I had one of those cravings today. You know the kind. It required the immediate use of a Fryolator and a complete disregard for calories.

I needed onion rings.

Luckily it’s Friday, the day when the kids are off from camp, and we live in Grafton, home of Art Bradish Snack Bar.

Would you believe we’ve never eaten there? It’s one of those places we pass on our way to somewhere else. We say “Hey, we haven’t tried that yet!” and then summer comes to an end and they close up shop.

Art Bradish

This is the Art Bradish Snack Bar — I feel the need to put a possessive in there — which has been running seasonally since about 1937.

old art

This isn’t a good shot — I was kind of coping with food since I went all Pavlovian once I saw the onion rings — but the woman at the counter said her grandfather originally started the place as a snack and candy store across the street and pointed over here:

Old shack

In any case, they’ve moved well away from candy and into the realm of hot dogs, hamburgers, fish and chips, french fries and, yes, onion rings.


The rings fall into the thin and crispy realm rather than the bracelet-sized battered kind. We were trying to figure out what to call them. The pile looked kind of like spaghetti. Onion strings? Onion tangle? In any case, we got a small and seemed to be eating them for hours, but we never did hit bottom in the plate.

I think they may be magical onion things. They were delicious. If I wasn’t worried about the state of my arteries at the time I stopped, I’d probably still be eating them.

hot dog

This is a long dog. The kids were impressed with the size. My son said it was the best hot dog he’d ever had. My daughter tore into her cheeseburger. Life was good.


Not as good as if I’d driven this to the shack, but still.


I think the family lives behind the place during the summer months in an RV. My daughter liked their basset hounds.

The kids spent all of lunch demanding that I not only put the place on Greater Grafton but also call up the Phantom Gourmet, immediately, and have him come out. I don’t have quite those connections, but here it is: Phantom Gourmet, my kids say this place is “Shack-tastic,” so come on over and get your dogs on in Grafton!


8 thoughts on ““Shack-tastic!”

  1. I love this place! How anything can taste as good as those onion rings and be “bad for you” is one life’s curious ironies. Maybe they’ll discover some day that the ones they serve you here, in this one tiny corner of the whole universe, are the ones that are actually good for you, that they add years to your life, and all because of one thing: they make you happy!

  2. I’m all for that scientific study!

    I’m even going to give them an edge over the onion rings at Nick’s Roast Beef in Beverly, and not just because they’re so much closer. Although if Nick’s wants to open a Grafton branch, I would happily devote a great amount of time to comparing the two. Why does the North Shore have so many roast beef places and they’re such a rarity around here, anyway?

  3. Bradish onion rings ROCK!! Can’t be beat. . . 🙂 (And I’ve been eating them for at least 25 years – ain’t dead yet!).

  4. the family DOES NOT live in the RV, it is just a place for the owner to get to some a/c on hot days, or to take a well deserved break–he is there from 9am to after 10pm 7days a week, there does not need to be rumors circulating the way things fly in this town,

  5. The footlong dogs are good, the onion rings are decent but cut too thin to pickup, the fish and chips are good but I think they only serve them on Fridays, stingy on the tarter sauce they charge you extra if you want more, bring a fly swatter and
    some off.

  6. I’ve been eating there since the 60’s … I always joke that they must be using the same cooking oil, because everything tastes JUST the way it did back then (that’s a compliment!!) … Delicious! A lot of places change recipes over the years, and it usually isn’t as good. I’ve never gotten a ‘bad meal’ there. Obviously, since they’ve been around since the 30’s, they must be doing SOMETHING right!!!

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