Salem Food Digest: Longboards Cafe & Bar – The New Kids on The Pickering Wharf Block

By The BaldOne

Brandi’s, The Bull & Finch Pub, The Chase House, The Rockmore are an incomplete roll call of Pickering Wharf’s restaurant past. All had their day and all have been supplanted.

There is now a new kid on the block. 

A few years ago the Mattera brothers, Matthew and Justin, purchased the old Hungry Whale convenience store on the west side of Wharf Street. They took a small store that sold hot dogs on the side and quickly established themselves as creators of quality sandwiches.

After a complete, down to the stud’s renovation effort fueled with sweat and desire, combined with the purchase of a liquor license they have come to realize their dream. They are now a couple of Swampscott kids trying to find success in the big city.

Longboards Cafe & Bar is now entrenched on the Pickering Wharf food scene. Their menu is unique for the area with flatbreads, classic paninis, and a slew of specialty sandwiches named for local north shore landmarks. Salads, soups, house made hummus, and a New England lobster roll are also featured.

There are two entrances. On Wharf Street you enter into a small lounge area where you can watch the kitchen staff in action. The side entrance brings you directly into the bar and dining room featuring a shuffleboard table.

We settled in at the bar on a slow Thursday afternoon and were welcomed by Mike, who is a fairly well known local bar tender. Mike helped us to select a Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union from the very nice draught selection. This is very aromatic IPA, with a good mix of citrus. The hops were not over whelming.

Our choice for lunch was the Classic Italian Sandwich. Genoa salami, mortadella, hot capicola, provolone cheese, lettuce, and house made giardiniera pressed in a braided italian roll. 

We will discuss the giardiniera in a moment.

The sandwich was well worth our effort.  Generous portions of meat and cheese were complimented by a really good roll from the Columbus Bakery. It was easy to eat and the flavors and textures combined nicely.

Fresh baked pita chips came as a side along with a small finger bowl of Mattera’s Giardiniera, a house made mix of pickled vegetables. This stuff not only added a little zest to the sandwich, it is worth spooning out with or without the pita chips. I believe they will sell it to you by the jar.

The BaldOne does not like to review alone so a couple of characters were recruited to assist. After all, one person’s opinion is only that and nothing more. They got an order of nachos aided and abetted by the house pulled pork. The plate was of good size with the chips covered in pork, cheese, jalapeno peppers, and BBQ sauce. 

They were not really impressed with their choice, but did speak well of other items on the menu that they had tried in the past.

Longboards Cafe & Bar can be found at 72 Wharf Street on Pickering Wharf and is,

“Salem Food Digest Authorized”

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Longboards Cafe & Bar

72 Wharf Street

Salem MA 01970