News of Lindsey’s closure inspires grief, music

Nov 28, 2022

Lindsey’s Family Restaurant, the East Wareham seafood institution that has served meals for almost three quarters of a century, “has closed its doors for good,” owner Cheri Lindsey announced in a Monday, Nov. 28 Facebook post

In a letter addressed to her “amazing customers,” Lindsey wrote that the restaurant “finally succumbed to Covid.” A lack of staff, increased food costs and a decrease in consumer spending prompted the decision. Despite Covid-19 relief money and shortening hours so that the restaurant was only open five days a week, the financial burden became too great.

“We are not shutting down because the quality of our food declined,” Lindsey wrote. “We are not shutting down because people did not want to come to eat here anymore, as there were often lines out the door. We are shutting down because we could not physically staff our restaurant to be open seven days a week. This fact has left me shocked, devastated and confused.”

Lindsey, who has been involved with the restaurant for over 40 years, expressed her gratitude to the community.

“I have seen generations of families come through our doors,” she wrote. “I have shared in the mourning of parents and spouses lost and rejoiced in the birth of children and grandchildren. I have been fortunate enough to employ some absolutely incredible people that have become more like family than employees.”

Lindsey herself was not immediately available for comment. Residents were left wondering what would happen to their now-worthless Lindsey’s gift cards. In an email to Wareham Week, Lesli Barbato said that she purchased a $150 gift card as a Christmas gift, and was unsure of how to get her money back. 

News of the closure created an outpouring of shock and grief, plus a mention at Monday’s Planning Board meeting. Country-folk singer-songwriter and Wareham native Grace Morrison wrote a song about Lindsey’s in honor of her “favorite restaurant.” 

In between nationwide concert tours, Lindsey’s was Morrison’s go-to spot.

The lyrics share nostalgic memories of her eating there with her father and brother, “like generations before,” and the many post-funeral meals her family had there. She always got the baked stuff shrimp or turkey croquettes. 

“Dinners were mostly franks and beans and Jell-O if you were lucky,” she sings in the wistful piano ballad. “But if Daddy got lucky, and they paid him a little more... We’d go down to the restaurant.”

The lyrics celebrate Lindsey’s emphasis on tradition and family.

“Everything is always the same,” she sings. “But nothing stays the same.”

Lindsey’s Family Restaurant was founded as a fried clam restaurant in 1948 by Paul and Frances Lindsey. In 1979, Paul “Buzzy” Lindsey remodeled the restaurant, and in 1997, he and his wife Cheri “continued to update and expand the family business,” according to Lindsey’s website.