35 Bradford Street

Mussel Beach Health Club | Formerly Bonnie Dune Restaurant, Bonnie Dune Grille

Mussel Beach Health Club, 35 Bradford Street. [2009, Dunlap]

Bonnie Dune Grille, in its earliest incarnation. Undated. [Pete Murphy / Facebook / My Grandfathers Provincetown / 11 April 2021]

The expansion of Bonnie Dune had begun. Undated. [Salvador R. Vasques III / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 28 April 2021]

The building was raised to two stories. Undated. [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews]

Crowds lined up at the popular restaurant. Undated. [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews]

The Bonnie Dune sign was an attraction in itself. Undated. [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews]

Undated. [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews]

A view from the Conant Street side, shows a new and much simpler entrance sign at the far right. [Salvador R. Vasques III / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 29 April 2021]

The new sign, from the Montello Street side. [Salvador R. Vasques III / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 29 April 2021]

An undated and, unfortunately, unidentified photo of the floor staff.  [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews]

Another undated and unidentified photo.  [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews]

The year was 1948 and the occasion was the marriage of the owners’ daughter, Barbara Camille Cabral, to Richard Oppen. The floor staff was invited, Phyllis Allison noted on My Grandfathers Provincetown, “but also rushed back to serve the meal.” Standing, left to right: Josephine “Bunny” Rabbitt (?), Kathleen Nascimento, Evelyn (Rogers) Gaudiano, Elizabeth Santos, and — Joseph (?). Seated: Mary (Prada) “Mary P.” Cabral (?), Eleanor Souza, the wife of the chef, and unidentified. [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews.

An undated, but obviously early, interior view. [Courtesy of Joseph Andrews]

“I love this photo!” said Steve Silberman, who posted it. “I believe it’s by Rae Russel, 1947. [Steve Silberman / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 8 August 2022]

Undated interior. [Salvador R. Vasques III / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 17 June 2014]

Advertisement in the Advocate, 17 June 1948. [Provincetown Public Library / Community History Archive]

Unidentified artifact, perhaps a souvenir placemat? [Salvador R. Vasques III / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 30 December 2017]

Based on the telephone numbers, the light green matchbook is the earliest (“Phone 680”), the blue matchbook is next oldest (“Phone 1185”), and the tartan and orange matchbooks are contemporaries (“Phone 487-1185”). [Salvador R. Vasques III / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 3 December 2014 and Steve Silberman / Facebook / Provincetown Diaspora / 8 August 2022]

Business card. [Salvador R. Vasques III / Facebook / My Provincetown Memorabilia Collection / 21 March 2109]

This map compares the size of the Bonnie Dune Grille (after its first round of expansion) with the ultimate footprint of the Bonnie Dune Restaurant and its successor, the Mussel Beach Health Club. [Dunlap]

Rear of the Mussel Beach Health Club. [2010, Dunlap]

Mussel Beach at night. [2010, Dunlap]

Home page of the Mussel Beach Health Club as of 2023. [musselbeach.net]

An advertisement in Provincetown Magazine, 8 October 2009.

Rack cards for the health club showing the old and new logos.

From the Mussel Beach photo album. [Instagram / musselbeach02657 / 21 August 2020]

From the Mussel Beach photo album. [Instagram / musselbeach02657 / 2 July 2020]

From the Mussel Beach photo album. [Instagram / musselbeach02657 / 8 June 2022]

From the Mussel Beach photo album. [Instagram / musselbeach02657 / 25 May 2022]

[2022, Dunlap]

This site has been hopping since 1937, when the Bonnie Doone Grille — later the Bonnie Doone Restaurant — was opened by Mary (Prada) Cabral (1906-1978), who ran it with her husband, Manuel Cabral (1904-1975). They also operated Cabral’s Market across the road, at 34 Bradford Street.

Their daughter, Barbara Camille (Cabral) Oppen (1925-1999) and her husband, Richard Alan Oppen (1925-2004), ran the place after they were married in 1948, helped in turn by the third generation, Bonnie (Oppen) Jordan and her husband Joel Vizard.

Its Thistle Cocktail Lounge was a popular gay rendezvous in the 1950s.

The restaurant gained space in 1958 by tearing down the abutting former Conant Street School, which had been used for about 25 years as the headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Just one year shy of the restaurant’s golden anniversary, the family sold the property in 1986 to Stephen J. Boggess. He then sold it to William P. Dougal and Richard “Rick” Murray in 1995. In addition to being co-owners of the Crown & Anchor, Murray and Dougal had opened the Mussel Beach Health Club on Shank Painter Road in 1993. “It was so successful that we needed a bigger space and negotiated the purchase of the rundown Bonnie Doone Restaurant, an abandoned eyesore,” Murray told Laura Shabott for an interview published 6 June 2012 on Provincetown.Com. “Bill and I persevered through the resistance to change from some folks, and now offer one of the few year-round local businesses open 365 days a year.”

Murray announced on his Facebook page in May 2020 that Joe Bruno would be the next general manager while simultaneously praising the previous managers who had “assisted me on my journey from retired dentist to a gym owner”: the late David DeMacedo; Randy Trullo, Murray’s cousin; Gary Reinhardt; Chris Hicks; and Nathaly Ballesteros, the interim manager between Hicks and Bruno

Josephine A. “Bunny” Rabbitt wrote on 1 August 2013: This property, which was the Bonnie Doone, was my family’s property for three generations; owned by my grandmother, Josephine Rabbitt, and then my father, Lewis Rabbitt. The Cabrals obtained it from the town for unpaid taxes while my father was in the hospital in Connecticut for surgery caused by war wounds.

Bonnie (Oppen) Jordan wrote on 18 June 2014: Regarding your description of my family’s Bonnie Doone Restaurant, although you called it Manuel Cabral’s Bonnie Doone, it was actually originally opened as the Bonnie Doone Grille in 1937 by my grandmother Mary Prada Cabral. My dad Richard Oppen came to town in 1948 when he married my mother Barbara Cabral Oppen. With myself and my late husband Joel Vizard, my parents continued to run it until it was sold 49 years later in 1986.

Jim Frangione wrote on 5 August 2018: I’m born and raised in Hyannis and as a kid my folks took us to the Bonnie Doone several times, probably in ’64 or ’65. It was a highlight for me back then and my little sister and I loved it.

¶ Last updated on 21 January 2023.

In memoriam

• Barbara Camille (Cabral) Oppen (1925-1999)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 111791469.

• Richard Alan Oppen (1925-2004)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 162459723.

• Manuel Cabral (1904-1975)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 106712732.

• Mary (Prada) Cabral (1906-1978)

Find a Grave Memorial No. 106712786.

35 Bradford Street on the Town Map, showing property lines.

Also at this address

Rabbitt house

One thought on “35 Bradford Street”

  1. I worked at the Bonnie Doone in the summer of 1970 after my freshman year of college. I was the food checker who made sure the right lobster went to the right waiter/waitress. I remember that the employees would often take family members there because it was such a good restaurant. They also had the best baker who made a wonderful Bavarian rum crème pie. I have never had one as good.

    Howard Young

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