At the height of the summer season, Joe's Beach Road Bar & Grille draws huge numbers of vacationers, and those who didn’t call ahead for a reservation frequently spill out onto the farmer’s porch while waiting for a table. Off-season, loyal locals keep the place hopping, even in the dead of winter.
Its year-round popularity is tied to its fresh, well-prepared food, its friendly staff and its varied ambiance that gives diners a choice of atmosphere, between a casual, tavern-style venue that originally was a barn and three less casual dining rooms. There are no dress code requirements but it isn’t unusual to see men in jackets seated in those more formal venues.
Joe’s offers a large menu, and all items are available in each of the four dining areas.
Daily specials reflect the season. A pumpkin soup might be featured in October and just-caught striped bass in July.
A slew of appetizers ranges from mugs of clam chowder and kale soup ($5.99) to vegetable spring rolls ($8.99) and hand-cut onion rings ($6.99) to name just a few. A personal favorite is the bone-in chicken wings prepared in a choice of four ways – buffalo, Teriyaki, Thai with sweet chili and cilantro, and Tuscan. The Tuscan wings, flavored with pesto and Parmesan, and served with Caesar dressing, are particularly tasty.
One of the great things about Joe’s is that diners can choose their level of indulgence. Health-conscious patrons have the option of “Simple Fish,” which provides a choice of fresh fish broiled or baked without butter or cream sauces. Items generally featured include salmon, cod and halibut, with seasonal changes. On a visit in late July, for instance, local scallops were offered, too. “Simple Fish” dinners come with seasonal vegetables, jasmine rice and a fresh fruit salsa. Prices range from about $23 to $27.
Several other seafood dishes are available, such as Drunken Swordfish, which is oven roasted with Joe’s “secret herb crust,” and served with tequila-lime cilantro syrup, jasmine rice and seasonal vegetables for $26.99.
Lobster, of course, is on the menu at Joe’s, too. A 1 ½ pound lobster, named Joe’s Lazy Lobster, comes with corn on the cob and cole slaw, and costs $34.99 (current market prices prevail).
Lobster Ravioli is a popular pasta dish. It’s prepared in a Tahitian vanilla cream, with fresh lobster meat and broccoli florets. It costs $24.99.
Chicken, ribs and steak dishes are prominently featured as well, including an 8 ounce filet Mignon with scalloped potatoes and mixed vegetables, for $28.99.
Diners looking for a quick but filling meal can choose the 10 ounce Joe’s Bigger and Badder Burger ($10.99), or the Dottie Burger. It’s the big without the bad; no fries and no bun, but steamed veggies instead and for the same price.
Diners in the tavern area, where the bar is located, can watch sports on five big-screen TVs. The venue features booth seating, easy chairs at tables-for-two and larger, traditional tables.
Live bands from the area perform in the tavern every Friday and Saturday night, year-round, starting at about 10 p.m. There’s no cover charge.
If you go: Joe's Beach Road Bar & Grille is at 5 Beach Road, East Orleans, 508 240-3058. Open daily year-round, starting at 4 p.m.