be Coop de Ville’s real claim to fame. Coop’s achieves a rich and yet light and fluffy texture that keeps you going back for more. It is full of fresh peppers, onions, and bits of clams and sausage. It also has a hint of creole spice that only New Orleans native Lawrence Jackson, who has graced the Coop kitchen for as long as anyone can remember, can achieve.
For the main course, we decided to get a double order of hot wings ($30) and the blackened swordfish tacos ($16). I yelled through the kitchen window to make my food with lots of love, because Coop is probably the only place in the world where that kind of thing is accepted, and my demand was most definitely met. The wings are still the best wings I’ve ever had in my life. They are coated with enough of that distinctly delicious sauce that you would never need to ask for more, and yet they still remain perfectly crispy. The grilled swordfish was juicy and exploding with flavor from the corn pico de gallo and the red cabbage slaw. This was well-balanced, though, by the drizzle of lime crema and heaping side of shoestring fries. With a face covered in buffalo sauce and the warmth of a stomach full of wings and beer, I couldn’t have been happier.
While this spring hasn’t brought much sunshine, Coop de Ville never fails to do just that. Get to the harbor, grab yourself one of those iconic green stools, and enjoy the Coop crew, cuisine, and atmosphere.
Coop de Ville, Dockside Marketplace, Open seven days, 11 am to 10 pm (unless the weather doesn’t cooperate), Oak Bluffs Harbor, 508-693-3420; coopdevillemv.com.